Say It Isn’t So, Rabbi Shafran

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14 Responses

  1. Y. Ben-David says:

    Thank you, Rav Menken, for expressing what a lot of us are thinking. Obama’s plan is to divide American Jewry, and the plan is working. When even the most committed Jews, the Orthodox, begin turning their back on us, then it is really becoming a matter of concern. Rav Shafran was outraged when Jack Lew was booed at the Jerusalem Post conference. Does Rav Shafran really think we Israelis are so stupid that we don’t know what is going on? What is important is not what politicians say but what they do. Obama can call himself “the first Jewish president” from today until next week, but we here see the effects of his disastrous policies which have played a major role in setting the entire Middle East on fire. Israel faces murderous, jihadist threats on the northern border with Lebanon, the north-east border on the Golan with Syria and now on the south-west border with Sinai/Egypt. Obama has allowed Assad to literally get away with murder which has inflamed the situation in Syria, and he has cold shouldered President a-Sisi in Egypt because he opposes Obama’s beloved Muslim Brotherhood and their failed ex-President Mursi. Now Obama wants to allow Iran to have sanctions ended which, not only will allow them to possibly build a nuclear bomb, but to get more money in which to support terrorist groups like HIZBULLAH and HAMAS right on Israel’s border. Does Rav Shafran really find it difficult to understand why we Israelis are upset and will express our anger at Obama’s Jewish apologist Jack Lew?
    Recent PEW public opinion polls show less than half of American Jews identify with Israel and only a small percentage consider a candidate’s policies towards as a major factor in how the American Jew will decide to vote. Thus, it is vital that the remaining American Jews stand firm and loudly express their disgust with an Administration that is the most hostile ever towards Israel (and which ironically has the support of a large majority of American Jewry) and not just limit their concerns to ascertaining which candidate will promise the biggest amount of government handouts to their favorite causes.
    Finally, if Michael Oren was really only interested in selling books, he would have written a book bashing Netanyahu and how Israel is supposedly not living up to the ‘progressive’ values the ruling Labor-Zionist clique shoved down everyone’s throats for decades. Oren would then have gotten glowing endorsements from the New York Times, Washington Post, Ha’aretz, Jack Lew, Dan Shapiro and a whole bevy of Obama hangers-on. Oren did NOT do that, and spoke truth to power. I disagree with his largely Leftist political views, but I greatly respect his courage and steadfast support for Israel’s basic interests and telling the truth about the serious problems American Jewry is plagued with.

  2. mycroft says:

    For what I believe is generally a more moderate position on the Oren-Obama spat see

    Of interest is that the executive editor of the paper is well known Orthodox writer Hillel Goldberg.

  3. Toby Bulman Katz says:

    We will never know what Rabbi Shafran really thinks of Obama in his heart of hearts. But he is keenly aware that no matter how comfortable we Jews are in America, we are still in galus and we are still, and always, dependent on the goodwill of the gentiles for our survival. Right now Obama is riding high, with the massive, overwhelming, nauseating, fawning support of the media, academia, Hollywood, the liberal churches, all the elites. Rabbi Shafran is a shtadlan in a long line of shtadlan who have done tremendous service to Klal Yisrael over the centuries. From long historical experience he knows that it is not wise to get on the wrong side of the monarch when he is riding high. We have to hope, pray and believe that our enemies will ultimately get their comeuppance, but meanwhile it does not seem that we have anything to gain — and potentially we have a lot to lose — by infuriating the monarch, or to mix metaphors, by poking the bear in the eye.

    All of that is speculative. I am not privy to R’Shafran’s inner thoughts but I think it likely that the above represents his thinking.

  4. Shades of Gray says:

    “One of the few things I can neither agree with — nor even comprehend — is Rabbi Shafran’s service to the Obama Administration as its chief charedi apologist.”

    Maybe R. Shafran is taking the traditional galus approach of respecting the government, kavod malchus ?(The Charedi world, in particular, values the “3 Oaths”, of not rebelling against the nations of the world, as it related to Zionism).

    This is not to say that one can not strongly advocate for Israel, and even express respectful criticism of the Obama administration, especially given the stakes of the issues involved. I was troubled by the reports of the dysfunctional relationship between Netanyahu and Obama(and did not vote for Obama either time). However, I wonder if R. Shafran’s approach in general, is in line with traditional shtadlanus ethos and with Daas Torah.

  5. Crazy kanoiy says:

    Today the US government of President Barak Obama was the only country to vote against the UNHRC report accusing Israel of human rights violations. This continues this administrations perfect record of voting in support of Israel at the UN.

    I do not fully agree with Rabbi Shafran, but he does a brave and just service to the readership of the Orthodox media who have been fed non stop hysterics and diatribes against President Obama and his administration in the opinion pages of the Orthodox Press. Rabbi Shafran adds thoughtfulness and nuance to a discussion that has been hijacked by shrillness and paranoia. Thank you Rabbi Shafran for offering an opposing view to the conventional wisdom espoused in the mainstream Orthodox press. Thank you Rabbi Shafran for challenging your readers to think for themselves, and thank you for being brave enough to write what you believe even when it is highly unpopular in our Orthodox circles.

  6. Crazy kanoiy says:

    Michael Oren’s foray into his dubious psychoanalysis of the American President and his upbringing in his Op Ed in Foreign Policy is quite inappropriate. Perhaps that can be added as sin #4.

  7. Jewish Observer says:

    “We will never know what Rabbi Shafran really thinks of Obama in his heart of hearts”

    – nor should we care. Rabbi Shafran is not writing as Rabbi Shafran the person. He is writing as Rabbi Shafran the spokesperson. He is in character,which is ok. As such any feedback is not, or should not, be directed at Rabbi Shafran the person., but at Rabbi Shafran the spokesperson. Speculation about what Rabbi Shafran the person holds is mere gossip.

  8. Shlomo r. says:

    Thank you Rabbi Menken for saying what needs to be said. Rabbi Shafran’s apologetics have gotten increasingly delusional and absurd. What surprises me the most is how he gives veracity to radical leftist media accounts regarding Obama when he has dedicated so much effort debunking the leftist media regarding other issues. I am not as forgiving as Mrs Katz, in analyzing Rabbi Shafran’s true beliefs, I simply believe he is suffering from an inability to say “I was wrong”.

  9. Y. Ben-David says:

    Crazy K, Toby Bulman Katz-
    We heard all the arguments you are making today about “not antagonizing the paritz” 80 years ago. Events subsequent to that time period taught a lot of us that if we don’t look out for ourselves, then no one else will and we will NOT be respected by the goyim so many are telling us not to antagonize by grovelling to them.
    Most of American Jewry did what you said during the Shoah. They sat on their hands, telling themselves “there has never been a better friend to the Jewish people in the White House than FDR” (who was later revealed by none other than his wife Eleanor to be a typical antisemite who was willing to keep Jews around if they were useful to him) and Rabbi Stephen S Wise keeps telling everyone that he is a personal friend of FDR so we can rely on him to take care of things QUIETLY.
    Then, out of the blue, appears on the scene a Jew who was not even American and was just learning English, Hillel Kook (AKA Peter Bergson) who electrified many people including many prominent non-Jews including influential politicians and mobilized a lot of people to get at least something done to save some Jews from the Nazi/European inferno. Wise devoted a lot of time into trying to get Kook deported. That’s where his priorties were at the time THOUSANDS of Jews were being murdered EVERY DAY. But don’t antagonize the paritz especially one as popular as FDR/Obama! Right?!
    “We are still in galut” is simply a lame excuse for abandonment of responsibility. Yes, Obama stands for increased governmental handouts and if that is what is most important to you, then there really isn’t anything for us to continue to talk about.

  10. tzippi says:

    I guess my first reaction was along the line of Crazy K and Mrs. Katz. No, actually, my first reaction was, because this is such a delicate matter, why is this on a blog and not a private conversation? Surely Rabbi Menken has access to Rabbi Shafran. I am quite open to the possibility that I’m missing something, please feel free to clarify.

  11. tzippi says:

    Since there’s not an edit button, I would like to mention that I’m not totally in agreement with Crazy K but do appreciate his cutting Rabbi Shafran slack.

  12. Ori Pomerantz says:

    At the risk of stating the obvious, the US in the 21st century is not Europe or the Middle East in the 17th. Obama is a president, a hired employee of “we the people”, not our king. The shtadlanut strategies that worked with 17th century kings may not be those that work in a 21st century Republic.

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    I agree with R Menken-Michael Oren’s book, which I have just finished reading. As a lifelong Democrat, the book confirms that Obama , who seemingly has nothing positive to say about America , and whose POV was formed in the post Vitenam Ivy League, views support of Israel as an albatross to his plans of appeasing the sworn enemies of the US ( and Israel), and disdaining foreign allies as he pursues an isolationist view of the world, and when all else fails, resorts to rhetoric based on the evil Republicans, race card and/or global warning and increasing the federal budget ( as well as red tape and regulations) to blame and solve all of America’s problems. There is no doubt that the party of FDR, HST, JFK, LBJ , HHH and Scoop Jackson has now become the captive of the far left-in the media, popular culture and the tenured radicals in academia.

  1. July 5, 2015

    […] see no reason to depart from Rabbi Shafran’s enumeration of my points, and I’ll let people respond to both articles in the comments […]

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