Friday, July 10, 2009

Letter to Jewish Chronicle July 2009

I sent the following letter for publication to the Jewish Chronicle. It appeared in part in today's edition.

Dear Sir

I write to thank Rabbi Tony Bayfield for unequivocally supporting the Chief Rabbi in his attempt to fight the recent Appeal Court ruling against JFS. Rabbi Bayfield’s admirable response illustrates a point I made in my recent JC article – that acknowledging our differences, rather than pretending that they can be smoothed over, enables us to work together on issues that impact on us all. Unlike your columnist, the predictable Mr. Alderman and a number of other ill-informed correspondents, Rabbi Bayfield understands that the JFS ruling rejects the definition of Jewishness accepted by every Jewish movement in the UK, not just the Orthodox, as it insists that Jewishness is defined by practice, not by descent or conversion by any standard. By this criterion, a Sabbath-observant member of ‘Jews for Jesus’ is considered more Jewish than a non-observant born Jew or one converted by any movement. It is lamentable that so many have used this nadir in Anglo-Jewish history to attack the Chief Rabbi, when the ruling so obviously equally affects his detractors, whose interests he is fighting hard to protect.

Yours faithfully

Harvey Belovski (Rabbi), Golders Green Synagogue, 41 Dunstan Road, NW11 8AE