Why does the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) have nothing to say about the rabbinical edict circulating in Israel—currently signed by more than four dozen rabbis—forbidding the sale or rental of homes to non-Jews?This is a rather complex issue, but in a manner of speaking there has been a statement by a leading member of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It can be found at Cross-Currents, and is written by a friend, Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Director of Interfaith Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, as well as holder of the Sydney M. Irmas Chair in Jewish Law and Ethics at Loyola Law School.
What should be understood here is that the issues have to do with Jewish law and the kind of complexities that only those qualified to speak on such matters can address. My posting concerns two articles and I have read both. But it would be dishonest of me to say I understand everything. They are very interesting and very difficult. But the important point I want to make is that the issue has been addressed and the Rabbis’ edict found faulty by a member of the SWC.
The first article is by Adlerstein, “How To Respond to the Renting Ban – And How To Fail At It.” In the article he refers to another article as the proper way to address the problem. That article is, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein's Response to the Letter Banning Sale of Homes to Gentiles in Israel. This latter article is much easier to read for a Gentile like myself.
Adlerstein is calling for kindness, use of all the legitimate literature on the subject and he is pointing to Lichtenstein’s response as the good example. Lichtenstein’s last paragraph is:
I conclude with what should be self-evident. At stake are key questions that involve meta-halakhic [the Jewish body of law] considerations. The willingness and ability to consider and assign appropriate weight to wide-ranging components related to halakhic content and its connection to both historical and social realities mandates a much wider discussion. We, who dwell in the beit midrash, remain committed to our belief and desire “to proclaim that God is upright, my rock in whom there is no wrong.”If that sounds like an interesting read, please go and read. Just know that there is concern about the Rabbis’ edict.
The problem here is that secular people with a definite ideology are demanding that all of the Rabbis, both orthodox and otherwise conform to their way of making statements. That is not the way one listens to the other.
So while I hopefully have the readers attention, the IPMN wants Presbyterians to go and vote on a different issue so please do: 'Israeli War Crimes' signs to go on Metro buses (There is no longer voting on this issue.) Instead read, Metro considers changing policy over anti-Israeli bus ads.