Israeli Charedi leader accuses Chief Rabbi Mirvis of ‘blasphemy’ over LGBT guide

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Israeli Charedi leader accuses Chief Rabbi Mirvis of ‘blasphemy’ over LGBT guide

Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch claims the British Orthodox Jewish leader was “encouraging” homosexuality by releasing guidance against bullying

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

One of Israel’s most senior Charedi rabbis has reportedly accused Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis of “blasphemy” in launching a new LGBT guide for Jewish schools.

Rabbi Mirvis was accused of “encouraging” homosexuality by urging Jewish schools to help cut anti-LGBT bullying, according to a document purportedly based on the teachings of Jerusalem-based Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, 90, an anti-Zionist and vice-president of Israel’s Rabbinical Court.

The document seen by the Jewish News, claimed Sternbuch, who was born in London and survived the Blitz before making aliyah, said Mirvis was “using the cloak of lofty principles” to “formulate a new theory of drawing sinners into our camp”.

The Orthodox critic has a large following around the world, his visit to a Satmar conference in New York in June bringing much of Brooklyn to a standstill, with thousands fighting just to touch his motorcade.

Sternbuch purportedly said Mirvis “blasphemes our holy Torah and runs counter to the foundations of the holiness of our nation, since the halocho obligates us to distance such people, not legitimise them, especially since drawing them closer would pose a great danger to other students”.

Earlier this month, Mirvis launched the first-of-its-kind guide focused on the wellbeing of LGBT students for Jewish Orthodox schools falling under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate.

It urges teachers to protect Jews identifying as non-heterosexual or as a different gender, noting their high levels of self-harm and suicide attempts.

Written with Jewish LGBT umbrella group Keshet UK, it was welcomed by JFS, the biggest Jewish school in Europe, but UK-based Charedi leaders were underwhelmed, saying it did not speak for the strictly Orthodox community.


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