Apologies from the Rabbinical Council of NSW following Jeremy Spinak memo

January 18, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Rabbinical Council of NSW has expressed regret and sorrow that the publication of a private memo sent to rabbinic colleagues regarding halachic protocol at the funeral of former NSW Jewish Board of Deputies President Jeremy Spinak caused  “unnecessary distress to Mr Spinak’s family and communal colleagues”.

Jeremy Spinak
former President
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

This sentiment was conveyed at a meeting between Rabbinical Council president Rabbi Paul Lewin and honorary secretary Rabbi Ingram and Board of Deputies President Lesli Berger, Vice-President Isabelle Shapiro and CEO Vic Alhadeff.

The Australian Jewish News recently published the contents of the letter sent by the Rabbinical Council to Sydney rabbis, setting out the halachic restrictions regarding the presence of Orthodox rabbis at a Progressive sanctuary as the funeral was to be held at Emanuel Synagogue.

“It was never our intention to prohibit Orthodox rabbis from attending Jeremy Spinak’s burial,” said Rabbi Lewin at the meeting. “Our intention was always to honour and respect the great work that Jeremy Spinak did for the community. We greatly regret if anyone gained the impression that we were seeking to discourage the paying of our respects to Jeremy.  On the contrary, we acknowledge the great work Jeremy Spinak undertook for our community and our intention was to encourage Orthodox rabbis to honour Jeremy and his family in a way that is consistent with Halacha.”

Board of Deputies president Lesli Berger responded: “We appreciated the fact that the Rabbinical Council reached out to us and we accept their explanation that their intention was always to honour Jeremy Spinak’s memory and pay respect to his family. We look forward to continuing to work with the Rabbinical Council in the best interests of the Jewish community”

In a condolence letter sent to Mr Alhadeff on behalf of the RCNSW prior to the funeral, Rabbi Ingram had referred to Mr Spinak as “a proud Jew, a tireless and dedicated communal worker, a bridge-builder and, most importantly of all, a true mensch”.

Comments

3 Responses to “Apologies from the Rabbinical Council of NSW following Jeremy Spinak memo”
  1. John Ziegler says:

    It seems then that not only are the terms “Halacha” and “bigotry” interchangeable but also that that is fine with the NSW JBD.

  2. Michael Barnett says:

    I’m more inclined to believe the RCNSW regret the memo actually became public. The sincerity of the nonpology “We greatly regret if anyone gained the impression that we were seeking to discourage the paying of our respects to Jeremy…” is questionable.

    A genuine apology would be “We unconditionally regret issuing a hurtful memo and apologise to the family of the deceased and the community for our lack of sensitivity.”

    • TzuriShaddai DeMartini-Scacheri says:

      We’re seem to going from bad to worse. First the contempt of court by the Beth Din and now this?What are we coming to? I agree with Michael Barnett’s comment, how about apologising for having written the memo in the first place.

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