Monday, August 01, 2022

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too

Rabbi Yisroel Meir Greenberg (Jewish News)
It never ceases to amaze me that  there are rabbinic leaders that denounce government educational policies as anti-religious when they actually participate in them. This is exactly what  Rabbi Yisroel Meir Greenberg just did. Rabbi  Greenberg sided with the UOHC – the Charedi faction of the Orthodox community in the London. They claim that teaching secular subjects presents an existential threat! The UK publication –

 Jewish News report the following: 

Rabbi Greenberg’s protest is particularly controversial as he tops the governance structure for Hasmonean Boys School, itself a state-aided school. 

I assume this means that he is the head of their Vaad HaChinuch. 

The argument that it is a matter religious freedom might have some merit. But for someone whose educational policy includes teaching secular subjects - to side with those who say doing so is an existential  threat makes no sense at all. 

The question is: Why? Why would he do such a thing? Is that not the very definition of hypocrisy? 

I find it difficult to understand why he even defends a ‘right’ of religious Jews to remain ignorant of basic secular subjects taught in schools in every part of the civilized world.  But to actually say that it is an existential threat means that he actively participates in that enterprise. 

I can’t explain it. But my guess is that he does not really believe it. Because if he did, there would be no way a man of conscience who decides educational policy for a school would allow the school to teach subjects that he considers an existential threat. And yet he did the following: 

Rabbi Yisroel Meir Greenberg, of Golders Green’s “MUNK’s” Synagogue, has signed a letter, along with other UOHC rabbis, attacking the provisions of the Schools Bill, which they say would effectively destroy the yeshiva movement. 

You cannot ‘eat your cake – and have it too’. You cannot say that you sign a document if you disagree with any part of it. Unless you qualify it by saying that. To the best of my knowledge, Rabbi Greenberg didn’t do that. 

So, how about it, Rabbi Greenberg is the school you head effectively destroying the Yehiva movement? Do you think the Charedi schools in the US that teach secular subjects are destroying the Yeshiva movement? Are Telshe and Philly guilty of that? Has Belz in Israel gone over to ‘the dark side’ according to you?


There was a response to this article published in the JC which in part said the following:

But a statement issued by the Hasmonean Multi-Academy Trust to parents on Friday defended Rabbi Greenberg. It referred to an “article in the press” which had suggested “that Rabbi Greenberg was not supportive of secular education”. 

The article (which was not in The JC) had been “based on a misrepresentation” on the contents of the UOHC notice, the trust said. 

“The Rav would like to make it absolutely clear that he is completely supportive of all of Hasmonean’s pupils achieving the highest standards of both secular and kodesh [Jewish studies] education in line with the schools' historic and current ethos upholding Torah im derech eretz [Torah with engagement in the wider world],” the trust stated. 

He was misled. Why am I not surprised?!