Thursday, April 24, 2014

What's the Soloveichik Family Tradition?

I found these two letters in the Jerusalem Post:

Family traditions

Sir, – With regard to “Jordan protests Israeli incursions into al-Aksa mosque” (April 22), Meir Soloveitchik, known to friends and family as “Solly,” is indeed a descendant of the Soloveitchik rabbinical dynasty, living in Manhattan, where he serves as rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel and is a popular public intellectual in Orthodox Jewish and conservative Republican circles.

There are many Soloveitchik descendants (from the American branch) living in Israel (myself included, but with no claim to renowned scholarship) who occupy different points on the religious and political spectrum, and, to the best of my knowledge, carry on a longstanding tradition of not seeking attention on the basis of family ties.

I would be delighted if Solly were to move to Israel with his family. But to come for Passover with members of his congregation, lecture on “Brisk and [Menachem] Begin” and top off his trip with a publicity-seeking visit to the Temple Mount is not at all in keeping with the family traditions he espouses.


Sir, – The Temple Mount should be an oasis of beauty, tranquility and spirituality.

Instead it has become the scene of terrifying rioting by Arabs who defile their own holy places with violence. They have even played soccer in front of their supposedly holy mosque.

This is a sign that their problem with Jews stepping foot on the Temple Mount is purely political, not religious.

This mass rioting cannot be tolerated. The Israel Police must not allow these Arabs to desecrate what is holy to all monotheistic religions. No country in the world would allow such a desecration of its holy sights.

Until the Arabs learn to respect human rights – even for Jews – they themselves should not be allowed up there.

If the Wakf Islamic religious trust cannot control its own people, it must ask another power to step in. Let the Israeli government use its power of sovereignty – and moral indignation – to control the Temple Mount and ensure that all people have the right to worship there as they choose.


Ms. Zaretsky's letter is normative.

Mr. Gerber's is, well, otherwise.  Gerber, who, it appears, a commercial lawyer, of Silber, Schottenfels & Gerber on 29B Keren Hayesod Street in Jerusalem, is really upset that someone in his family tree, to his mind, is 'stealing' his family tradition, a tradition he defines as one which seems to be to dislike Menachem Begin, dislike publicity-seekers, dislike those who do not immigrate to Israel and, I presume, dislike entry into the Temple Mount, not to mention bringing 30+ families of his congregation to Israel for Pesach.

So, what we can comprehend from his rant is that:

Gerber knows better than Rabbi Solly what the Soloveichik family tradition is.  I hope he realizes that the Briskers were not that enamored with Zionism so we end up walking a very fine line here in that Gerber seems to have gone against the family tradition, even if the Rav JB was in Mizrachi.


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