The rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva University’s rabbinical school, Rabbi Hershel Schachter. is under fire for remarks he made about the Catholic Church.
Writing on Torah Web’s website, Schachter accused the Church of trying to convert Jews – something it has not done since the early 1960s – and other anachronisms.
His remarks drew fire from a host of scholars and Jewish community leaders who deal with Jewish-Christian relations, including some who are themselves Orthodox.
Schachter’s remarks show an infantile understanding of Catholic-Jewish relations.
But that isn’t much of a surprise.
While Schachter is a very smart man, he is also emotionally immature, often reacting to people who challenge him and to people he deems to be outside the accepted Jewish community like a small child throwing a tantrum. (His handling of the brain stem death issue is but one example of this.)
Schachter’s decades in leadership destroyed Modern Orthodoxy, I believe, and replaced it with a haredi-lite version, “Centrist Orthodoxy,” that is Zionist and somewhat open to some areas of secular knowledge, but which is otherwise indistinguishable for haredism.
Whether it was time he inartfully equated women with monkeys and parrots, or the time he called for Israel’s prime minister to be assassinated, Schachter has proved unfit to lead.
Unfortunately, each of those times, Yeshiva University and the institutions of Centrist Orthodoxy allowed him to get away with his bad behavior unpunished.
And this time appears to be no different.
Speaking to The Jewish Week, an unnamed Yeshiva University official reportedly said only that Schachter participates in the annual visit of senior Church clerics to Yeshiva University, and that Yeshiva University “promotes unity among Jews and fosters positive relations with all people.” No criticism of Schachter and no opposition to his demonstrably false remarks.
Yeshiva University has become very much like a hasidic court, it seems, where whatever a the rebbe does, whatever the rebbe says, right or wrong, true or false, becomes true and even good.
So much for Torah u’Mada.