“I probably have suffered sporadically over the years from lack of a resource that all other writers have — a good editor. As such, I have agreed (upon recommendation of the shul leadership) to form a panel of people that I trust that will review my writings — not to censor the ideas, but to make certain, when necessary, that they are conveyed in slightly-less colorful ways.”
Above: Rabbi Steven Pruzansky
Synagogue Mandates Rabbi Steven Pruzansky Submit Writings To Editorial Board After Controversial Rabbi Called For Collective Punishment, Live Fire, Against Israeli Arabs
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The board of directors of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, the Teaneck, New Jersey Modern Orthodox synagogue that employs Rabbi Steven Pruzansky as its rabbi, has now taken steps to rein him in, the JTA reported this afternoon.
The board sent a letter to members today that says Pruzansky has agreed to submit his writings to to an editorial board prior to publishing.
Last week, Pruzansky’s wrote a blog post arguing for collective punishment of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, for Israel to destroy entire Arab villages if more than one terrorist lives in them, for using live fire against Arab rioters, and for removing all Arabs and their shrines from the Temple Mount. He also called Israeli Arabs, almost all of whom are peaceful, “the enemy.”
That post drew international media attention and widespread condemnation.
It also upped the security requirements of both Pruzansky and his synagogue, and that appears to be what finally prompted the synagogue’s board to act.
But in his own letter to congregants today, Pruzansky did not walk back the essence of his anti-Islam, anti-Arab remarks and instead only noted that he regretted writing them “in a manner that many deemed harsh.”
He also explained the new editorial restrictions on him in a way that makes clear his ideas will remain unchanged.
“I probably have suffered sporadically over the years from lack of a resource that all other writers have — a good editor. As such, I have agreed (upon recommendation of the shul leadership) to form a panel of people that I trust that will review my writings — not to censor the ideas, but to make certain, when necessary, that they are conveyed in slightly-less colorful ways,” Pruzansky wrote.
Pruzansky’s synagogue clearly did not act simply because Pruzansky wrote something extreme or controversial. Pruzansky has a long history of extreme statements and writings that have offended many. But his synagogue has repeatedly refused to act to rein him in – until now.
Why the change? Likely, the increased security threat to the synagogue and its membership brought on by Pruzansky’s remarks.
In its letter, the synagogue board continued to insist that Pruzansky’s writings were his own responsibility and do not represent it or the synagogue – despite the fact that the board and synagogue has never reprimanded or criticized Pruzansky for any of them – and referenced the security issue.
“The Executive Board met with the Rabbi earlier this week and has been in communication virtually non-stop since last week. We fully appreciate the gravity of the situation for our Shul and the extended community. As the Board of Directors has said in the past, the public writings of Rabbi Pruzansky are his personal thoughts, views and opinions and not those of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, its Executive Board, Board of Directors or members. Bnai Yeshurun is in no way affiliated with the Rabbi’s blog postings and has never had editorial control over them whatsoever,” the board’s letter reportedly said, adding that security patrols by Teaneck police have now been increased to ensure the safety of the synagogue and its members, and of Pruzansky and his family.