April 10, 2005
Rabbi Aryeh Spero, would-be court Jew for American theocracy
Or perhaps court jester is the most likely term. What is it about these DeLay-loving, freedom-hating right-wingers that lead them to inevitable ridiculous hypocrisies?
Take Rabbi Aryeh Spero (please!), who attracted my notice as a speaker at the Conference for An American Theocracy, is rabbi at Beit Hadassah Synagogue in Great Neck, New York.
Beit Hadassah Synagoge. In Great Neck.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Gush Emunim movement, which sought to hasten the messianic redemption by settling Jews throughout Judea and Samaria, Beit Hadassah might bring up images of grey-haired Hadassah ladies knitting sweaters for Israeli orphans.
Beit Hadassah was the building in Hebron where Rabbi Moshe Levinger and his followers began their project of settlement in the heart of Hebron.
How on earth do you name a synagogue -- in Great Neck, Long Island, of all places! -- for a place that stands for the centrality, sanctity and self-sacrifice demanded by the Land of Israel?
I guess that takes the same sort of chutzpah as being the sort of rabbi who endorses a Christian interpretation of the Bible.... and wants that interpretation to rule America. As Congress Daily reported about the conference Spero took part in:
Christian conservatives and a core group of congressional supporters are launching a significant new push to restructure the federal judicial system to reflect a more explicitly biblical world view, in the hopes that these changes will pave the way for broader social and political changes, leaders of the movement said.
Among Rabbi Aryeh Spero's soul-mates were the avowedly Stalinist
lawyer-author Edwin Vieira told the gathering that Kennedy should be impeached because his philosophy, evidenced in his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute, “upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law.”
Ominously, Vieira continued by saying his “bottom line” for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. “He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: ‘no man, no problem,’ ” Vieira said.
The full Stalin quote, for those who don’t recognize it, is “Death solves all problems: no man, no problem.”
For the record, according to the Washington Post,
The conference was organized during the height of the Schiavo controversy by a new group, the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration. This was no collection of fringe characters. The two-day program listed two House members; aides to two senators; representatives from the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America; conservative activists Alan Keyes and Morton C. Blackwell; the lawyer for Terri Schiavo’s parents; Alabama’s “Ten Commandments” judge, Roy Moore; and DeLay, who canceled to attend the pope’s funeral.
Speaking as a Jew -- though not a Judeo- -- I find this damn frightening. I can only assume that the learned Rabbi Spero believes that Stalin (and Lenin) would have been better for the Jews if only they had some rabbis among their cadres....
I did not speak at a conference called Conference For American Theocracy, nor do I know any of these Stalinist people to whom you refer, nor do I ever advocate running America according to Christian Biblical theology.
If you have any questions as to my positions, simply contact me and I will answer your specific query. Sincerely,
Rabbi Spero is of course correct; the actual title of the conference was "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" and he was scheduled to take part in a panel on April 8th on "The Decline of Faith and What to do about it."
Edwin Vieira, quoted in a Stalinist mode above, was on the program an hour or so after Rabbi Spero.
As to whose Biblical values: When you discuss "Biblical" values in the company of Evangelical Christians, they hear their Christian interpretation of the Torah.
I find it telling that in his enumeration of the differences between the religion of the Bible and his interepretation of liberalism, he makes no mention of the Torah's preeminent socialist legislation, shmitta, nor of the ample Talmudic regulation of polluters.
Rabbi Spero need not agree with Rabbi Moshe Tendler that universal health care is a Torah commandment, but dismissing it as "socialism" introduces, from a Jewish perspective, a red herring. (For the record, absolute capitalism is not a Jewish value -- nor, truth be told, is it on the Republican Party legislative agenda.)
Still, I find it odd that Rabbi Spero -- like so many other Republican fellow-travellers -- speaks of Torah values, yet doesn't speak up as his conservative cohort bashes the group leading the charge against ever min hachai, one of the seven Noahide commandments.
In sum, Rabbi Spero's political dabblings are aptly described as "a politics of religion, not religiosity.... it may feel good, but that does not make it Scripture."
Spero has just called for prosecution of the New York Times for treason (ignoring the question, of course, of Bush lawlessness). Unbelievable.
What is wrong with these far-right fanatics like Spero and Lapin? They obey (far-right Republican) party doctrine more rigidly than a Mussolini or Jabotinsky, get into bed with evangelicals propagating the gospels which put so many of us to death, defend anti-Semitic monstrosities like the Gibson film, ...
They, like the American Gentile right, have lost all moral perspective. And they shame me as a Jew.
In further Net reading, I find Spero associated with the campaign of anti-Semite Pat Buchanan [http://www.publicintegrity.org/report.aspx?aid=527] and adoring Christmas[http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles5/SperoChristmas.php].
This is insanity.
This is yet another embarassment for Larry Yudel, Rabbi Spero was smeared and had the decency to actually respond, correct a couple of the wild misrepresentations and indicate that he would be pleased to defend his statements and engage in dialogue.
Instead, without a word of explanation, an anonymous person "a concerned Jew" has the gall to simply conclude that "all moral perspective" is lost and this person is shamed by the fine Rabbi. It is all rational and normal for Jews to be shamed by wayward Jews who have gone off the derech.
Here, as if no one is looking, we have wayward Jews saying that they are shamed by righteous Rabbis!!
For Reb Yudel, "universal health insurance" is a socialist concept. Please show me the socialist who does not want universal health care. Just one will suffice. Judaism cannot advocate socialism and absolutely is consistent with freedom, free enterprize and capitalism. This is why the Bible was so influential in Colonial America and America, despite the liberals best intents and purposes, remains the last best hope for mankind (Bill Bennett's phrase) because of the sympathetic nature of the Bible and free markets.
Rabbi Spero will continue to stand tall and if you do not like his writing, it would be polite to respond in good faith to his words and instead of shrieking and running away.
All the fear and loathing of Conservative Christians is unabated even at a time when Israel is at war and unique in all the world, only American conservative Christians offer complete support for the Jews of Israel.
Let me explain it slowly and clearly. You are off the derech. Our derech is Torah and Mitzvos. All else is commentary- go and learn.
The original in the Talmud Shabbos was "don't do to others what you don't want done to you."
Did you learn chumash and rashi today? Has your wife been to the mikvah yet? Do you fast today?
Does your hateful ethic have anything to do with hashem's will? Does your quoting more Christians than Rabbis impress anyone?
Do your self a favor and sit down with an Orthodox rabbi- he will explain it to you.
May Hashem have mercy on your poor deluded soul
Shame on you Jewish people who criticize the Rabbi. He came to the May Day 2010 in Washington DC today. He told we Christians that for the first time a U.S. president was not supporting Israel and thanks Christians for supporting Israel and Jewish people. He prayed to HaShem for Israel and her Christian friends who will stand with her regardless of what the U.S. does. Also, Christians are sending offerings to Israeli organizations and funds for aliyah for the diaspora, and that includes my family.
Now what is it you have done for your own people today?