Thursday, June 16, 2005

A letter from Conference of European Rabbis

We are very concerned at the news that Chief Rabbi Kotel Dadon has been summarily dismissed by your community. Rabbi Dadon, who is a member of the Conference of European Rabbis, has been instrumental in raising both the profile, as well as the standard of Jewish life in Zagreb and Croatia quite spectacularly over the past seven years. It is incomprehensible that your community has chosen to dismiss him without any valid or solid reason to do so.

This is both unacceptable in civil as well as in Jewish law. The Zagreb Jewish community must understand that it forms part of the family of European Jewish communities, and must appreciate that in Europe, one works together as a team, of which Rabbi Dadon has been a part of.

The Conference of European Rabbis cannot accept the manner in which Rabbi Dadon has been asked to leave, and we ask you to please ensure that this notice of dismissal is withdrawn in order to avoid embarrassment and pain to Rabbi Dadon and to your community.

We hear so very often of complaints that not enough people are taking up the role of Rabbi in emerging communities. Your action further discourages potential candidates from taking up such a career. We feel certain that no candidate would wish to come forward to fill a position when the previous incumbent has been treated in such a manner. The scenarios you mention of other countries are indeed very sad, and illustrate quite clearly how an action such as your own can cause tremendous harm to the future of your community. The CER will be happy to assist with any issues that you might have that need addressing, but we ask you again to please treat your Rabbi with the respect and honour he deserves for the wonderful work he has been doing.

Yours sincerely

Cllr A M Dunner
Executive Director
Conference of European Rabbis
87 Hodford Road
London NW11 8NH

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

> "Rabbi Dadon, who is a member of the Conference of European Rabbis"

He is a member of CER just because he has been accepted as rabi in Zagreb - there is again a mixup of causes and consequences here...

> "It is incomprehensible that your community has chosen to dismiss him without any valid or solid reason to do so."

I may be incomprehensible if you haven't tried to comprehend - he has not been dismessed "without any valid or solid reason", his agreement with the community expired and was well determined in the contract, and as he was very well aware that it could been done.

> "This is both unacceptable in civil as well as in Jewish law."

Exaclty what - to fire one of your employes once the obligations from contract from both sides have been fulfilled? Hmh, I must have been learning some wrong law all together...

> "The Zagreb Jewish community must understand that it forms part of the family of European Jewish communities, and must appreciate that in Europe, one works together as a team, of which Rabbi Dadon has been a part of."

And the CER must understand that the JCZ is free to choose its own rabbi as it finds fit.

> "The CER will be happy to assist with any issues that you might have that need addressing, but we ask you again to please treat your Rabbi with the respect and honour he deserves for the wonderful work he has been doing."

Rabbi received in Zagreb both honours and respect at all times. It would have been honourable by him to retreat one he realize that the community is largely not satisfied with him (any more, if you wish...)

3:18 PM  
Blogger Leo Pinsker said...

I may be incomprehensible if you haven't tried to comprehend - he has not been dismessed "without any valid or solid reason", his agreement with the community expired and was well determined in the contract, and as he was very well aware that it could been done.

right. this is the ONLY argument for his disposal.

the rabbi's congregation is against it. nuff said...

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Jewish said...

Only 25% of the membership went out for the elections.

I personally heard some of them, who even voted for some current leadership, that was against the Rabbi, that they wouldn't, if they knew their first step would be getting rid of the Rabbi... and they didn't know, as that was not put in the program, nor this intention was put out publicly.

So, we come to that mentalblog definition - this is not the Jewish community, this is the semi-secret society (of professional Jews - my remark).

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somone using the name of "Leo Pinsker" said: "the rabbi's congregation is against it. nuff said..."

Well, technicaly not quite true - it is only that part of the rabbi's congregation that is supporting him that is not against him - the remainder of the Jews in Zagreb, who are his congregarion as well are not quite so suportive. You are mixing things as usual... Is he not the rabbi of all 1200 Jews in Zagreb?

What you are saing is that all of his supporters are supporting him. I would find it quite unusual if that statement would not be true!

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Is he not the rabbi of all 1200 Jews in Zagreb?

What 1200 jews? In all of croatia less then 600 people have declared themselfs as jews in the last census. In '91 census it was about 1500, and in 1971 census it was nearly 3000. Those are results of the goyish community policies. They are doing a silent shoa. I am not surprised, I would be embarassed to declare myself jewish when kraus and binenfled are supposed to represent you.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, 1200 is your number - it is you that wrote: "out of 1200 members of the community only 317 came to vote.(25%)"

When it suits you they are all counted in, but when not they are not proper Jews, right?

Or, wait! - I see, there are 1200 member of the community (who you expect to show up on the meeting an dsupport your ideas), but they are not all Jews, but are "only" of Jewish ancestry and therefore invalid to hold possitions in the same community.

What's next, should we start wearing tags (or silly hats) designating us who has a Jewish mother and who not? And you date to acuse others for racism?

Or are those again Christian rules for who is a Jew? Oddly, this does not bother the State of Israel to care for them.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> When it suits you they are all
> counted in, but when not they
> are not proper Jews, right?

Again, I am not L.P.

> What's next, should we start
> wearing tags (or silly hats)
> designating us who has a Jewish
> mother and who not? And you date
> to acuse others for racism?

Again, what makes kraus jewish? Enlighten me. Judaism without torah is just a pathetic blut und boden fascism. What is the point of being jewish?

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Again, what makes kraus jewish? Enlighten me. Judaism without torah is just a pathetic blut und boden fascism. What is the point of being jewish?

that is one way of putting it, but you are well aware that at least almost 200 years that view is not the only way of looking at judaism and that there are number of other difinitions of what is point of being Jewish. YOu definition is not even the majority of today's thought. Only, you do not want to see it, and you don'twant to recognize it, so you prefer to ignore it and claim it inexistent...

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> that is one way of putting it,
> but you are well aware that at
> least almost 200 years that view
> is not the only way of looking
> at judaism and that there are
> number of other difinitions of
> what is point of being Jewish.
> YOu definition is not even the
> majority of today's thought.
> Only, you do not want to see it,
> and you don'twant to recognize
> it, so you prefer to ignore it
> and claim it inexistent...

Nope, you are ignoring the facts. Secular diaspora is dead. Since this year, majority of world's jews live in israel (people who declare themselfs jewish, I am not speaking about halahic definitions). In 10-20 years it will be much less. This farse called ZOZ will not survive long. I hear that the youngest members of the youth are 25 y/o. When I was there, average age was 15. Young people are ignoring the community, because it has nothing to offer, unless you want blood money from shoa victim's real estate.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Nope, you are ignoring the facts. Secular diaspora is dead. Since this year, majority of world's jews live in israel (people who declare themselfs jewish, I am not speaking about halahic definitions). In 10-20 years it will be much less.

Ooooo. How nice of you to tell me this, I'm going to get ready to make aliya right now - I am afraid.

> This farse called ZOZ will not survive long.

It has sirvived in 150 years and it shall survive as long as we live, and out children at least, but probably much more. Your foul wishes of our extermination has been tried before, not once, but we survived.

> I hear that the youngest members of the youth are 25 y/o. When I was there, average age was 15. Young people are ignoring the community, because it has nothing to offer, unless you want blood money from shoa victim's real estate.

Waw! Interesting how there are always piles of money, only that none has seen them. Probably someone stashed them already. No wander the Evil Doctor, right?

Who told you about the youngest youth to have 25? Wanderous how one can circumwent facts. There is enough young people as it ever was, some years more some years less, and the generations do change, but there are certainly as much youth of any age as was ever, or even more. and there are more to come. Or do you count on al he chidern now in the school and the kindergarten to become religious Jews? And what aboiutthose who do not go to these institutions but still visit the community regulary and grow with their Jewish identity developed? What about new born babies, there were more then a few in the last few years. DO you expect them al to grow up into 18th century's ignorant but observant Jews?

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> It has sirvived in 150 years

Has it?

> Who told you about the youngest youth to have 25?

So what is it? 24?

> Or do you count on al he chidern
> now in the school and the
> kindergarten to become religious
> Jews?

Nope, I expect them to do only thing sensible, close this fake jewish community. It is niether jewis nor community, thaks to its "leadership"...

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To my fellow Jewish brethren of Zagreb,
I'm not Croatian but I've been following your internal war for a while already. I find it extremelly sad.
As an outsider I see your ongoing machloket (disagreement) as real proof of your Jewishness.
As a Jew I can identify this character trait and relate to it, even though I daven everyday that I should never face it in my life and that it should depart from Klal Yisroel.
At the source of this dispute is the decision by the community of NOT renewing Rav Da-Don's contract of employment.
The Gemorah (Shabbos) states that there are basically 2 ways of hiring a worker.
a) paying him on a daily (or hourly basis), which is called s'chir yom (daily salary); or,
b) hiring someone for a set amount of time (months, years), during which time the person must fulfill pre-established duties. Upon completion of his duties or the pre-determined time-frame, both parties are free to carry on with their lives without the halachic obbligation of renewing any contract whatsoever.
This is the clear interpretation given by Rashi on this matter.
Now, how does it apply to a Rabbi?
A Rabbi is, by definition, someone who occupies himself with the needs of the community.
Nonetheless, it must be emphasized that HE IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE OF THE COMMUNITY, but rather a servant of the Almighty.
A Rabbi must cater to the needs of the community while serving the Creator and must NEVER EVER compromise his standards in order to satisfy personal and private needs or interests of specific individuals if those interests are contrary to Torah and Halachah.
On the other hand, in as much as a Rabbi should make himself available to the community he cannot impose himself on the community.
There is no room in Judaism for, for example, one's self-appointment as Chied Rabbi.
One can be a Rabbi, but the designation of Chief Rabbi, Grand Rabbi or similar titles must be conferred by the community and may also be withdrawn if the community so wishes.
Having said that we must also say that no one can deprive Rav Da-Don of being a Rabbi. No one can deprive him of his Rabbinic Ordination, except those Rabbis who ordained him, and, it is my understanding that they do not plan to do so, nor should they as Rav Da-Don is, indeed, worthy of carrying on with his functions.
What must be understood, however, is that this senseless pursuit of the chief rabbinate is counter-productive and totally antagonistic to Torah Values, as it says in Pirkei Avos (Ethics of the Fathers): 3 things can drive a man out of this world: envy, pride and honour.
It would be very much condusive with dignity if Rav Da-Don accepted the end of his contract and carried on working for the well being of Zagreb Jews as a Rabbi and forget about the unpleasant political moves involved in the ongoing struggle for power.
This would show that Rabbi Da-Don cares much more, is much more interested and concerned with the well being of the Jewish people than his own status.
The Rabbinate is a vocation, a calling and not a political appointment, and such a calling does not end at the end of a contract.
So, why not carry on as a Rabbi without the formal title of Chief Rabbi?
Having said that, we must now address the delicate and peculiar situation of the leadership of the Jewish Community of Zagreb.
The Halachah states clearly that a Jew is either the son of a Jewish mother or someone who converted to the Jewish faith under the auspices of a recognized (ORTHODOX) court of law (Beis Din).
The community as a whole should make every single effort to ensure that its leaders meet the aforementioned criteria.
I honestly hope that as the community improves its Jewish knowledge and awareness these issues will be dealt with accordingly and I hope the current President will come to realize what's his own halachic status and what measures should be taken.
In conclusion:
1) I see no breach of either Halachah or civil law by not renewing Rav Da-Don's contract at its end.
2) Whereas the rabbinate is a Divine calling the position of Chief Rabbi is political in nature and determined by the standing governing body of the Jewish Community.
3) It is very unfortunate and sad that a war of this magnitude is taking place, thus preventing Avodas Hashem (Devine Service) from being carried on.
4) True Avodas Hashem is independent of the need for political appointments.
I sincerely hope this issue will be brought to a solution at the earliest possible opportunity so that peace may be restored to my fellow Jewish brethren in Zagreb and so that Hashem can, once again, derive naches from your community.
I wish my colleague HaRav Da-Don much success in his future and daven that he will see how pointless and counter-productive this whole machloket is. B'ezras Hashem and without further delay he will be able to focus and concentrate in true avodas Hashem and the well being of the Jewish Neshamos of Croatia.
I remain open for halachic consultations, comments and complaints.
With Torah Blessings,
Rav Steinbergman
steinbergman18@yahoo.com

6:30 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home