22 thoughts on “Abitbol: King of Mean – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. richard,

    dont want to get in the middle of your blog war, but i highly doubt that any blogger from the states or any state side rabbi, especially those who arent orthodox, had any impact on the community’s decision.

    the chief rabbi, rav goldstein, stated clearly that he was against barring goldstone from the synagogue….i think that this was weighed heavily.

    futhermore, it is not un-jewish behavior to bar those from public worship who a community feels has caused harm to the jewish community.

    had goldstone been placed in a formal cherem, the act of barring him would have been very jewish…as has occurred with the neturai karta.

    however, goldstone was not placed into cherem and the protestations against him ended up being purely political…and that indeed was wrong.

    i do find blog wars very entertaining, especially since terrestrial radio is now owned by 3 companies, who frown on the practice of the old time radio wars.

    1. the chief rabbi, rav goldstein, stated clearly that he was against barring goldstone from the synagogue

      Absolutely not true. Goldstein, who I would never grace with the honorific “Rav,” until the day before the leadership caved was still maintaining it would be better for Goldstone not to come. It was only AFTER the board of deputies issued the statement inviting Goldstone & promising no shenanigans that GOldstein all of sudden made nice-nice.

      it is not un-jewish behavior to bar those from public worship who a community feels has caused harm to the jewish community.

      It most assuredly is when the man is a grandfather wishing to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah. There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to punish a man in a religious context when you’re dispute with him is political in nature. Show me where in Jewish tradition it says that the sacred principle of hachnasat orchim can be breached when you don’t like a fellow Jew’s politics?? Go ahead, I dare you to show me.

      1. im sorry richard, but you dont understand the concept of cherem

        if the family wished to have a private bar mitzvah, held at some hotel, attended by family and friends, you would be correct

        however, had goldstone been placed in formal cherem, he very well could have been barred from entering the shul.

        this has happened, and i witnessed it, as a member of the neturai karta was asked (politely and in private) to leave a mincha/maariv service

        and i take it that you didnt fully read my post.

        it is not appropriate to bar someone from communal prayers when it comes to political disagreements…if it were, i would probably be barred from my own shul, as i lean much further left than any of the rest of the congregation.

        it is appropriate to place an individual into cherem if the decision has been made that he has caused harm to the community.

        i gave you a perfectly good example. the whole of the neturai karta have now been placed into cherem as a result of their attending the holocaust deniers conference in iran. none are welcome in shuls or communal gatherings outside of their small group. this includes satmer.

        im not sure what any of this has to do with hachnasat orchim…but im sure if you want to invite goldstone into your home for a shabat meal, no one will stop you.

        1. Don’t tell me what I do or don’t understand about Jewish tradition. I assure you I have at least as good & probably better training than you do on this score.

          I did not mean that the Jewish community went through a formal excommunication procedure. Luckily that process went out of favor sometime after Amsterdam’s community infamously placed Spinoza in herem. But in effect what the South Africans did was put Goldstone in herem. IF you don’t like the phrasing that’s too bad.

          it is appropriate to place an individual into cherem if the decision has been made that he has caused harm to the community.

          What utter narischkeit. Who decides who has harmed the community? And if the Capetown community decides Goldstone has not harmed the community and Joberg decides he has, does that mean he’s welcome in Capetown but not Jo-berg? And once we go that route, we’ll have Jo-berg synagogues barring anyone fr. Capetown they don’t like since Capetown will have decided to welcome someone who in Joberg’s view has harmed their interests. This happens in Hasidic communities already. And almost all Jews want none of this foolishness. No Jews that I know & almost no one in the American Jewish community accepts yr definition of herem.

          Hachnasat orchim is the welcoming of guests into one’s home or community. You’re being disingenuous in limiting the definition as you have done.

          1. who decides?

            sorry richard…not you…i highly doubt that anyone has ever come to you for any halachic questions

            the sa community never placed goldstone into cherem. and since they do have a chief rabbi, it wouldnt be their place to do so.

            i do like how you have totally ignored the cherem that the neturai karta was put in. done by gedolim who are far greater than you or i (although i am sure you would disagree)

            again, not sure what hachnasat orchim has to do with the events of sa.

            one is not forced to invite into their home someone who they dont want there.

            and the mitzvah is a positive commandment, one is not punished for not abiding by it.

            like i said, if you wish, no one will stop you from inviting goldstone into your home.

            the only reason i included shabas, is that is usually the day that hachnasat orchim is mostly practiced

          2. i highly doubt that anyone has ever come to you for any halachic questions

            I’m not a rabbi, why would they? Has anyone come to you for a p’sak din lately?

            the sa community never placed goldstone into cherem

            Of course they did. They met together & decided he wasn’t welcome. All the leaders decided this together & informed him that if he came the Zionist Federation would picket the ceremony & make life hell for him. Of course they put him in herem.

            I don’t have any interest in the Neturey Karta herem. I don’t have any interest in herems at all no matter who’s being excommunicated.

            Richard Goldstone was visiting his homeland. Therefore the concept of hachnasat orchim comes into play. No Jew may refuse hospitality to another in such circumstances. To do so is to violate a basic precept of Judaism.

            one is not punished for not abiding by it.

            I didn’t say the South Africans should be punished. They actually punish themselves by violating the precept & acting like overall chnyukim.

  2. First of all, congratulations on the repeal of Goldstone’s “disinvitation”.

    I guess only the committee members know all their reasons for this decision, but I would guess that seeing how it was viewed by you and others outside their community has its influence. Your post and the letter must have made an impact, even if it wasn’t the sole reason.

    I hope you don’t let people like David Abitbol discourage you.

    And besides, men don’t age, they mature.

  3. Hi Richard!

    I have to say, usually I agree with you 95% of the time, but in this case, I agree with you 110%!!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! I cannot believe how petty, pathetic and mean-spirited some people can be.

    You did an excellent, excellent job with your pieces on Goldstone, Kamm and Blau, and I find it laughable that this “individual” would stoop so low as describing you as decrepit which is so off base, so ridiculous and childish actually, like the behavior of a bully in the school yard.

    I guess this is the price you must pay for speaking your mind, the truth, fighting for justice and just being a compassionate, authentic human being.

    There’s a sea of meaningless tripe out there and your blog is an island of refreshing and hopeful truth and don’t you forget it!

  4. Richard, the “eminence grise” link on the main page is broken (the corresponding link on the “permanent link” page is fine) – the problem is due to the link’s incorrect relative URL, which leaves out the tikun_olam directory (i.e., in the source, ../2008/01/28/semifreddis-bakery/ resolves to https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2008/01/28/semifreddis-bakery/). The link’s correct absolute URL is:


    1. I just pasted this in directly fr. Abitbol’s own blog. So the mistake is his. Personally, I don’t care whether anyone follows his links. I want them to follow the links that I’ve added to this post. But thanks for alerting me to this.

  5. I have some questions that I have been unable to get a written answer
    1) Who told Mr Goldstone that he couldnt come to the barmitzvah?
    2) Did the synagogue internally decide to uninvite him?
    3) Who negotiated with whom to allow Goldstone back
    4) How can the federation completely prevent all protests?

    1. 1. The Zionist Federation publicly threatened to protest at the synagogue during the ceremony
      2. Many synagogue members feel as other Jo-berg do & intensely disapprove of Goldstone’s report. Those who feel this way were undoubtedly pleased he wouldn’t be coming. Now that he IS coming I imagine somehow they’ll deal w. it.
      3. I don’t know. But I imagine some of Goldstone’s Jewish S. African friends quoted in the NY Times article may’ve negotiated w. the Bd. of Deputies.
      4. The ZIonist Federation threatened the original protests. It is part of the Bd. of Deputies, hence it must abide by the Bd. of Deputies promise of no disruptions.

  6. “So what’s wrong with Abitbol?”

    Ziocaine is a chemical messenger which depresses the vagus nerve, and stimulates certain regions in the brain among other actions. It is produced in the bodies of Zionist-supporters by any discussion of the issues in the ME. Apparently ziocaine produces a feeling of self-righteous grandiosity and vicarious pugnacity alternating with periods of paranoia and victimology, followed by rhetorical amnesia, which allows the experience to be repeated endlessly with gratifying results. The sensations associated with ziocaine make it addictive, and habitues seek out every possible reason to induce it’s production. Sometimes called “the Hasbara high”.

      1. “That explains a lot!”

        Thanks for that kind response. I wish it explained more. Learned since then it explains less than I thought.

        1. Yes, subsequent research conducted by four-out-of-five dentists who chew gum have shown that no specific hormone or special chemical imbalance is involved.
          It is more correcter to say that it is a ” Ziocaine syndrome”, a behavioral syndrome. It’s easy to think it is some kind of drug or chemical, but it is not.

  7. Maybe the Tikkun Olamy thing to do would be to just stop taking swipes [back even] at CK. I mean, you know, since it would be good to demonstrate on even a microlevel the kind of restraint it takes to quell conflict, not perpetuate. Or — maybe you’re finding it hard to sit still while a foe is always launching verbal missiles at you. I mean, that’s totally understadable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link