Thursday, January 27, 2005

Rabbi Mordechai Gafni Series Part 8: Rabbinical Association votes to censure him


At 8:35 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Note: Gafni still using the fake spelling of Winyarz.

Question to readers: What were the full 6 counts of the censure?

May 11, 1988

The South County Rabbinical Association on Tuesday voted to censure Rabbi Mordechai Winyarz, the 27-year-old Orthodox rabbi who has made waves in the Jewish community since his arrival in Boca Raton a year ago.

''The whole thing's a joke,'' Winyarz said. ''The rabbinical association exercises no leadership whatsoever. They have no credentials. They're a group of rabbis who get together and hang out. They have no authority in any realm. There's a tremendous vacuum and we believe at the (Boca Raton) Synagogue that it's time to speak out on the issues. There comes a time when you have to say the emperor has no clothes.''

The censure, which means only that the other rabbis publicly condemned Winyarz, was approved unanimously. It followed a resolution that was defeated that called for Winyarz's removal from the organization.

A group of rabbis is to meet with Winyarz to determine what steps should be taken next, according to association president Rabbi Nathan Zelizer.

The censure, introduced by Rabbi Bruce Warshal, the executive director of the South County Jewish Federation, condemns Winyarz on six counts and threatens to revoke his membership if he continues ''such actions.''

The association does not have the power to strip Winyarz of his rabbinical status. This is the second time in nine years that the association has censured a rabbi, Zelizer said.

The censure statement accuses Winyarz of ''denigrating'' other
congregations, their rabbis, and other branches of Judaism. It accuses him of ''undermining'' the kosher board that inspects local kosher markets. And it lambastes him for ''raiding'' the membership of other synagogues.

''We have to like each other,'' Zelizer said. ''We will disagree: We are Orthodox, Conservative and Reform, some to the right and some to the left. But we will disagree among ourselves; not by putting it in the paper.''

The censure culminates a year of furor that has been privately bubbling in the south county rabbinical community over the young rabbi. One of thefirst flames to ignite came when Winyarz, in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel shortly after he arrived from New York, said: ''What's Jewish about Reform Judaism?''

''I am no holier or Jewish than any other Jew,'' Winyarz said on Tuesday. ''Fact one: Every Jew is equally Jewish. Fact two: I believe the system of Reform Judaism is incorrect. Obviously, or I wouldn't be an Orthodox rabbi. I'm a complete believer in pluralism, respecting everyone's right to exercise their religion. That does not mean everybody's right. That's called relativism.''

Winyarz's second faux pas in the eyes of his colleagues came after he ran an advertisement in the local Jewish newspapers that read: ''Tired of impersonal, monotonous High Holy Day services? Tired of looking at your watch and waiting until it's over?''

Winyarz scoffs at the idea of being censured for ''raiding'' other

''People are free to come and go as they please,'' he said.

Winyarz irked the Jewish leadership during the visit of Pope John Paul II to Miami in September 1987 when he and a small band of protesters wore concentration camp-style clothing to protest the pontiff's meeting with Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, who is accused of Nazi war crimes.

Catholic and Jewish leaders at the time were attempting to quell any animosity between the two groups by issuing a joint statement of intent to cooperate.

But it was not until recently, when Winyarz denounced those Jewish leaders who would compare the Israel army to the Nazi brown shirts, that the rift between him and other Jewish leaders came to a head.

Although Winyarz named no names, Warshal told news organizations that the comment was a misunderstanding of a statement he made in regards to right-wing politics in Israel. Winyarz said he still finds the statement offensive.

Shirley Ludin, director of public relations for the federation, said that Warshal would make no comment on the censure.

However unorthodox it may seem, Winyarz's style is drawing crowds to his congregation.

He started with a congregation of 30 families and has taken it to a
membership of 120 families.

PHOTO (1 mug of Rabbi Mordechai Winyarz)

At 8:38 PM, Blogger Stop touchin my blog! said...



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