Monday, April 18, 2016

The flaw in the RCA's Pruz Statement

While the RCA statement (below) is certainly no endorsement of Pruzansky, or his rape apologia, its still most unwelcome.

The man deserves no protection at all and certainly not from an organization that has, in the past, sat on its hands while men like Pruzansky savage liberal expressions of Orthodoxy. It's easy to call for polite discourse when your friends are being raked over the coals. If you want the public to take such calls seriously, however, you need to occasionally stand up for the dignity of the people you disagree with, too. Not having ever done that, the RCA's pleas for comity ring false and self serving.

ALSO: The piece begins by lamenting the fact that Pruzansky, who apparently possesses nude photos of the RCA leadership, is not known for his scholarship or pastoral leadership. Well, there's a damn good reason for that! Most of us know Pruz only through his blog posts, blog posts that consist entirely of reformatted RW talking points, lifted from people like Hannity, Coulter and their ilk. Where are the posts on parsha or halacha? Where are the posts that demonstrate compassion or concern for the downtrodden?

I've been a Pruz watcher for years, and I don't recall every seeing a post from him that wouldn't be equally at home on a gentile RW site like Drudge or Clown Hall.

If Pruz wants to be known as a Jewish pastor and a Jewish scholar let him act like one. Meanwhile, his behavior is drowning out the RCA's words.

The Rabbinical Council of America - RCA
An Open Letter Regarding Rabbi Steven Pruzansky and His Blog
We are writing this open letter, and not relying on a short press release, in order to more fully expand on the issues that Rabbi Steven Pruzansky's recent blog has raised.
We are saddened that a rabbi of his stature and talent is known by many in the wider community not for his empathetic pastoral skills, in the way in which he is known by members of his community, nor by his preaching, textual analysis, or leadership in important communal areas. He has contributed much to his community and to his rabbinic colleagues, even to those who may disagree with some of what he writes.
We personally feel that the blog entry could have and should have been written differently and with more compassion.
However, we are dismayed by the overkill that has become the response to Rabbi Pruzansky's blog entry. Some have misrepresented his remarks; some are fomenting personal attacks and boycotts against him; some, who are consistently disparaging of the RCA and its values, are disingenuously appropriating our words that were critical of Rabbi Pruzansky to attack rabbis and the rabbinate. These responses are irresponsible; this is not the way to conduct community business. Response to perceived disrespect is not through disrespect.
RCA leadership responded to a press inquiry about the blog and distanced itself from its tone and much of its substance. Although we do not usually respond to what individual members of the RCA write as individuals on their personal blogs and in their personal columns, we felt that it was especially important to do so in this case as the blog entry, while dealing with important issues--some with which we agree and some with which we disagree--was argued in a way that many find objectionable and was hurtful to many who themselves were victims of sexual violence or who were troubled by what he said. Our understanding of the issues around sexual violence differs from his. Many communicated directly with the RCA through phone calls and emails, others voiced their reactions in newspapers and blogs. Although he wrote as a private individual, not representing us or the RCA, it is impossible for him to divorce himself from these associations. The empathetic, pastoral ear and heart that were absent from his entry implicated his colleagues. We as religious leaders feel an added and primary responsibility for compassion, for the defense of the weak and the vulnerable, and to defend those who are or consider themselves victims of aggression and assault.
Rabbi Pruzansky's detractors are certainly entitled, and encouraged, to point out where they believe he is wrong and to share the ways in which they were hurt. It is only by presenting positions on the issues through reasonable arguments and analysis that we all can elevate the public debate and help each other understand the others' concerns, opinions, and experiences.
Rabbi Shalom Baum, President
Rabbi Leonard Matanky, Honorary President
Rabbi Elazar Muskin, First Vice President

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