What will his Rosh Yeshiva say?open letter to the Baltimore Jewish community in which he defends himself against "an audio tape in which I am quoted as saying something which I never said and anyone who knows me knows I would never say."
What he doesn't mention is that he was responding to being lambasted by Rabbi Aharon Feldman, the Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, where Lipman was ordained.
Rabbi Aharon Feldman, the rosh yeshiva of Baltimore’s ultra-Othodox Ner Israel Rabbinical College, called Lipman a “wicked” apostate and said his positions on Jewish education do not represent the values taught by the institution from which he received rabbinic ordination.Lipman responded:
“The positions and statements of MK Lipman in no way reflect the views and education of Yeshiva Ner Israel,” Feldman wrote in a letter published by the Haredi magazine Mishpacha on Tuesday. “Our yeshiva is based on the foundation that the study of Torah is the very soul of the Jewish people. Therefore it is our opinion that no individual or government institution that calls itself Jewish has the right to hinder in any way those who dedicate their lives to Torah study.”
“I am asking one thing of you,” UTJ lawmaker Yaakov Asher last week told Lipman in the Knesset, “don’t say you’re Haredi, because you’re not.”In a Torah lecture last week, Feldman, who was born in Baltimore and become the head of the prestigious Ner Israel in 2001, suggested that Lipman is a “wicked” man and compared him to the historic enemies of the Jewish people.
Without mentioning the Yesh Atid MK by name, Feldman said that “one of our former talmidim (students)” said he intended to “close down” all religious high schools because they don’t sufficiently teach secular studies. He then called Lipman a “shanah u’piresh,” or apostate, a term sometimes used in the ultra-Orthodox world to describe someone who, having been versed in Torah studies, turns his back on his heritage.“I don’t know how he was corrupted; he didn’t learn it here in yeshiva,” Feldman said, according to a recording of the lecture obtained by the Baltimore Jewish Life website. Feldman went on to bemoan that “forces” in Israel are trying to undermine Orthodox Jewish education.The essence of the Jewish people is dedication to Torah study and “to learn as much as possible,” he said. “And, they’re trying to say they love us. They’re doing it because they love us. They hate us, they hate Torah.”Feldman then vowed that “little minds” who are only chasing honor will not succeed in uprooting Torah, clearly referring to Lipman and his Yesh Atid colleagues. “In a few years they’ll be gone; there will be nothing left of them; no history left of them,” he said. While they might temporarily cause trouble for yeshiva students, their fate will be similar to that of Amalek, Feldman added, referring to the biblical arch-enemy of the Jewish people.
1) The Israeli government should not fund institutions which don't teach basic math and English. Yeshivos which don't do so will not be closed down but they won't receive government funding. It should be pointed out that there are numerous yeshivos which already take zero government money and continue to flourish. Adina Bar Shalom, Rav Ovadiah Yosef's daughter appeared before the Knesset task force to help Haredim enter the work force which I founded and begged us to implement math and English because 50 percent of the boys in her chareidi college drop out due to their lack of math and English. I meet regularly with chareidi young men who are still completely in the chareidi world and they tell me that the one thing which is necessary is some basic math and English. I believe it is a sound decision for a government to make and look forward to seeing the yeshiva ketanos flourish and continue producing gedolei Torah while teaching basic math and English. Ironically, the basis for my supporting this plan knowing that gedolei Torah can still be produced if general studies are taught is actually Ner Yisrael which produces.Read the whole thing.
Rabbi Feldman lived in Israel for more than 40 years, and all of his children and grandchildren live in Israel. He knows exactly who Yair Lapid is and exactly what's going on. I have heard similar reactions to Rabbi Feldman's from every rabbi I have spoken to on this trip.
The rest of what Lipman writes is disingenuous.
That first paragraph has some basis to it, but the math can be picked up without learning it in high school. English is a separate issue. Israel cannot be turned into America overnight. Cutting off all funding for all but 1,800 Torah scholars (who will choose them and on what basis?) is a death sentence for the yeshivas - it ensures that anyone who wants to learn full time will live in perpetual abject poverty. And Lipman either knows it or he's a naive fool.
I don't like to talk about my family on this blog, but I will say that my five children who are over the age of 18 all got bagrut (matriculation) certificates. But what's right for my kids may not be right for others, and they ought to have the freedom to make their own decisions.
By the way, I am now in Chicago and not in Boston. Posting will likely be light through Sunday.