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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Monday, the rabbi worshipped at Arafat's tomb

Raleigh, North Carolina is not the only place where a rabbi thinks that Judaism requires him to go worship at the tomb of the father of terrorism. I'd like to introduce you to Rabbi Neil Blumofe of Congregation Agudas Achim (it's Conservative - contrary to what some of my Orthodox friends might conclude from the name) in Austin, Texas.

Below is a letter written by Richard Brook, a congregant of Rabbi Blumofe, who vehemently objects to Blumofe's idol worship.
Letter to Rabbi Blumofe

And in case you're wondering what these tours do, here's an itinerary:
Blumofe Itinerary for trip to Israel

Yes, the visit to Arafat's tomb is on Day 11. But it's only the start of the problems with this tour. This is how people are being educated to Judaism?

As it happens, I was in Austin two years ago on business, as some of you might recall. Congregation Agudas Achim is located in a huge gated complex that was donated by Michael Dell, the chairman of Dell Computers, who donated $1.8 million to American Friends of the IDF in 2014. The complex includes a day school, a community center, and Orthodox, Conservative and Reform synagogues (although when I was there in November 2014, the Orthodox synagogue was meeting in a classroom in the school). One has to wonder whether Mr. Dell is aware of what is going on at his campus, and whether visiting Yasser Arafat's tomb violates the terms of the land grant to Congregation Agudas Achim (I have no way of getting a copy of that grant - just raising the issue).

For the record, Mr. Brook has been in touch with me directly, and gave me permission to publish his letter (Hat Tips: Richard Allen and Sloan Rachmuth).

More to follow as this story progresses.

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At 4:24 PM, Blogger Devorah said...

The visit to the tomb has now been deleted from the itinerary of the tour led by the leader of the North Carolina congregation. Sometimes making people aware and writing about what is going on helps. Thanks.
Below is the link to the new itinerary. (as long as it is not deleted)

At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are unfortunate times when some clerics, of whatever faith, come to believe they know the mind of the D*vine better than he himself.

Hubris written large doesn't encompass it, because it easily becomes the ability to kill in the name of G*d.

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Hannah Westcoast said...

This is not unusual. I thought only where I am will there be self-haters. But I'm incorrect. In the late 1990s, a woman rabbi in Mendocino, California held a pulpit in which she condemned Israel and welcomed Islam as part of the prayer service. It was unbelievable. We asked her to rethink but called us bigots.

Out here in the occupied territory known as Californication there are many self-haters as I call them. They would open their arms to terrorists and give heavily to anti-Israel self-hating groups like J Street and B'Tselem. I cannot wait until I am able to see Israel one day. I'm in my 50s and have never been there. I'm more and more pro-Israel as I get older because as a student of history I do see history repeating itself.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Benji Lovitt said...

I don't understand the jump from "planning to visit" to "worship/show respect". People visiting Auschwitz certainly aren't worshipping the Nazis. Isn't it important to understand his intent before accusing him of something? I have yet to meet a rabbi or Jewish leader who thinks Arafat is deserving of any respect or honor.

At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Rabbi Blumofe. It's inconceivable he would "worship" at Arafat's tomb. Your post is pure nonsense. Mr. Brooks must be a prophet if he could write his letter in July 2017.


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