If there was any doubt...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

If there was any doubt...

...as to what Rabbi Marc Schneier is all about, this encapsulates it very well.

the reminder to "get your tributes in on time. Click image for larger version."

Perhaps it's just the way it's worded... "your personal note of gratitude..." but it recalls a tee-shirt once presented to my daughter-in-law the TV-stage-screen actress. It read:

It's All AboutMe!

A "personal note of gratitude, eh?

It appears that a simple half-page reading:

Congratulations on your first 25, Rabbi.
We look forward to the next 25. Mazel tov!
...wouldn't cut it.



1. Hampton West said...

There seems to be something about certain rabbis, their followers, and egos. You have some Lubavitchers who believe Rabbi Schneerson was indeed the messiah and that at times he stated that. I'm not suggesting Rabbi Schneier is at that level but there seems to be a cult of personality that goes hand in hand with some of these leaders.

2. Rob F. said...

Did you catch that "Thank you for all you have created" at the top of the invitation to purchase an ad in the journal? Hopefully the rabbi will be able to rest on the seventh day.

O, Lawdy! No, I completely missed that... funny!

3. Morris Tuchman said...

Dean; I do not normally comment on ad hominem attacks, as they do not deal with issues but personal feelings, and comments on them are usually pointless. However, your recent attacks against Rabbi Schneier, as a person, compel a response, on the facts.

Your blog recognized that, despite "provocation" (your word), Rabbi Schneier took the "high road" (again your words). Yet when correspondence emanated from the Synagogue, you saw self-promotion in the letterhead. The letterhead used this year, is unique to this year. Since it is the Synagogue's 18th year, which is a milestone for it because 18 represents "chai," or life, in Hebrew, and Rabbi Schneier's 25th year, a milestone in the rabbinate, the letterhead was altered this year to reflect these milestones. There was no "self promotion" for the 17 earlier years of the Synagogue and next year's letterhead will return to the original format. It, therefore, is just unfortunate that correspondence from the Synagogue, in your mind, took on a hue of ego.

You have also asserted that the "last call" for journal ads recognizing these milestones is further evidence of puffery. Again, this misreads the message badly. Since the dinner is next week, the E-mail was designed to alert people to the journal ad closing date and was not a solicitation of praise. Indeed, many congregants would be upset if they missed the deadline as each has their own story of gratitude to tell the Rabbi.

You do not support your assertion that the Rabbi has "broken faith" with or snubbed" the interfaith council. In fact, there is no doubt the Reverend David, and the Wardens, invited Rabbi Schneier to speak. It was the Vestry, or better said the lay leadership that employs the Reverend, that rescinded the invitation. (It is noteworthy in this regard that your blog asked the Rabbi to go across the street to the country club while he was at Saint Marks.) Reverend David was at the Synagogue for a lovely, lively discussion two years ago and there really is no apparent tension between the the Rabbi and the Church's religious leadership.

Finally (or better said, all that I have time for), you keep asserting that the Rabbi misled people 18 years ago in asserting, logically, that "orthodox" Jews do not drive and therefore will not need parking space for Saturday services. How Rabbi Schneier could have imagined that reform and conservative Jews would give up boating, tennis and other leisure activities to attend a 2&fract12;-to-3 hour service on Saturdays is beyond anyone's contemplation. Indeed, the Synagogue overflows its space weekly. Rabbi Schneier certainly would have built a larger Synagogoue had he contemplated the need for hundreds of extra seats. He did not because he could not contemplate the need. And the quote that you refer to in wonderment about "there never was a Synagogue..." was related to me, not by Rabbi Schneier, but other members of the congregation who were there at the time. (I was not, having moved to Westhampton Beach in 1994). Your attribution of the quote to Rabbi Schneier is unfounded.

As I said in my talk at the Synagogue that you attended, leaders are often controversial. Rabbi Schneier is no exception. I am sure that he has made comments that were intemperate and regrets doing so. On the other hand, he aggressively attends to the needs of his flock, and they love him for it. Indeed, that is why Jews from all persuasions attend the Synagogue even with its "alien" customs and traditions. I must put one "comment" to rest. He never compared Westhampton Beach to Nazi Germany, although you keep asserting that he did. A full page ad came out in a local newspaper that, in effect, said "no more Jews". That was the very week that Joe Garay, a holocaust survivor was honored as father of the year. Rabbi Schneier, still taking the high road, merely pointed out that bigotry was rearing its head in the village.

So many important issues raised here, that this, as has been done previously with David Reilly and Glenn Dorskind, deserves to be on the "main page."
– Dean

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