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Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

In defense of Safed’s Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu

The chief rabbi is denied entry into the US as if a terrorist. Who is he?

The Sages of the Talmud tell us that G^d promised to make the children of our leaders small generally, so that the Jewish People won’t be lorded over by dynasties. However, Rabbi Shmuel is the son of one of Israel’s greatest rabbis in the last 50 years, but a monumental rabbi in his own right too.

Ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbi

City rabbis have a special position. Until now, most of them are ultra-Orthodox. But, if they work faithfully, most of their interactions are with Jews who are not ultra-Orthodox. If they are truly for the people, they will reserve their principled exclusiveness for home and moderation outside.

Leading the War Against Sexual Predators

Already when sexual abuse was not talked about, let alone reported, and especially by respectable people in the ultra-Orthodox community, he set up a nationwide special tribunal to investigate, recommend, and report. Much sexual coercion was prevented by his intrusion and ostracization.

For Organ Donations

There is a grave difference of opinion between the current Jewish arbiters regarding the moment of death in accordance with Jewish Law. The son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was a biologist and gave, what I thought were compelling arguments, but leading rabbis still disagreed with him.

That seriously impedes organ transplants. When can they be harvested?

Rabbi Eliyahu stepped in and enabled many cases, saving countless lives.

Against Jews and Muslims Living Apart Together

Rabbi Eliyahu is trashed for speaking out against Jews and Muslims living together. However, most Jews understand they should not tempt their children to intermarry and most Muslims want intermarriage even less.

In Christian lands, where all are proclaimed equal (instead of equal before the law), this is frowned upon. Especially, by those for whom ethnicity is merely a cultural thing, and religion only an on the side hobby.

Calling this rabbi (and most Israelis) racists from a land whose visa papers still ask for skin color says more about them than anyone else. When outsiders feel free to lecture Israelis, you only need to look inside their country to see the beam in their eye, why they scream about our splinter.

Mizrachic/Arab Jews have no Reform/Conservative/Orthodox divisions, unlike White/Ashkenazic Jews. The pot calls the kettle black when White/Ashkenazic Jews call Black/Arab/Mizrachic/Israeli Jews racist.

Against LGBTQ+

True, this rabbi is harsh about Gays, etc. I’m the last one to justify this. But all Orthodox rabbis are guilty of this by association. And, don’t assume that non-Orthodox rabbis are any better. As a group, they don’t value Gay orientation. Rather, they don’t care as all things private go in their vision.

To go after this rabbi because of this is just ridiculous.

Bullied by US Baseless Hatred

So, the attempt by holier-than-thou Jews in the US to block this rabbi from entering the US reveals only that they are not proud of their own religious stance. Because those who are don’t need to be intolerant toward others.

Jews should give a moral example. That cannot include the despicable idea that I need to trample you to feel good about myself.

To ban Rabbi Eliyahu from entering the US is their loss. And moral defeat.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1550 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble.
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