Trouble is brewing in the solemn but thriving Spanish Portuguese Community in London.
1. Orthodox Sephardic Rabbi Dweck, formerly Los Angeles: https://www.facebook.com/RJDweck, now in London: https://www.facebook.com/joe.dweck.1?fref=mentions, has had the audacity to teach about gay men for 90 minutes and only in a positive way supportive way.
2. At least, that’s what the press says: Rabbis at odds in dispute over gay love, Senior rabbi in bitter war of words for claiming ‘gay revolution is fantastic’, Senior rabbi: ‘Gay revolution is fantastic’.
3. We can’t know for sure, because the audiotape is thoroughly removed from Internet and Facebook (and they told us: Be careful what you post on Facebook because once it’s posted you can never get rid of it. So not so!):
Class 16: Homosexuality in Torah – sephardi.org.uk
Perspectives – Class 16: Homosexuality in Torah in Senior Rabbi Dweck Blog,Rabbis’ Blog. Perspectives – Class 16: Homosexuality in Torah. Source Sheet here.
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Let us make do with a tape of his acceptance speech (with top hat!) at the congregation that he now found himself in trouble, promising them already then yet another shocking meeting with modernity. Reportedly, in the past few years, he’s been tremendously popular, drawing a large crowd of young Jews – and no doubt jealousy from others.
4. He’s been praised for his original stand: Dweck’s position is as courageous as it is nuanced, and formally from London, Orthodox Rabbi Jonathan Cohen, now from Netivot, mentions on his Facebook page his support for his embattled colleague.
5. Rabbi Dweck has been very active educating his community on other controversial topics too. Here one from merely six weeks ago: Rationalist vs Mystical Judaism – Rabbi Joseph Dweck in Conversation with Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin.
6. Thank G-d, the Rabbi has also enemies. Here you can see for yourself what low-level language his worst contractor uses to paint his opponent as: worse than the Reform [!], a monster, worthy of excommunication, the biggest enemy of the Jewish People [no less!], a criminal that must be stopped [real incitement that would be a criminal offense in Israel!], proclaiming about him: I didn’t find a more wicked person on [sic] the Jewish Nation in 23 years; he never did anything positive for the Jewish People; he only spreads slander and bashes and smashed people’s reputation [look who’s talking!]he pushes people away from real Judaism; he [no doubt] is a violator of Shabbat, has no fear of Heaven; he fools people, and is delaying the coming of the Messiah [which happens because of baseless hatred!]. Who needs friends with enemies like that?! After being attacked like that, anyone sympathizes with the attacked! (Compare this to the British movie Witness For The Prosecution, where the accused is acquitted because how viciously he’s attacked.)
This slander, no doubt mightily contributes to Rabbi Dweck’s great success in the community – libel always backfires. The above was posted by someone who in turn questioned if his assailant is really a rabbi: “Rabbi” Yosef Mizrachi Slams Rabbi Joseph Dweck. As someone said: Bad things for the nation are good things for the media.
Here he talks against Rabbi Dweck’s new stand on gay men: The Rasha – Wicked & Corrupted Ideology Of Reform “Rabbi” Yosef Dweck Promotes Homosexuality – more than two hours of “reactions” to a 90-minute lecture. You can clearly hear how the speaker does not even understand much of the notes that he reads compiled by someone else. We do not believe in the authenticity and correctness of the unauthorized supposedly real quotes of Rabbi Dweck’s lecture from this second-hand critique.
7. A tremendous Sephardic Rabbi, Rav Aaron Bassous, is Monday going to answer Rabbi Dweck. I don’t expect to learn anything from him there as it seems [here] that his main expertise lies in heterosexual relationships. But is would definitely be interesting to see how the learned Rabbi will hopefully properly and with grandeur (grandness) handle the scandal.
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. *
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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. *
One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. *
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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