Dear President Rivlin,
Time is short, and the hour is urgent. This will be one of the most succinct rabbinic messages you will hear. I understand you have withdrawn from the agreement you reached with the leadership of the Masorti Movement regarding the Special Needs b’nei mitzvah ceremony in Rehovot. I urge you to reconsider this decision, and to recommit your support to the original agreement. Jews around the world of all types are watching with dismay as Israel becomes Hareidistan. We need for you to stand up for Jews everywhere, and affirm that Israel is the democratic–and pluralistic– homeland for all Jews, of all types, anywhere. It was for this type of occasion that the great sage Hillel offered his Torah for all times:
.ובמקום שאין אנשים, השתדל להיות איש
In a place where there is no one, strive to be some one.
I’m convinced that Hillel was thinking about the time when Moses saw an Egyptian beating a slave to death. He looked here and there, and seeing no one, he stepped up to be someone. It turned out to be a transformative moment not just for him, but for the Jewish people, and eventually even the course of human history.
We’re not asking you to be the sainted Hillel, or the great prophet Moses. But we recognize that you can influence the course of Israel, Judaism, and even world history. We’re asking that you just step up and be some one who can lead by example. Some one who can show Israel that it is the inspiration of all the Jews who love her, of all types, in all lands.
The State of Israel and the Jewish people deserve better than this story suggests so far. We are hoping that you can help make it so. It’s time for you to step up and be some one Mr. President
,בברכת שלום…על כל ישראל
הרב דוד גרינספון