Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School joins the many rabbis, government officials, and institutions in Israel in rejecting the hurtful and unacceptable words of Rabbi Yigal Levenstein of the B’nai David Preparatory Seminary in Eli. In an act unbecoming of a leader preparing young Jewish men to serve in the IDF, Rabbi Levenstein lashed out both at the LGBT community, calling them perverted, and at the Reform community, which he called a Christian denomination.
From its inception, our Yeshiva has stood for inclusiveness, standing with the State of Israel and Jews everywhere to promote the unity of the Jewish people and the importance of learning from all Jews out of a deep sense of love for our fellow Jews and respect for our mutual covenantal relationship with God and Torah. Ahavat yisrael, the commandment to love our fellow Jew, does not come with qualifiers or limitations.
As Israel’s Minister of Education Naftali Bennett wrote, “Jewish law is not meant to be a divisive tool … One cannot denigrate an entire community and take shelter behind Jewish law.” On the contrary, Israel and the IDF have always been models for the difficult but critical task of unifying Jews of diverse backgrounds and origins, of advocating for respect for different religious beliefs and practices, and of treating people with different sexual orientations with the equality they deserve.
We are heartened by the overwhelming message coming from so many corners of the Jewish world that we will not allow narrow-minded partisans to drive us from our commitment to the Jewish people as an am echad.