Boston Area Rabbi Apologizes for Permitting Militants to Use Pulpit for Denunciation

A Newton rabbi has apologized for lending his pulpit to a group of black and white militants at a Friday evening service who used it for a personal attack on a Jewish realtor in Boston whose practices they condemned. Rabbi Samuel Chiel, of Temple Emanuel, said a group of 60-70 persons, black and white men and women, entered the temple as he began his sermon and seated themselves. The group identified itself as “the Squatters” and asked for permission to speak, which Rabbi Chiel granted. After speaking, they left quietly.

Rabbi Chiel said he had no way of knowing in advance that their remarks would be directed against an individual without his having an opportunity to respond. “Although the visit was carried out in a very orderly fashion, it was an unsettling experience for all of us who were there,” Rabbi Chiel said, according to the Boston Jewish Advocate.

The rabbi explained that in anticipation of a possible intrusion by militants, he had discussed the proper tactics to meet it with the officers and board of trustees of Temple Emanuel and decided to follow guidelines laid down by the Synagogue Council of America and the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council. Those bodies have determined that the best means to handle an intrusion by militants is to let them speak and then leave peacefully.

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