N.Y. shul’s rabbis ‘regret’ email praising U.N. Palestine vote

NEW YORK (JTA) — Rabbis at B’nai Jeshurun are expressing "regret" over an email sent out by the prominent New York synagogue praising the United Nations vote to elevate Palestinians to non-member state status.

The rabbis of the Manhattan synagogue sent a note Thursday to congregants saying that their email last week endorsing the U.N. action had been sent prematurely and mistakenly listed several other synagogue officials as signatories.

“While we affirm the essence of our message, we feel that it is important to share with you that through a series of unfortunate internal errors, an incomplete and unedited draft of the letter was sent out which resulted in a tone which did not reflect the complexities and uncertainties of this moment,” the rabbis, Rolando Matalon, Marcelo Bronstein and Felicia Sol, wrote in their followup email.

The rabbis also wrote that they "regret the feelings of alienation that resulted from our letter.”

The latest email was first reported by The New York Jewish Week.

The original email, sent last Friday, drew both praise and outrage from members of the nondenominational Upper West Side synagogue, which is known for its liberal politics and lively services. The email and ensuing controversy drew significant media attention, including a front-page story in The New York Times on Wednesday.

"The vote at the U.N. yesterday is a great moment for us as citizens of the world," the original email stated. "This is an opportunity to celebrate the process that allows a nation to come forward and ask for recognition. Having gained independence ourselves in this way, we are especially conscious of this."

In their followup, the three rabbis wrote that they are "passionate lovers of Israel" and are "unequivocally committed to Israel’s security, democracy and peace."

They also wrote that the original email was a letter from them and that the synagogue’s cantor, board president, executive director and director of Israel engagement were listed mistakenly as signatories.

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