(JTA) — Senior British Jewish community leaders are taking to task some haredi Orthodox Jewish leaders for publicly calling for a boycott of the upcoming Limmud conference.
In an open letter published this week in the Jewish Chronicle and elsewhere, the community leaders wrote that they “deeply regret the publication of a formal Gilui Da’at (Declaration of Opinion) by a number of Orthodox rabbis which claims that those who attend Limmud will, by implication, not be viewed favorably by God.”
The boycott call by the haredi rabbis, including the former head of the London Beth Din, Rabbi Chanoch Ehrentreu, is seen as a condemnation of new British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, whose office said he will be attending the Limmud in December. He would be the first sitting British chief rabbi to participate in Limmud, which features lectures, workshops and debates on Jewish issues.
“To seek to dissuade Orthodox rabbis and others from taking the opportunity to articulate the classic Orthodox Judaism which has sat at the heart of this community for over three centuries is a shocking failure of leadership,” said the letter, which is backed by the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Vivian Wineman.
The haredi rabbis’ letter of last week condemned anyone who attended Limmud for blurring “the distinction between authentic Judaism and pseudo-Judaism” and said attendance would “bring about tragic consequences for Anglo Jewry,” according to the Jewish Chronicle.
By virtue of his position, Mirvis is officially the head of the Orthodox United Synagogue movement.
Registration for the conference is higher than usual at this point in the registration period, with the chief rabbi’s participation believed to be one of the factors, according to the Jewish News.