IN THE MEDIA

Violations by a few shameful

Sep 9, 2021 | Colin Rubenstein

Img 0586 002

Herald Sun – 9 September 2021

THE vast majority of the Australian Jewish community is angry and appalled at the behaviour of those attending the synagogue in Ripponlea on Tuesday. Holding group religious services in defiance of Covid-19 rules, confronting police and even reportedly assaulting a photographer – all this alleged behaviour is completely deplorable.

All but a handful of Jewish Australians have been following Covid public health directions. There is nothing in Judaism that supports acting as the tiny minority did – to the contrary, protecting the physical health of the community is a high priority. Those in the tiny minority who acted this way have no support outside their enclave.

Jewish religious law has an overriding principle known as pikuach nefesh (“watching over a soul”) which says saving human lives supersedes virtually all other obligations and commandments.

It’s not always easy. Tuesday was Rosh Hashana – the Jewish New Year. Unlike the secular new year, Rosh Hashana is not an occasion just for celebration and parties, but a solemn religious holiday, one of the holiest in the Jewish calendar.

For the past two years, most of Melbourne’s religious Jewish congregations have compromised on the group prayer so intrinsic to this holy time by replacing synagogue services with Zoom services (held prior to the holiday itself for Orthodox Jews, who don’t use electronic devices on holy days) or praying privately. Instead of gathering to listen to the shofar, the traditional ram’s horn blown on New Year, some rabbis were granted health department permission to blow it for a very short time along their congregation’s exercise route.

For more than 2000 years, Jewish teachings have incorporated the rule that “the law of the land is the law” for you. This means that obedience to the law of the country in which any community of Jews lives is a religiously mandated obligation for them and disobedience a transgression against Jewish and civil law.

It is hard to fathom why the individuals in Ripponlea would violate core Jewish law concepts – breaking both Australian law and risking people’s lives, not only their own, in the midst of a pandemic.

For the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community, the behaviour at Ripponlea is condemned as indefensible and appalling on both these grounds.

Similarly, there is unequivocal support for legitimate public health regulations being applied equally to all communities and areas and for police efforts to close down illegal behaviour anywhere it is occurring.

DR COLIN RUBENSTEIN IS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE AUSTRALIAN/ISRAEL & JEWISH AFFAIRS COUNCIL

RELATED ARTICLES


Image: Wikimedia Commons

University of Melbourne exposes BDS’s lies and extremism

May 18, 2022 | Featured, In the media
The Climate 200-funded candidates (clockwise from top left) Zoe Daniel, Andrew Wilkie, Kylea Tink and Allegra Spender

Climate of concern over independent candidates

May 12, 2022 | Featured, In the media
(Source: ABC)

The ABC cannot be allowed to bury its report into complaints handling until after the election

May 9, 2022 | Featured, In the media
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Universities must not allow anti-semitism to stand

May 6, 2022 | Featured, In the media
Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi with a Palestinian keffiyeh in parliament, May 2021. (source: Twitter)

Pre-election extremism from the Greens

Apr 29, 2022 | Featured, Fresh AIR, In the media
Image: Israel's Government Press Office

An unprecedented summit highlights a changing Middle East

Apr 27, 2022 | Featured, In the media

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

Anthony Albanese is sworn in as Australia's new Prime Minister (source: Twitter)

AIJAC congratulates new PM Albanese, wishes his government every success

Image: Wikimedia Commons

University of Melbourne exposes BDS’s lies and extremism

Image: Shutterstock

AIJAC welcomes ABC inquiry outcome, calls for further consideration of external complaints body

Shireen Abu Akleh

Tragedy of journalist’s death exploited to intensify conflict

Australian Citizen's Party head Craig Isherwood (Screenshot)

Laughing all the way to the postal bank: The LaRouchites in the 2022 Election

Anthony Albanese is sworn in as Australia's new Prime Minister (source: Twitter)

AIJAC congratulates new PM Albanese, wishes his government every success

Image: Wikimedia Commons

University of Melbourne exposes BDS’s lies and extremism

Image: Shutterstock

AIJAC welcomes ABC inquiry outcome, calls for further consideration of external complaints body

Shireen Abu Akleh

Tragedy of journalist’s death exploited to intensify conflict

Australian Citizen's Party head Craig Isherwood (Screenshot)

Laughing all the way to the postal bank: The LaRouchites in the 2022 Election

SORT BY TOPICS