Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the head of the Union for Reform Judaism is a fraud, the man keeps on making statements about Israel in General and Jerusalem that he has no right to make without first explaining that the Reform Movement does not have the same relationship to Israel as much of the rest of Judaism. For example two years ago he called for Israel to divide Jerusalem:
The president of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, promised Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week that his movement would support the government if a peace treaty with the Palestinians is reached, including concessions in Jerusalem. Rabbi Yoffie told Haaretz that if the Israeli right wing mobilizes its supporters in the United States against such an agreement, the Reform Movement would respond in kind.
This week, he did it again, He issued a call for Israel to not allow any more Jews to move into East Jerusalem during remarks to rabbis and members of URJ’s board of trustees on Thursday:
Jerusalem, however, poses different issues. The Union for Reform Judaism, like most American Jewish organizations, supports a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. This means that we believe housing units constructed in Jerusalem by Israel are not settlements and they are not illegal. But a great many things that are legal are not prudent or wise – and building in Arab sections of Jerusalem in the current political climate is one of those things.
This decision to build in eastern Jerusalem is one that is not supported by any Israeli ally, including the United States and Canada. I see no reason why Israel should renounce her claim to all of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital, or her right to build anywhere within Jerusalem’s borders. But there are many reasons why Israel should consider a temporary moratorium on all such building. Such a step would strengthen relations with the United States at a moment when those relations have been frayed; it would be greeted enthusiastically by other strong and loyal allies, such as Canada, that were angered by Israel’s recent action; it would demonstrate a firm commitment on Israel’s part to the American-sponsored peace negotiations; and it would, potentially, breathe life into those negotiations and turn the attention back to where it is most needed — moving forward to a lasting, meaningful peace. Nothing should divert us from this goal.
If a peace agreement becomes a real, viable possibility, Israel will likely be prepared and willing to compromise in a fundamental way on Jerusalem. We saw this a decade ago when Israelis, under Prime Minister Ehud Barak, faced the very real possibility of peace in the near future and were willing to make far-reaching concessions. If peace were truly to become possible, we would expect this to happen again — but first, peace talks must begin.
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I am not saying that Eric Yoffi does not have the right to his own opinion or speak his own mind publicly, that is not the Issue. When he says that Israel should stop building in parts of Jerusalem as Rabbi Eric Yoffi, head of the Reform movement he becomes a propaganda tool. All the Israel haters will be saying, “See, the number one guy in the largest American Jewish Synagogue movement is telling Israel to ban any more Jews from moving into East Jerusalem.”
What Yoffi knows but doesn’t tell people, is Reform Judaism does NOT have the ties to Jerusalem that the other branches do. They see Jerusalem as a place where, you can learn about tradition, but according to the theology of the Reform movement it does not have the same religious significance as the Conservative and Orthodox movements, for example. Reform theology does not believe there will be a Third Temple in Jerusalem. That’s why Reform synagogues are called Temples, something you will never see a Conservative, or Orthodox Shul called.
Conservative and Orthodox Jews consider Jerusalem to be the heart of Judaism, Reform theology does not. Many Reform “temples”do not face Jerusalem when they pray, all Conservative and Orthodox Shuls do. Reform Judaism has removed all direct references to the Temple in their prayer books (although some indirect or ambiguous references remain such as “Happy are those who dwell in your House”, Psalm 84:5).
When Eric Yoffi speaks as Rabbi Yoffi he is speaking as the head of a movement that looks at Jerusalem as a museum that you fly El Al to go see. To the rest of the Jewish people Jerusalem was the heart of our people, yesterday, as it remains today and will be, tomorrow.