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Rabbi vs. Sarah Silverman

Offended by comedian's choice to use 'biblical language' and 'traditional Jewish terminology' in her pro-Obama campaign efforts, Rabbi Yaacov Rosenblatt states that her passion for politics and cursing stems from being unmarried and childless

Sarah Bauder
Published: 11.05.12, 08:26 / Israel Jewish Scene

Everyone in the Jewish community, or North America for that matter, is familiar with Sarah Silverman’s pro-Obama political viral videos and accompanying websites.

 

In 2008, Silverman created the extremely popular "The Great Schlepp," encouraging young Jews to travel to Florida to convince their grandparents to vote for Obama.

 

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Earlier this summer, Silverman released the now-infamous plea video, asking Sheldon Adelson to withdraw his $100 million campaign donation to Mitt Romney, and instead give it to President Obama. If the billionaire agreed, she would have “scissor sex” with him.

 

Just a couple of weeks ago, Silverman released her newest pro-Obama video, funded by the Jewish Council for Education and Research, entitled "Let My People Vote." The campaign criticizes the new voter ID laws that could be implemented in several states for the 2012 election.

 

The video and accompanying website feature the offensive humor Silverman is known for, coupled with Jewish self-referencing and countless expletives.

 

Although Silverman is considered over-the-top and “uncensored” at times, the Jewish community is generally proud of her accomplishments and encourages her political involvement as it gets the younger demographic interested in current social and world issues. Orthodox Rabbi Yaacov Rosenblatt would have to disagree.

 

The Jewish Press published “An Open Letter to Sarah Silverman” written by Rabbi Rosenblatt. The rabbi was offended by Silverman’s choice to use “Biblical language” and “traditional Jewish terminology” in her campaign efforts, and believes her passion for politics is a direct result of being unmarried and childless.

 

Rabbi Rosenblatt wrote in his letter:

 

“You have made a career making public that which is private, making crude that which is intimate, making sensual that which is spiritual. You have experienced what traditional Judaism taught long ago: When you make sex a public thing it loses its potency. When the whisper is replaced with a shout there is no magic to speak about. And, in my opinion, Sarah, that is why you have had trouble forging a permanent relationship – the most basic desire of the feminine soul.

 

'Your culture may be Jewish, but your mind is not'

"Human beings have many acquaintances and fewer friends, but only one spouse. Judaism celebrates the monogamous, intimate relationship with a spouse as the prototype of the intimate relationship with God. Marriage, in Judaism, is holy. Family, in Judaism, is celebrated. But for you, nothing is holy; in your world, nothing is permanent. Your ideology is secular. Your culture may be Jewish, but your mind is not.

 

"I think you have latched on to politics because you are searching for something to build. There is only so much pulling down one can do without feeling utterly destructive. You want to fight for a value so you take your belief – secularism – and promote it. As an Orthodox rabbi, I disagree with just about everything you say, but respect your right to say it. All I ask, respectfully, is that you not use traditional Jewish terminology in your efforts. Because doing so is a lie.

 

"Nothing you say or stand for, Sarah, from your sickening sexual proposal to a Republican donor to your equally vulgar tweet to Mitt Romney, has the slightest thing to do with the most basic of tenets which Judaism has taught the world – that the monogamous relationship is the most meaningful one and that a happy marriage is the key to wholesomeness.

 

"You are driven. You are passionate. I pray that you channel your drive and direct your passion to something positive, something that will make you a better and more positive person, something that will allow you to touch eternity and truly impact the world forever. I pray that you pursue marriage and, if you are so blessed, raise children.”

 

Although Silverman should not have to defend herself in any way for being unmarried or childless, she has mentioned on several occasions that she refuses to wed until gay marriage is legal, and she doesn’t want to have children because depression runs in her family.

 

After this piece was published, however, Silverman’s father Donald immediately came to his daughter’s defense in the Comments section, telling the rabbi not to “f*** with his family”.

 

“Hey Rabbi Idiot: Is your wife allowed to go to a minion or sit at the front if (sic) a bus or choose between abortion or birth... Check your wonderful bible and learn about your cruel god from a book you believe in literally,” Donald Silverman wrote.

 

He continued with several other comments, featuring many expletives, pointing out his family’s strong connection to Judaism, most notably his eldest daughter, Susan Silverman, who is a Reform rabbi in Israel and her husband, Yosef Abramowitz, who is a solar energy-pioneer.

 

Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life  

 

 

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