'How can the rabbi dishonor the Holy Scriptures within a house of study?' Rabbi Stav
Photo: Jorge Novominsky
Rabbi David Stav, chairman of the Tzohar rabbinical organization and chief rabbi of Shoham, angered the ultra-Orthodox public last week by appearing in a humorous Purim video wearing a blonde wig.
The clip, which is more than four minutes long, also shows women without a head cover. In one of the segments, Rabbi Stav is seen standing inside a house of study with the blonde wig on his head and an open holy book.
"It's unthinkable that the rabbi would dishonor the Holy Scriptures within a house of study," said a source in the haredi sector.
Ahead of Purim, one of leading Orthodox Lithuanian rabbis rules it is inappropriate to change child's gender as part of costume as it should remain the way God created it.
The video, which was posted on YouTube, drew dozens of angry comments. "Rabbi Ovadia ruled that a man must not dress up as a woman, but Rabbi Stav doesn't care about that," one person wrote.
Stav's associates said in response that the rabbi had tried to come up with a unique way to introduce his synagogue to the community members and the rest of Shoham's residents, and maybe even get them to join it.
They explained that moderate high school yeshivot had a years-long tradition in which the yeshiva rabbis and teachers dress up during the month of Adar. The activities throughout the month include special lessons in which the students and educational reverse roles, and sports competitions between the teachers and students.
In the video, Rabbi Stav dresses up as other figures as well, including a haredi, a moderate religious Jew and a secular in the synagogue, in a bid to present his community to the viewers and imply that his religious way respects all parts of society.
Rabbi Stav, who in 2013 run for the position of Israel's Ashkenazi chief rabbi but lost to Rabbi David Lau, has always been considered relatively moderate. His statements that issues like conversion, marriage and kashrut should be made easier for the Israeli public have sparked fury among the haredim, who often refer to him as "ungodly."