From a report by Roberto Loiederman of JewishJournal.com: “This has not been a good year for the Jewish community. It seems like not a day went by without hearing of another scandal involving members of the Orthodox community.” These were the words of welcome offered in an agenda booklet for the Orthodox Union’s (OU) West Coast Torah Convention, titled “Recalibrating Our Moral and Ethical Compass,” held Dec. 24-27 in Los Angeles.
“What defines a Jew?” Rabbi Steven Weil, the new national executive vice president of the OU, asked in a fiery speech at the convention’s final plenary session, held at Young Israel of Century City. “It’s the practical application of our theology,” he responded to his own question. “How we engage in business.”
“We have no right to sell our soul. We have no right to put names of donors on yeshivas, names of people who have made their money dishonestly…. When we put the name of such a person on a yeshiva, when this is the koved [honor] that we give, then all the Torah that we teach our children, all the values that we teach our children, we can throw it all out, because bottom line, it’s the money talking. The students see those names, and they say to themselves: These are the people we are honoring, no matter how the money was made…. If we accept the money, and we put the names of those people on buildings, that act speaks loud and clear. We send that message to our children.”
Read the full article at JewishJournal.com.