ADL: Katsav should address U.S. Reform leader Yoffie as 'rabbi'
ADL chief Foxman: Whoever advised Israel's president not to use title in addressing Reform leader, erred.
WASHINGTON - Whoever advised President Moshe Katsav not to address Rabbi Eric Yoffie, leader of the Reform movement in the United States, by the title "rabbi" has erred, Anti-Defamation League head Abraham H. Foxman has told Haaretz.
The leader of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Weinreb, also thinks Katsav should address Yoffie as "Rabbi." "There are many matters in dispute between the [Orthodox] movement I represent and the Reform movement," Weinreb said, "but titles must not be an obstacle to cooperation between us."
Haaretz reported Thursday that Rabbi Yoffie - who heads the largest Jewish movement in the U.S., with some 1.5 million members - decided not to attend a reception this week at the President's Residence because Katsav has consistently refused to address him as "Rabbi."
The article referred to a television interview Katsav gave Channel 1 on Rosh Hashanah Eve, in which he explained that he was brought up to address as "rabbi" only those ordained in accordance with the lifestyle he maintains, and that the president is not obligated to recognize Reform rabbis until the State of Israel does so.
Foxman on Thursday expressed surprise at this stance, since Katsav actively nurtures ties with Jewish communities throughout the world. He expressed regret that Yoffie "had to decide not to go to the President's Residence."