Reform Jews Are 'Literally Idolaters,' Says Leading Shas Rabbi

Harsh attack by Rabbi David Yosef follows increasing legitimization of the Reform movement in Israel.

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Rabbi David Yosef of Shas
Rabbi David Yosef of ShasCredit: Lior Mizrachi

The Reform Movement is "not Jewish" and its members are "literally idolaters," prominent Rabbi David Yosef said during his weekly synagogue lesson recently, according to the Arutz Sheva website.

Yosef, son of the late, revered Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, is a member of the Shas Council of Torah Sages.

His remarks come as the Reform movement appears to be gaining greater legitimacy in Israel, exemplified by a government decision to open a non-Orthodox prayer space at the Western Wall.

"Reform is not secular," Yosef said. "A secular person does not know what the Torah is – unfortunately, it was never taught to him and he has never learned – so we must pray for his repentance."

"But Reform is a collaboration with idolatry. Reform are idolaters – simply and literally."

"I do not know why we ignore this today" Yosef continued. "The Reform are the biggest fighters against Zionism. They do not believe in the coming of the messiah. For generations they erased any mention of Zion and Jerusalem in their prayer books.

"For years they preached assimilation, to be like the Gentiles; they built their synagogues to look like churches; they try to 'be a Jew at home and a (regular) person in public.' These are such terrible words.”

Yosef also ridiculed the High Court’s decision to allow the Reform to use religious baths (mikvehs) operated by religious councils.

"From where do they even know what a mikveh is?" he asked. "A mikveh is a halakhic concept. Go immerse yourself in the bath; go to your mixed swimming pools. It is ridiculous. They are doing everything out of spite."

Yosef claimed that Reform Jews wanted to embed their “impure prayers” in the Western Wall.

"It will not happen!" he exclaimed "We will not rest and we will fight for it, and you will see that with God's help we will win, they will not get the Kotel! The Kotel is a holy place, it is ours.”

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