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Föräldrarna till barnen som går  på Aaron Isaac Skola, AIS, (eller Rellen som vi sa förr i tiden) har skrivit följande fina brev till församlingen för att uttrycka sitt stöd för rabbin David Lazar. Sammanfattningsvis menar föräldrarna att Lazars arbete utgör en ” important contribution to our Jewish lives”.

Ser fram emot att församlingens svar.

Tycker att brevet är en bra idé som fler gärna kan ta efter. Här följer brevet:

”Detta brev kommer från familjerna vid Aaron Isaacs Skola (AIS). Vi skriver för att stödja rabbin Lazar och hans arbete för AIS.Familjerna vid AIS är församlingsmedlemmar som är engagerade i sina barns judiska utbildning. AIS är en viktig plats för familjer som, av en rad olika anledningar, inte skickar sina barn till Hillelskolan. Vi är väldigt inblandade i vad som händer i församlingen och anser att vi är en viktig och aktiv del av den.Vi påverkas enormt av församlingens beslut angående Rabbin Lazar och vi skriver det här brevet för att dela med oss av vårt perspektiv på Rabbinens roll och inverkan på den judiska utbildningen av barnen i vår församling. Vi är medvetna om komplexiteten och svårigheterna gällande Rabbin Lazars anställning, och tror därför att vår röst, som representerar familjerna vid AIS, är nödvändig för en full utvärdering av Rabbin Lazars arbete.Rabbin Lazar har arbetat nära oss vid AIS. Hans dynamiska personlighet gör det lätt för våra barn att få kontakt med honom och han engagerar dem på en individuell nivå. Vi som föräldrar har märkt vilket resultat det har haft. Barnen tycker om att komma till AIS till stor del tack vare Rabbin Lazars karisma och värme gentemot dem.Rabbin Lazars har också fått många av oss föräldrar att känna oss välkomna i församlingen. Hans satsning på AIS har givit oss en stark känsla av att ha en mittpunkt och en plats där vi hör hemma. Hans vision för en levande judisk utbildning för barn och deras familjer har inspirerat många av oss. Genom att lyfta fram hur viktigt AIS är har rabbin Lazar givit vår grupp, familjerna, värde inom församlingen som helhet.Rabbin Lazars inblandning i våra barns judiska utbildning har också påverkat hur det känns för oss och våra barn att komma till synagogan. Den personliga relationen som våra barn har med Rabbin Lazar medför att när barnen känner sig hemma där. Dessutom innebär den ökade närvaron av unga familjer i synagogan också en starkare relation mellan familjerna. Detta har bidragit till en ovärderlig känsla av samvaro och tillhörighet. Vi tror helhjärtat att Rabbin Lazar har lyckats öppna synagogan för unga familjer och givit oss en anledning att återvända.Vi ser fram emot en öppen diskussion om Rabbin Lazars arbete iförsamlingen i allmänhet och med familjer såsom våra i synnerhet. Vi hoppas uppriktigt att en lösning kan nås så att Rabbin Lazar kan stanna i Stockholm och fortsätta bidra till vårt judiska liv.”

”This letter represents the families of Aaron Isaacs Skola (AIS). We are writing in support of Rabbi Lazar and of his work for AIS.

The families of AIS are members of the community who are committed to the Jewish education of their children. AIS is an important venue for families such as ours who do not, for a variety of reasons, send our children to Hillelskolan. We are greatly engaged with the happenings in our community and consider ourselves to be an important and active part of it.

For this reason, we are greatly affected by recent events and decisions regarding Rabbi Lazar. We write this letter in an effort to share our perspective on Rabbi Lazar’s role and impact on the Jewish education of children in our community. We recognize the complexities and difficulties that relate to Rabbi Lazar’s employment and therefore believe that our input, as families of AIS, is crucial for an evaluation of Rabbi Lazar’s work.

Rabbi Lazar has worked closely with us at AIS. Rabbi Lazar’s dynamic personality makes it easy for our children to connect with him and he engages with them on an individual level. We, as parents, have noticed the effect this has had on our children. They enjoy coming to AIS in no small measure because of Rabbi Lazar’s charisma and warmth towards them.

In addition, Rabbi Lazar has made many of us, parents, feel welcomed in the community. His investment in AIS has given us a strong sense of having a center and place to which we belong. His vision for a vibrant Jewish education for children and their families has inspired many of us to attend AIS regularly. By recognizing the importance of AIS, Rabbi Lazar has given our group, families, value within the larger community.

Rabbi Lazar’s involvement in the Jewish education of our children has also had an impact on the relation we, and our children, have toward going to shul. The personal relationship that our children have with Rabbi Lazar has meant that when the children come to shul they feel at home. In addition, as the presence of young families at shul has grown, so have the relationship among families grown. This has increased an invaluable sense of community and belonging. We strongly believe that Rabbi Lazar has succeeded in opening up the synagogue to young families and has given us a reason to come back.

We look forward to an open discussion about Rabbi Lazar’s work in our community, in general, and with families such as ours, in particular. We sincerely hope that a solution can be found to keep Rabbi Lazar in Stockholm so that he can continue his important contribution to our Jewish lives.”

Annonser

Lena Einhorn har bett mig plocka bort hennes klagomejl till SR-programmet Människor och Tro, med hänvisning till att det var ett privat brev.

BH, 1 maj 2013

The dismissal of Sweden’s unorthodox Conservative rabbi creates a media row in one of the world’s most secular cultures

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ April 22, 2013

JTA — Having grown up in a devoutly Christian home, Irene Lopez would probably not be raising her daughter Jewish if not for David Lazar, the charismatic rabbi of the Great Synagogue of Stockholm.

Lopez and her Jewish husband, Samuel Sjoblom, are among the Swedes who were drawn to the Great Synagogue in recent years by the magnetic, if occasionally prickly, personality of Lazar, the energetic Israeli-American who has held the position since 2010.

“My decision to convert my daughter was very much inspired by David, who showed me with his outreach to gays and other minorities that being Jewish isn’t instead of anything else you are,” said Lopez, 33, a filmmaker and mother to Saskia Sjoblom Lopez, who recently turned 1.

Yet despite the pull that Lazar, 55, exerts on Jews and non-Jews in ultra-liberal Sweden — he was named heterosexual of the year in 2012 by a local gay magazine — the Jewish Community of Stockholm announced this week that it would replace Lazar following the failure of contract renewal talks.

Community officials said they offered Lazar a three-year extension but refused his demand for tenure, citing complaints about his “confrontational” style. Lazar told JTA he will leave in August because he needs “job security.”

What began as mundane negotiations between a colorful rabbi and his employers has escalated into a full-scale media row, with stories in Sweden’s major media and petitions on Lazar’s behalf signed by hundreds of Jews and non-Jews, some of whom believe Lazar’s departure is a result of his liberalism. Community leaders deny this, citing instead his behavior and “unwillingness to listen” — an issue they say is crucial to the consensus-driven model of Stockholm’s centralized Jewish community.

“A rabbi without enemies is not a rabbi,” Lazar told Sweden Radio in an interview Thursday in which he portrayed his falling-out with the community as a Euro-American culture clash.

In an earlier interview, Lazar was less cavalier.

‘There are people for whom I don’t represent their ideal in a rabbi’
“There are people for whom I don’t represent their ideal in a rabbi,” he said. “Some of them have told me, most of them have not. But I can see in people’s reactions and in their eyes.”

A portly man who sports a graying ponytail, Lazar is well versed in controversy. In 2001, shortly before he became rabbi of Tel Aviv’s Tiferet Shalom synagogue, he became the first Israeli clergyman to officiate at a gay wedding. It would be more than a decade before the Conservative movement, which ordained Lazar in 1983, would formally sanction gay unions.

Asked by a reporter whether he still qualified as a Conservative rabbi, Lazar grew testy and began listing his movement credentials before mockingly asking, “Now you tell me, am I?”

Lazar, a Los Angeles native, has limited interest in guidelines.

“Religion for the sake of religion is not interesting,” he once told an interviewer. “I don’t think God cares. God cares that we treat each other in the most loving way possible to create a better world.”

‘God cares that we treat each other in the most loving way possible to create a better world’
Such sentiments struck a chord in Sweden, one of the world’s most secular cultures and one in which some Jews feel it’s “important to show they’re not extremists or fanatics,” according to Stockholm’s Orthodox chief rabbi, Meir Horden, also is an American-Israeli.

Swedish Jews had their first taste of Lazar in 2009 when he delivered a lecture at the annual Limmud Stockholm learning event. Alf Levy, a former community president, recommended hiring Lazar after hearing him speak.

But Levy has since stopped coming to the Great Synagogue because of Lazar’s “arrogance.”

“The weekly Jewish learning sessions, which used to be dialogue based, became a monologue under David,” he said. “When someone mentioned this, David got furious, sneered at him and ignored him.”

While Lazar does not lack for defenders — The David Lazar Unofficial Fanclub, a Facebook group, has 255 members — no one contests that his style is unorthodox. He has invited a gospel choir to perform at Friday night services and made liturgical changes, like replacing the line in the mourner’s prayer to mention “all of humanity” instead of only the “people of Israel.”

What Lazar lacks in diplomatic skills, he makes up for in warmth, openness and availability, says Lopez, who is making a documentary about the rabbi. A recent interview was conducted over a glass of brandy at his study at 1 a.m., at the end of one of Lazar’s frequent 15-hour work days.

At Stockholm’s Pride Park, Lazar casually sat down on the wooden floor of the speaker’s pavilion for a discussion about ‘Archetypical Queers in Torah’
He spent one of those workdays last year at Stockholm’s Pride Park, a gay pride event, where he casually sat down on the wooden floor of the speaker’s pavilion for a discussion about “Archetypical Queers in Torah.” Lazar also led the first official Jewish delegation to Sweden’s gay pride parade. This summer he will officiate at Sweden’s first gay Jewish marriage.

Lazar has integrated music into services in the Stockholm synagogue, sometimes banging on an African drum. Last year he started a sermon to a Christian group by inviting them “to get out of your Swedish bodies and into your souls” and sing along to a hasidic melody.

But sometimes with Lazar, politics eclipse the music. In January, he invited Behrang Miri, a rapper of Iranian descent, to attend a musical Sabbath service. Miri was a supporter of the May 2010 attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip — a clash between a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, and Israeli commandos resulted in nine deaths — and his invitation ruffled some Jewish feathers.

It was emblematic of the way Lazar, with his outspokenness and occasional heedlessness, has run afoul of some Swedish Jews, united in a communal umbrella known as an “einheitsgemeinde,” or unified community. As the community’s only non-Orthodox rabbi, critics say Lazar must be broadly acceptable if he is to effect change in a harmonious way.

‘People here have nowhere else to go’
“People here have nowhere else to go,” said Thomas Bab, the Stockholm Jewish community’s administrative director.

But to his defenders, some of whom have publicly signed petitions urging the board to yield to Lazar’s terms, such outspokenness is necessary in a country where only a fraction of the population regularly attends religious services.

“People were leaving before he came,” said Bernt Hermele, a synagogue caretaker. “We need a person like David for our community to stay relevant.”

(Källa: http://www.timesofisrael.com)

Uttalande! David Lazar och Församlingen

”David Lazar är en liberal kraft och engagerad i många frågor som är centrala för våra väljare.

Liberal Judendom uppmanar församlingens ledning och David Lazar att verka för att nya överläggningar kommer till stånd i syfte att uppnå en för båda parter godtagbar överenskommelse.”

Styrelsen

April 18, 2013

David Lazar är rabbin i judiska församlingen i Stockholm och har bland annat gjort sig känd för sina alternativa musikgudstjänster och sitt engagemang i HBTQ-frågor. Han har lockat många nya besökare till synagogan, både troende och icke-troende. Förra veckan meddelade judiska församlingen att David Lazar inte kommer erbjudas fast anställning efter tre år som provanställd. Något som har blottat en spricka i judiska församlingen.

 

Klicka på länken för att lyssna på reportaget:

http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=416&artikel=5508292

Alf Levy, who was on the search committee that recruited Lazar, said he has “started going less and less to synagogue on Shabbat because of Lazar’s attitude.” He added, “I can live with many tweaks to religion, but his personality made me very upset: He has constantly sought conflict.”

Klicka på länken för hela storyn i JTA:

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2013/04/17/3124466/stockholm-jewish-community-to-replace-conservative-rabbi-david-lazar

By Nathalie Rothschild

”Who the hell doesn’t want dialogue?” said Posner-Korosi. ”But do you have to have it during a service?”

The dynamic and progressive rabbi David Lazar attracted new crowds but struggled to get along with established community members.

The Jewish Community of Stockholm and the leader of its largest community, David Lazar, are parting ways after failing to agree on terms for a new employment contract. The news last week stirred up heated debate in the community and beyond, prompting Facebook protest campaigns and a petition which has attracted nearly 400 signatories, with some suggesting Lazar was fired because he is too progressive for the community. But one prominent Swedish-Jewish academic withdrew his name from the petition, saying it had attracted people with ”no Jewish connection whatsoever who are also ideological Israel-haters.”

The 55-year-old, U.S.-born Lazar lived in Israel for over 30 years before joining the Stockholm community in 2010, with his wife Sascha. Ordained as a Conservative rabbi, he is a vocal proponent of LGBT rights and interfaith dialogue and was among the first rabbis to officiate gay weddings in Israel. In Sweden, Lazar has attracted new crowds to the community and to services at Stockholm’s Great Synagogue. His supporters outside of the community have also praised him for his involvement in social justice issues and intercultural dialogue.

Yet his detractors say Lazar has also been a divisive force. During his three-year tenure, they say, the community has experienced turmoil and infighting, with other leaders in the community complaining that he is not a ”team player.”

Community representatives told Haaretz that Lazar has focused disproportionally on a small group of people and on high-profile issues while alienating veteran members and neglecting some key, but less glamorous, aspects of his job as a rabbi, like visiting the elderly and overseeing funerals.

”I have great respect for David Lazar,” Lena Posner-Korosi, president of the Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden, told Haaretz. ”He is extremely charismatic and has put the Jewish community on the map in contexts that I have not reached and that is good for the Jews in Sweden…But we didn’t hire a spokesman or an activist, we hired a rabbi.”

Lazar, who has five daughters – three in Israel and two in California – first came to Stockholm to speak at a Limmud conference in 2009. At the time, the community had been trying to recruit a rabbi for three years. Still, Jewish life was thriving culturally and socially at institutions like the Jewish museum, theatre and film festival and at the Jewish school, summer camp and youth center. But a majority of the 4,500 members do not identify as religious and rarely set foot in the Conservative Great Synagogue or in the city’s two Orthodox synagogues.

With the new rabbi came initiatives like Torah Treks, which are nature walks led by Lazar, and ”intimate, meditative, musical kabbalat Shabbat services,” where chairs are arranged in a semi-circle and guest musicians play classical, folk or rock music. Sometimes Lazar himself plays an African drum and occasionally there are long moments of silence. Lazar also initiated official Jewish community delegations in the Stockholm Gay Pride parade.

The Stockholm community had never experienced anything quite like it and now speculations are rife that Lazar’s shake-up was too much to bear for the community leadership.

Korosi-Posner categorically denies this. She told Haaretz that the community has been at the forefront of defending gay marriage in Sweden and has long engaged in intercultural dialogue.

Lazar himself is pleased with the work he has done in Sweden. ”My feeling is that the vast majority of the Jewish community of Stockholm is quite happy with the way I’m being a rabbi,” he told Haaretz. But he also admitted that there have been some challenges.

”The opposition I’ve found is two-fold,” he said. ”First, it’s among the more traditional parts of the community. For them, a successful liberal rabbi is a challenge…They don’t tell it to my face. I hear it second-hand. The second type of opposition is from people who tell me they are unhappy with specific changes I’ve brought to the Great Synagogue. To my mind, they are very slight changes. To their mind they are changes and therefore challenging.”

As examples, Lazar mentioned that he discourages calling Cohens and Levis to the Torah for the first two aliyot since ”it’s not egalitarian,” and that he explains Torah readings in English during services and that he occasionally replaces formal sermons with study sessions.

But Posner-Korosi said the real problem is that Lazar ”creates unnecessary conflicts” by making decisions without consulting the community he has been hired to represent.

Lazar disagrees. ”I see it very differently,” he said. ”I am constantly consulting my colleagues – the other employees of the Jewish Community – as well as the lay people who are committed to the growth of the Great Synagogue.”

In January, Lazar invited Iranian-born hip-hop artist Behrang Miri as a guest speaker at the musical kabbalat Shabbat service. Miri, a self-described secular Muslim, competed to represent Sweden in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest and is a vocal supporter of the organization Ship to Gaza. He recorded the rap tune ”Ramallah, Ramallah” during a solidarity trip to Palestine.

”We have invited rapper and social activist Behrang Miri to share with us his vision of intercultural dialogue among the youth in Sweden,” Lazar explained on Facebook.

Some thought this was a positive gesture, but others were outraged.

”Who the hell doesn’t want dialogue?” said Posner-Korosi. ”But do you have to have it during a service?”

In a statement announcing the termination of Lazar’s tenure, the Jewish Community said it would begin the process of recruiting a new rabbi as soon as possible. But considering it took three years to fill the position last time it may take a while before Stockholm gets a replacement.

Alf Levy, a former president of the Stockholm Jewish Community who was part of the committee that recruited Lazar, said that the geographical location and language barriers are two of the biggest challenges for Sweden when it comes to recruiting rabbis.

But Levy added that Sweden is not alone in this. ”Communities across Europe are finding it hard to recruit Masorti [traditional] rabbis these days,” he said. ”There are just not that many around and they have their communities already so it is not easy to convince them to leave everything behind and come here.”

Eli Gondor, the academic who withdrew his name from the petition, stressed that he would like Lazar to stay but that Jewish leadership is a matter for the community to resolve on its own.

”This campaign [fighting Lazar’s departure] has gone overboard and in the wrong direction,” he said. ”There are those who simply have nothing to do with this who have suddenly rushed to get involved in a matter they do not understand although they would never dream of telling a Christian community how to deal with its priest or a Muslim community how to deal with its imam.”

As for Lazar, he told Haaretz that, ”In every situation when you change what has been the norm you have the potential of attracting new people but also the danger of alienating those who have been coming all along…The challenge is how do you avoid that? In the end, I think it needs to be left up to the rabbi and the committee that deals with these kinds of things to decide where the line is drawn.”

Lazar is still hoping to keep his position in the Stockholm community, which he says he has grown very fond of.

”Sascha and I would really like to stay,” he said. ”We’re keeping the door open.”

Correction: The original version of this story referred to David Lazar as chief rabbi of Stockholm.  This was amended on the day of publication.

(Källa: Haaretz 17 april 2013)