Chabad’s Israel Tightrope


Chabad rabbis denounce one of their own for lighting torch at Israel Independence Day ceremony

A group of Chabad rabbis in Israel this week signed a letter denouncing one of their own for lighting a torch in the State of Israel’s official Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration.

While Chabad has a strong presence in Israel, the movement has complicated relationship with modern political Zionism that varies among its different factions, from refusing to recognize the state to serving in the army.

This year, Israeli officials invited Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg, whose daughter was the Chabad rebbitzen killed in the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008, to light one of twelve torches Monday evening at the Mount Herzl military cemetery. The candle lighting is part of an annual ceremony that separates Remembrance Day from Independence Day. Rosenberg, who lives in Israel, is raising his grandson, Moishe, who survived the attack.

The Chabad Rabbinic Court itself did not sign the letter, and a spokesman at Chabad international headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, said the organization was not involved in the decision [emphasis added].