An orthodox rabbi has called the head of the Spanish and Portuguese community “more poisonous than Louis Jacobs,” following his controversial lecture on male homosexuality.
Rabbi Aaron Bassous, of Beth Hamedrash Knesset Yehezkel in Golders Green, also called on the Beth Din to remove Rabbi Joseph Dweck, senior rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community, if he was found to be “unorthodox” in his views.
In the original talk, Rabbi Dweck claimed “the homosexual revolution is a fantastic development for humanity” and explained that while there was a prohibition on sex, there were still ways in which two men could express their love for one another.
Presenting an enlightened Orthodox view on the issue, he continued: “Homosexuality in society has forced us to look at how we deal with love between people of the same sex and it has reduced the taboo of me, my children and my grandchildren being able to love another human being of the same sex genuinely, to show them affection, to express love without the worry of being seen as deviant and problematic.”
But Rabbi Bassous has publicly condemned Rabbi Dweck and denounced his words as “twisted, misguided and mistaken”.
Addressing his audience on Monday night, Rabbi Bassous said that he “had no axe to grind” with his colleague, but said that they had been “misled” about him.
He revealed that previous talks given by Rabbi Dweck were “being monitored and checked out and had been found to be inappropriate in many circumstances.”
Rabbi Bassous also claimed that he was not alone in his public condemnation of Rabbi Dweck.
“I can assure him, if he hangs around much longer, there won’t be any rav or dayan not against him.”
He also compared Rabbi Dweck with Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs, who caused a stir in the late 1950s by questioning the Orthodox understanding of revelation, calling the former “more poisonous.”
Rabbi Bassous ended by calling on the Beth Din to publicly speak out about the matter.
“We, the rank and file of Anglo-Jewry, request of the Beth Din to say their views publicly on this matter. If, in their view, Rabbi Dweck is not an orthodox rabbi and does not spout orthodox view, his orthodox hat should be removed from him.”
Last week, Rabbi Dweck told Jewish News that his talk was based on traditional and widely accepted Torah and Talmudic sources.”
He added: “Nothing was said contrary to Jewish Law, nor was it a political statement of any kind.”