The head of the UK’s Sephardi community has issued an unprecedented apology after his retweet of an entry by 17th Century diarist, Samuel Pepys, resulted in “intimations of vulgarity”.
Rabbi Joseph Dweck, senior rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community, said it was not “fitting of my office” to comment on one particular entry detailing that Pepys had “cavorted with a woman who wasn’t his wife.”
In retweeting the entry, Rabbi Dweck added, “some things never change”.
Over a series of posts written last night, Rabbi Dweck explained: “I recently retweeted a tweet that was from the diary of Samuel Pepys – an 17th century man who kept elaborate diaries.
“He is well known in the S&P community for writing about a visit he made to the S&P synagogue in the City of London during his time describing simhat Torah.
“One of the entries recently tweeted…was an account in which he writes in Spanish that he cavorted with a woman who wasn’t his wife.
“I retweeted it saying with disappointment that ‘some things never change’, meaning to say that all too often those who seem to be virtuous fall to base vices.
“It is not fitting of my office. I deeply apologise and regret having done so. Especially knowing that I remain under high scrutiny & criticism from detractors. My intention was not to publicise immorality, G-d forbid. But rather to condemn it.
“Although I meant it to point out the poor virtue of the man. I recognise that it was not appropriate for me to tweet intimations of vulgarity to the public.”
Rabbi Dweck courted controversy among Orthodox leaders last year following a lecture on homosexuality, in which he said the LGBT revolution had been a “fantastic” development for humanity.
He also said that while there was a prohibition on sex, there were still ways in which two men could express their love for one another.
Following an investigation by his colleagues, Rabbi Dweck was asked to step down from the Sephardi Beth Din, but retained his position as senior rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community.
Jewish News has contacted Rabbi Dweck for comment.