Aug 16, 2009
Walking the Tightrope
On Thursday I saw an article somewhere about people complaining about Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch. the official Rav of the Holy Places of Israel and Chief Rabbi of the Kotel, that he is "haredi-izing" the kotel and other holy sites, making it less accessible to non-haredi and non-religious people, by making their stay their less comfortable by his agreeing to demands made by haredi groups.
The specific examples by the kotel we extending mechitzas out to the general plaza, along with making the womens section smaller.
On Shabbos, I was in Jerusalem in Ezras Torah down the block from where Rabbi Rabinovitch lives, and pretty much every week his opponents from Satmar protest at some point in front of his house and/or throw pashkevilim around his street right before shabbos.
The pashkevilim of this shabbos decried Rabbi Rabinovitch's attempt to "secularize" the holy sites around Israel, specifically Meron. He is forming some sort of council to decide on renovations and has applied to the Safra fund for funding as a tourist attraction. The pashkevil complains that he is secularizing it and instead of guarding it as a holy site is trying to bring non-religious people to be "tourists" there.
So, the secular don't like him because he makes things too haredi, and the haredi don't like him because he makes everything too secular.
Talk about not being able to please anybody! He has got some tough job there....