Friday, May 26, 2006

Is the Community Entitled to Decide?

With regards to specific comments on this blog regarding the right of Rabbi Groner to choose his successor I have a number of thoughts. There has been much discussion on many different blogs about the phenomenon of nepotism throughout the Jewish world. We in Chabad do not have a monopoly on this (see this post on Mentalblog). What bothers me is that certain people say that they are quite happy to just accept the leadership that is forced on them. This is just plain ridiculous.

The Melbourne Chabad community is amongst the largest in the world outside of America and Israel. Sure London & Paris have large communities but, compared to the size of the general Jewish population, we are quite a big community. To me this means that anyone who is going to call himself the "head shaliach", Morah D'Asroh or whatever should have the support of most of Anash if they expect to function effectively. To force the community to accept a new head without consultation and consensus is foolish and shortsighted.

With regard to Rabbi Telsner it seems that, to his credit, Rabbi Groner is making an effort to get community consensus. The letter speaks to this. Whether or not Rabbi Telsner is the right person to lead this community is yet to be decided but at least we are being given a chance to "check him out". Who knows if our opinion will be considered but at least we will be able to form that opinion before he is appointed.