Rabbi Steinsaltz Takes on the Olympics

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Remember when all of Jewish Law was ruled by a committee of 71 judges, each of whom were able to speak 70 languages, and arbited on everything from matters of life and death to where the annual Sukkah party would be? Well, those days are back again. Venerable Rabbi Adin Even-Yisrael Steinsaltz, who translated the Talmud into Hebrew (and is writing quite a kickin’ explication of the Tanya), is the Prince of the Sanhedrin.

And, in this document, Rav Steinsaltz lays it down on behalf of the Falun Gong.

[T]he Government of the People’s Republic of China, with no due process of law, arrests large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners, interns them in labor camps, and perpetrates further violent and illegal acts against them, including murder and organ harvesting from live people – Falun Gong practitioners, all of this as a means of vengeance, punishment and repression, despite the fact that Falun Gong practitioners never acted against the Government of the People’s Republic of China in any way….

The paper further calls upon any athletes to refrain from going, and on governments to not participate in festivities:

The Court finds it appropriate to turn to the Government of the People’s Republic of China with an unequivocal demand to assure the minimum of liberties as indicated by the seven Noahide commandments, as given to Adam, to Noah and to all humanity.

All told — and especially (cue the broken record) with the lack of human rights in other Orthodox news — it’s inspiring to see rabbis standing up for human rights like this. Much less, a group of rabbis who spends more of their time deciding whether to sacrifice animals on the Temple Mount than to, say, protesting the Olympic Torch run.

No word on whether any world government is complying with the decree yet. But we’ll keep you posted.

Posted on August 6, 2008

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  1. Pingback: Beijing Olympics: Jewish Update Part II « Moment Magazine Blog

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