Rabbi Joseph Telushkin has written a nice little column for the Forward on Chabad. He captures the myth of Chabad very well. But does Telushkin really know what he’s writing about? Let’s see:
My father, Shlomo Telushkin, of blessed memory, served for nearly 50 years as an accountant both to the rebbe and earlier to his beloved father-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn. He told me once of a conversation at which he had been present during which the discussion focused on the fact that the European rabbinic leadership had for so long written off America as a treif medina, an unkosher country, and did all within its power to discourage Jews — particularly knowledgeable committed Jews — from going there.
One of the consequences of this behavior was that American Jews as a group were, for a long time, quite Jewishly ignorant. The elder Rabbi Schneersohn quoted the biblical verse, “our fathers sinned but they are no more,” indicating his disapproval of the stance taken by earlier European rabbis.
What Telushkin does not know – or will not write because it is “lashon hara” – is that both Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn and his father Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber Schneersohn, the 6th and 5th Lubavitcher Rebbes, told their followers not to leave Europe for either Palestine or America. The 6th rebbe’s position changed only during the Holocaust. That Telushkin does not know this is surprising.
Telushkin was a strong backer of Rabbi Mordechai Gafni, using the laws of lashon hara to silence victims and accusers that he did not bother to speak with, and touting the results of an “investigation” that was never done. I have seen no public apology from Telushkin and no repentance. Not surprising, then, that his “facts” on Chabad are equally tainted, and his research non-existent.