Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Seriously, the Sanhedrin

One of the weirdest news items of the week is that Rav Steinsaltz has been elected, and accepted the position of, 'Nasi' of a "reestablished Sanhedrin." What he's doing with this bunch of c-list rabbis* on this dubious venture is anyone's guess.
If you have recovered from the chutzpah of the whole endeavor and can handle the Hebrew, I recommend you check out the 'Sanhedrin''s inadvertently funny website (link through Shmarya). One of the rabbis, Marvin Antelman, is billed as a former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (he is actually the self-styled 'Chief Justice of the Supreme Rabbinical Court of America,' which, writes Jonathan Rosenblum "is, according to Antelman, the first Sanhedrin in over 2,000 years with the authority to mete out death sentences. The group has promulgated death sentences against homosexuals and invited the public to watch it excommunicate Henry Kissinger"). The court seems to be run out of Katamon (I mean, Katamon's an important place and all, but...). It also appears that the 'court''s major decision so far seems to have been... to declare the quail and the pheasant as Kosher. Again, I'm all in favor of better Kosher eating and all, but should that really be one of the Sanhedrin's first moves?...
On the (relatively) serious side, the court counts as one of its priorities freeing agunot; R. Antelman's a well-known advocate on this and a supporter of R. Morgenstern. On the other hand, rather predictably, many of the participants -- who include Baruch Marzel -- have strong connections to the very far right and are Temple Mount activists.
So there you have it: the only guys out there fighting to free the agunot are the very same meshugganes who will most likely start World War 3. That might be what it takes....

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