Saturday, 29 October 2011

Former Canon of St Paul’s converted. By the Chief Rabbi

This is what the recently retired canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Rev Giles Fraser, had to say in an interview in Friday’s Guardian:

"I used to be a socialist and for a long time I did have the view that there was something intrinsically immoral about capitalism. I changed my mind quite fundamentally about that quite a few years ago. I had a conversion sitting in Notting Hill market, reading the chief rabbi on the subject – an essay called 'the moral case for market economy'.”

Perhaps not quite a road to Damascus moment but then Notting Hill is a lot safer especially these days.

I do however wonder whether the Chief would ever dare tell the world of a conversion of his by a leader of another faith. He got himself into trouble in the past when suggesting that Judaism may have something to learn from others, which he then hastily retracted. Ever since he has steered clear of sensitive issues for fear of getting tangled in the knotty beards or the crocheted yarmulkes.

It is a shame he lacks his predecessor’s forthrightness on anything from Israel to charedim. For while the world benefits greatly from his writing and speeches Judaism sorely lacks someone of his stature and capabilities to give us some straight talking.

Well, a rabbi resigning on point of principle. When was the last time you heard that one?


  1. Hello again,

    Are you going to include on your blog any divrei torah, reviews, interviews etc?

    I won't touch the JC and I know of nobody who reads it for pleasure: we read it because there is, or seems to be, no alternative. As for the Tribune, I gave up reading it when it said that Saddam Hussein ought to have been drawn and quartered as well as hanged. What I dream of is an online Jewish paper that does its best to include as many differing views as possible as well as to write something that can be read with pleasure.

    When I was at Walford Road Synagogue we used to produce a community magazine that really had a bit of everything: Torah, interviews, history, short stories, you name it. We were going to do some investigations into the price of kosher food, unfortunately at that time due to various upheavals at shul it never happened. We were only a small shul, and yet between us we managed to come up with some very interesting material.

    There must be enough creative talent out there to produce the kind of thing I have in mind. Any feedback on this?

    Kol tov

  2. And I got myself into similar trouble for supporting him. Unlike Rabbi Sacks, I would not be browbeaten to rewrite something just because the Chareidi establishment didn't like it. To be successfully good you have got to have a dash of something evil, otherwise you would never stand your ground when challenged. I perceive that Rabbi Sacks is too nice for his own good.


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