Jewish Journal

Beloved rabbi says unbelievably regrettable things

by Brad A. Greenberg

February 14, 2008 | 2:51 pm

Julie Fax’s story this week is going to be a talker. It’s about the Chai Center’s beloved rabbi, Shlomo “Schwartzie” Schwartz, who has a habit of writing really inappropriate things—in an odd texty language—when responding to the e-mails of sort-of shiksas who come to his services. (I can only imagine what he would say to this shiksa.) Here’s what he thinks of non-Jewish women who by dating Jewish men are diluting the Jewish people:

“You are a f—-ing Nazi. You are killing a Jew and I hate you for that and I’ll piss on your grave. You are not going to kill my Jews.”

That should get your attention. But it’s the e-mails he sent to three women that Julie found that really shocked me. He told one woman who had come to the Chai Center seeking support after her mother, whose dying wish was that she marry a Jew, passed. Schwartzie told her that because her mother’s conversion wasn’t legit:

“She might have been agrt mother, but as a ‘Jewish’ mother she was a miserable failure! In truth she really was not a FAILURE as a Jew; since, in the eyes of G-d (where it COUNTS) she wasn’t!”

Here is the interchange with another woman:

Jackie Campbell (not her real name), who is not Jewish, was invited by her Jewish neighbor to attend Schwartzie’s Rosh Hashanah services last fall at the Writers Guild Theater.

A graduate of Berkeley who has published research on breast cancer and Eastern medicine and now produces children’s health and exercise videos, Campbell wrote to Schwartzie to follow up on a comment he had made about Jewish astrology. In her e-mail, she told Schwartzie that her father’s father was Jewish, and she also asked the rabbi for “words of wisdom” about her Jewish ex-boyfriend, whom she had recently broken up with when she realized he wouldn’t marry a non-Jew.

Schwartzie wrote back:

“A paternal grandpapy does not make U a Jew. Get used 2 it & get used 2 the program; its called the Reality of truth, even if it disturbs yr comfort zone. It is really low space morally & ethically of you 2 cast aspersions on Jews & their religion bcz they tell the truth. U R not a Jew even if tht means tht U lose yr boy toy,” read part of his long tirade to her.

Campbell said the e-mails deeply disturbed her and embarrassed her Jewish friends, who assured her he did not represent Judaism. She wrote that to Schwartzie in answer to his e-mail.

Schwartzie responded:

“How dare U B so nervy as 2 criticize me when U r the brazen hussy slut chasing after Jewish men (even when they R Orthodox & you KNOW tht it is against their G-d & religion). Shame on U 4 yr disgusting unpaid whoring ways 2 try & take Jewish men away from Jewish women. Hitler murdered Jews & U R also trying 2 exterminate Jews.”

Julie is ridiculously judicious with the handling of this story. It’s a long, well-researched, thoughtful, relevant piece, and the sensational nature of Schwartzie’s e-mails are handled with, I feel, total sensitivity for the fact that this is a man with a serious following in the LA Jewish community. Schwartzie’s son, Mendel, said his father’s e-mails were inappropriate but that they were an unfair blemish on an otherwise wholesome rabbinate.

*Update: Luke Ford read this article and had this to say:

If you believe that God gave the Torah, you can argue with the way Schwartzie expressed himself, but the gist of what he said and did is totally congruent with Torah. Orthodox Judaism has standards that are more important for Orthodox Jews than being nice to goyim.

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