RCA: No more biblical revenge songs at weddings

Main Orthodox rabbinical group in US voices 'shock and sorrow' over extremists' wedding video.

Gil Ronen,

Site of Duma arson attack
Site of Duma arson attack
Credit: Flash 90

The main modern Orthodox rabbinical group in the United States expressed its “outrage” over the video that shows Jewish extremists dancing to the sound of a revenge song at a wedding, while holding up weapons and a photo of an Arab baby who was murdered.

“That even a few Jews identified with the observant community can act in this way is frightening and an admonition to us all," said the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA). "Such behavior is halachically and morally repulsive and an ethical stain on the good name of Judaism and the State of Israel,” the organization said in its statement, which was cited by JTA. “We trust the authorities in Israel not only to condemn this behavior but diligently work to prevent the awful acts it encourages.”

"As a small educational step," said Rabbi Shalom Baum, RCA President, "we call on all members of the observant community both in Israel and in the Diaspora to desist from playing songs of vengeance such as the one taken from the Book of Judges, at any wedding or other celebration that is held. We call on all people invited as guests to exit the circles of dancing when such songs are playing and express their disapproval.”

“The vigilante and lawless calls for revenge and dancing with machine guns and knives are anathema to Jewish morality and religious standards,” Rabbi Baum added.

The video, filmed at the Jerusalem wedding of an extremist couple earlier in the month, features guests dancing to a song whose lyrics are taken from Samson's appeal to God, to let him take revenge on the Philistines, after they blinded him. The crowd sings a version of the song that substitutes “Palestinians” for Philistines.

The revelers wave knives, rifles and a firebomb, and a photo of the baby who was murdered along with his parents in the attack on the Dawabshe family in the village of Duma in July. One of them is seen stabbing the picture with a knife.

The RCA, which represents over 1,000 rabbis, added that it “applauds the quick and decisive statements of Israeli religious and political leaders” against the guests at the wedding, the statement said. It added that it calls on the Israeli government to “take whatever measures necessary to protect the safety of all of its innocent citizens, and calls upon Israeli religious and educational leaders to nurture values in Israeli society that hold these despicable acts to be unacceptable and intolerable.”




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