Wohlberg: Rabbi or Self-Serving Figurehead?

The last time (and it was the very last time) I attended services at Beth Tfiloh, I listened to Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg’s “sermon” praising then presidential Republican candidate John McCain while denouncing Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

Now I read that Beth Tfiloh recently hosted right-wing Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer, warmly introduced by Rabbi Wohlberg (“Right On! Beth Tfiloh hosts political commentator Charles Krauthammer,” May 9). While the rest of Jewish community may worship Rabbi Wohlberg as a spiritual leader, I find him nothing more than a slick, self-serving, smooth-talking figurehead whose political views have no place in any house of worship.

Perhaps when Rabbi Wohlberg retires, which I truly hope will be soon, he can pursue a second career as a Fox News commentator alongside Krauthammer.

Richard B. Crystal
Pikesville

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Comments

  1. Scott Willens says

    Krauthammer is an accomplished physician, Pulitzer Prize winner, and fellow Jew who has every right to be heard by a synagogue congregation or any other element of the Jewish community concerned with the future and security of Israel, as well as Jews and Christians in the United States. Where was your selective moral outrage when Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia, Mr. Crystal? More importantly, in this day and age, you can hardly call yourself a legitimate Zionist and support the likes of a political party or an administration fronting John Kerry and drawing moral equivalence, if not skewing, calling Israel and Apartheid State. Netanyahu has been thrown under the bus left and right over the past five years. Start standing up for the real supporters of Israel, like those on Fox or those who watch it, and stop drinking the Kool Aid that is the American Jewish inertia and nostalgia for the Democrats. Mr. Crystal, you, like so many who continue to hit the snooze bar after 9/11 (unlike myself and Dr. Krauthammer), are a self-hating Jew who has no place in a any house of worship. Keep workin’ on that Pulitzer, though.

  2. shimon says

    If Mr. Crystal’s accusation that Rabbi Wohlberg explicitly engaged in political advocacy on behalf of an individual candidate- rather than on behalf of particular issues- in 2008 is correct, it would mean that the Rabbi committed a violation of federal election law, the penalty for which would be revocation of Beth Tfiloh’s tax-exempt status.

    Isn’t this point worthy of further reportorial investigation?

    • Scott Willens says

      His zionism is the source of his credibility here, as well as Rabbi Wohlberg’s credibility. What would be your source of credibility, Michael, to take your word on this? What exactly is a ZOA “surrogate”?

  3. A. Best says

    As a BT congregant and admirer of both Rabbi Wohlberg and Charles Krauthammer,
    I find both their positions concerning the State of Israel absolutely appropriate for discourse. And that’s what it’s about, Mr. Crystal–Israel! Would it bother you to attend services in other community synagogues, as I have, that speak to liberal views and causes, ignoring the severity of current relations between the US and Israel, and the remainder of the non-Democratic mid-east region? I think you’re missing the point and you’re missing some very good sermons by no longer attending services.

  4. nelson marans says

    In contrast to the writer, I have found Rabbi Wohlberg’s posted sermons not only profound and inspiring but timely. While the writer may object to Rabbi Wohlberg’s support of John McCain and more recently giving Dr. Charles Krauthammer a venue, both of these individuals have a long record of being pro-Israel, a position that has not been characteristic of President Obama nor his subordinates.
    I would hope that a rabbi would have the safety and continued existence of the State of Israel as one of his top priorities. Apparently the writer does not.

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