Friday, April 25, 2014

Top American Rabbi Evacuated from Temple Mount after Violent Riots

JERUSALEM– Rabbi Meir Soloveichik’s tour of the Temple Mount was cut short this morning when violent rioting broke out on the holy site. It was the first time that the Temple Mount had been open to Jews since the beginning of the observance of Passover. Riots forced the Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and his family, who were accompanied by Temple Institute International Director Rabbi Chaim Richman, off the site within two minutes of ascending. Two police officers were injured in the confrontation, and 16 arrests have been made.

The visit provided an opportunity for the influential American Rabbi to join the struggle for Jewish prayer and presence on the Temple Mount and to hear about the preparations that The Temple Institute has actively made for the Third Holy Temple.
Rabbi Meir Yaakov Soloveichik is a world renowned American Torah scholar, teacher and leader. Son of Rabbi Eliyahu Soloveichik, grandson of the late Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik and the great nephew of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik – all of whom are credited for founding what has become the Modern Orthodoxy movement of Judaism. After graduating from Yeshiva College in New York City, Soloveichik received his rabbinic ordination at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, and went on to receive a PhD in religion from Princeton University.

Aside from his teaching and writing, Rabbi Soloveichik proudly became the first Orthodox rabbi to give the invocation at the opening session of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. He currently serves as rabbi of the Sephardic Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City, the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States. Rabbi Soloveichik was a rumored frontrunner to replace Jonathan Sacks as Chief Rabbi of the United

“We are honored to welcome Rabbi Soloveichik,” said Temple Institute International Director Rabbi Chaim Richman. “His visit to the Temple Mount this morning was both spiritual and emotional for all involved. Above all else, his visit sends a strong message to World Jewry that we cannot abandon our holiest site, emphasizing that visits to the Temple amount are not only Halachically acceptable but are a halachic imperative for all Jews.”

Rabbi Soloveichik was witness to the deteriorating security situation on the Temple Mount and saw, first-hand, Jews being ushered quickly and expelled from the holy site when Muslim rioters began throwing rocks. He expressed consternation at the desecration of the holy site.

“Under the current circumstances, even to go to the Temple Mount for two minutes was a tremendous privilege,” said Rabbi Soloveichik. “I am very much in favor of ascending the Temple Mount according to Halacha and after taking the appropriate halachic precautions. It is critical for Jews to understand the importance of the Temple Mount. I applaud the increasing number of Orthodox rabbis and heads of yeshivot that are going to the holy site, and I predict we will see even more Jews ascending in the future.”
Leading US Rabbi Meir Soloveichik's Sunday morning Temple Mount ascent with his wife and young children, escorted by the Temple Institute's Rabbi Chaim Richman, which was dramatically foreshortened after a Muslim mob attacked them with rocks, has been reported in major news outlets, both print and electronic, throughout the world. Following is a list of some of the online news portals that have reported the story:

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