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Shut Up, Already!

I will say it once and I will say it again: Shmuley Boteach is an embarassment to the Jewish religion.

Hiding behind the title of Rabbi, he continues to demean Judaism by constantly proffering his opinion on celebrities, and decrying their obsession with the limelight. Yet he himself displays a great love for the limelight.

In his latest tirade against celebrities, he has entered into a slanging match with Madonna.

Waging a cultural battle with pop star Madonna, WorldNetDaily columnist Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has responded to the entertainer’s reaction to his labeling her a “slut” and a “vulgarian.”

The war of words began when Boteach wrote a column for the Jerusalem Post urging Phillip Berg, the head of the Kabbalah Center, to removed Madonna from her role as the spokesperson for the religious movement.

“Earth to Phillip Berg: Do us all a favor and dump Madonna as your principal spokesperson,” Boteach wrote. “Sorry to be so crass, but Madonna is a slut. Yes, she may sing, and she may dance. But she is famous for being a slut. And no religion dare have a slut as its principal representative.”

Continued Boteach: “[I]s the Kabbalah Center really so desperate that it is prepared to promote itself through a vulgarian whose main contribution to the culture is porn rock?”

According to a report in MSNBC, Madonn’a spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, shot back: “I find Rabbi Boteach’s comments regarding Madonna frightening. His vile attacks on her character and as an artist are staggering for someone who professes to be a religious person. … I suggest this man take a look at his own character and what problems he may have that would make him feel that he should make statements about a truly beautiful human being that he does not know in the slightest. …

“Madonna’s relationship with the Kabbalah and her commitment to (their) teachings has been a beautiful experience for her and the fact that Madonna wants to share her lessons … is yet another example of her truly generous and loving spirit.”

Boteach continued the dialogue yesterday, issuing the following statement:

For two decades, Madonna has been allowed to destroy the female recording industry by erasing the line that separates music from pornography. Before Madonna it was possible for women more famous for their voices than their cleavage, like the beautiful Ella Fitzgerald, to emerge as music superstars. But in the post-Madonna universe, even highly original performers like Janet Jackson now feel the pressure to expose their bodies on national TV in order sell albums. This in turn has spawned the lascivious careers of Madonna copycats like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

How tragic that 60 years after feminism rightly demanded that women cease being treated as the lecherous man’s plaything and instead be accorded the dignity of an equally intelligent and dignified member of society, Madonna has been allowed to undo so much of that progress with barely a whimper of protest.

But while it is unbecoming of responsible feminist leaders not to speak out at Madonna’s wholesale vulgarization of the female image, it would be downright scandalous for Jewish religious leaders not to object to Madonna being promoted as the foremost practitioner of Judaism in the world. Judaism and Kabbalah are, above all else, moral disciplines that demand a striving for moral excellence. Stripping on stage and calling oneself a Kabbalist are mutually exclusive.

For Madonna to put herself forward as a spiritual spokesperson while continuing to degrade women by simulating sex acts at music concerts, portray full nudity in her movies, and to ridicule lesbians by performing same-sex kisses merely for TV ratings, is a mockery of her claims to a life of spiritual renewal based on the teachings of the Kabbalah.

Women like Liz Rosenberg especially, who have greatly distinguished themselves professionally through their brains rather than their busts, should be at the forefront of criticizing Madonna’s assault on feminine dignity.

Kabbalah is a spiritual movement rooted in Jewish mysticism that recently has become popular with Hollywood celebrities.

Now don’t get me wrong – I am no huge fan of Madonna, and agree with much of what Boteach says here. However, what purpose does calling her a “slut” serve? Is she going to say to herself “You know what, that weird little Rabbi is on to something. I better change”? Or, rather, are people going to be mislead as to what the true role of a Rabbi is?

Whether it be his constant interviews with CNN, involvement with Michael Jackson, or interview with Playboy magazine about his book “Kosher Sex”, Boteach is doing his own whoring. Perhaps he would be better served staying out of the limelight. I know our religion would be.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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