(Sephardi) Chief Rabbi (of Israel Yitzchak Yosef): Keep children away from secular family

Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitzhak Yosef has called for religious Jews to distance their children from secular or merely traditionally Jewish family members, and even to prevent their children from meeting them.

The chief rabbi’s pronouncement is based on the fear that the nonreligious relatives will adversely affect the children spiritually. According to Yosef, observant Jewish children must not be exposed at all to a lifestyle that includes “profanity and television”, lest they become “corrupted” and grow up to be “shebabnikim” (a slang word for youth on the fringes of ultra-Orthodox society) . . .

“Particularly if the second family has non-religious or just observant children, they can talk about all kinds of obscene language or television or all kinds of forbidden things, and they can corrupt them. And they’ll be sorry later, asking ‘How did I end up a shebabnik? Why didn’t you pay attention to my education?’ Every action that you take informs (their development)!”


I think the Chief Rabbi is right about Television and (by implication) Hollywood movies being a bad influence spiritually.

It always amazes me how most people are seemingly unable to part ways with their entertainment.

More about Chief Rabbinates:

Chief Rabbi is a title given in several countries to the recognised religious leader of that country’s Jewish community, or to a rabbinic leader appointed by the local secular authorities. Since 1911, through a capitulation by Rabbi Uziel, Israel has had two chief rabbis, one Ashkenazi and one Sephardi.[1]

Cities with large Jewish communities may also have their own chief rabbis; this is especially the case in Israel but has also been past practice in major Jewish centers in Europe prior to the Holocaust. North American cities rarely have chief rabbis. One exception however is Montreal, with two—one for the Ashkenazi community, the other for the Sephardi.


More about Sephardi Jews:

Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews or simply Sephardim (Hebrew: סְפָרַדִּים, Modern Hebrew: Sfaraddim, Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, lit. “Spaniards”), are a Jewish ethnic division whose ethnogenesis and emergence as a distinct community of Jews coalesced in the Iberian Peninsula around the start of the 2nd millennium (i.e., about the year 1000). They established communities throughout Spain and Portugal, where they traditionally resided, evolving what would become their distinctive characteristics and diasporic identity. Their millennial residence as an open and organised Jewish community in Iberia was brought to an end starting with the Alhambra Decree by Spain’s Catholic Monarchs in the late 15th century, which resulted in a combination of internal and external migrations, mass conversions and executions . . .

More broadly, the term Sephardim has today also come to refer to traditionally Eastern Jewish communities of West Asia and beyond who, although not having genealogical roots in the Jewish communities of Iberia, have adopted a Sephardic style of liturgy and Sephardic law and customs imparted to them by the Iberian Jewish exiles over the course of the last few centuries.


I don’t agree with the Chief Rabbi. I don’t believe children should be sheltered from the realities of life, both good and bad.

Further, I can just imagine what the rabbi thinks regarding exposure of these very observant Jewish children to Christians, Muslims, and other non-Jews. Fanaticism of this sort does not reflect well on Judaism or any other religion for that matter.

Agreed, and practically I’ve heard of many cases where children come from a sheltered environment, learn that the world isn’t exactly like their experiences had taught them and end up abandoning their upbringing entirely (the good and the bad).

This is a rare time the Nazis would agree with the Jews.

Absolutely true! :thumbsup:

The chief rabbi’s pronouncement is based on the fear that the nonreligious relatives will adversely affect the children spiritually. According to Yosef, observant Jewish children must not be exposed at all to a lifestyle that includes “profanity and television”, lest they become “corrupted”

Well, why is he assuming that non-religious people have a lifestyle “that includes profanity and television” and is “corrupt”?

That’s not fair at all, or true.
I’m getting so weary of such negative, sweeping generalizations or “fears”.

And what if a non-religious relative is a wonderful example of humanity, is not profane, and doesn’t watch bad TV? Should children still be kept away from them?

And what if a religious relative is profane and watches bad Hollyrock TV? Should the children be kept away from them???

Why doesn’t he just say to keep children away from PEOPLE who live lives of profanity and TV, instead of pigeonholing people like that.


The important thing to remember that the ability of Jews to be sensible/bonkers is no greater nor less than for any other group.

Yes, it’s true that Yitzhak Yosef’s talk about a Jewish master-race is pure hate speech. What makes his lunacy a tad different is that he holds such a high position. It seems to me that if anyone qualifies as being legitimately anti-Semitic, It’s Yitzchak and his father Ovadia Yosef, who was also Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel. I say that because this variety of hate speech is extremely likely to promote bad feelings toward non-insane Jewish people, who are the majority of Jews. I don’t fully understand whether Chief Rabbi is legally recognized as some sort of official government-connected position. Or maybe he can’t actually legally be forced out or prosecuted for hate speech or for inciting violence, because he’s just an ordinary citizen, or something along those lines. But his views are certainly counter-productive, regardless of how one looks at it.

I think that if a Catholic Cardinal or Bishop were generating as much bad press as Yosef’s outspoken views regarding all non-Jews in Israel only being there in order to be the servants of Jewish citizens, they would definitely and immediately removed from office. It would be wise for Sephardi’s in Israel to take similar actions. This guy is causing a tremendous amount of damage to the Jewish people in general, because his outbursts feed into some very well-known and well-worn anti-Semitic tropes.

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