Firebrand Rabbi Looks “Vanilla”

Vanilla-Ice-Cream-ice-cream-34732705-1528-2307Headline from a just-published feature about me and my activism from the Jewish Forward:

Brant Rosen looks every bit like a plain vanilla suburban Chicago rabbi. He doubles as a firebrand critic of Israel — and his congregation has stood by him through thick and thin.

“Plain vanilla” – my kids got a kick out of that one…
Click here to read the entire article.

11 thoughts on “Firebrand Rabbi Looks “Vanilla”

    1. Heidi

      Better than that: Chocolate Heath Bar Crunch. Rabbi Brant is an inspiration to all of us working for human rights from the river to the sea. You don’t have to be Jewish to love Rabbi Brant.

  1. Vicky

    That was a thoughtful profile that has made me appreciate more how much bravery (on the part of you and your family!) it took for you to stick your neck out back in 2009. I have never had to risk all my security to do the kind of work you do, and sometimes I wonder if I would have the courage to do as you did if it came down to it. Living and worshipping as a traditional orthodox Catholic, I faced my own moment of truth over the treatment and perception of LGBT people in our community, and it was extremely difficult for me to stand up in front of my orthodox friends and say that we were getting it wrong and hurting people. I am only a laywoman. I dread to think how much harder it would have been if I had been in a pastoral role, and if the issue were as explosive in my community as political Zionism can be in yours. You have a lot of integrity and commitment that your friends are lucky to be able to learn from. 🙂

  2. Estee Chandler

    I’m just wondering how the author was able to sort though the rainbow of multicolored and flavored sprinkles to determine that at your core you are vanilla (which is still my favorite flavor.)

  3. Randy

    I agree with Estee. Given your inclusive embrace of all kinds of people and causes, I’d say tutti-frutti was more representative.

  4. Gene

    I wonder: why do you care so much about Palestinians and their land but don’t care about the land stolen from the local American Indians? Don’t you realize that your synagogue is built on the stolen land? And if you do, why don’t you want to start from giving the “illegal” title to property to the true owners before criticizing others? Would it be more righteous for you to start from your own yard rather than be a hypocrite?

    1. Rabbi Brant Rosen Post author


      I believe that you are absolutely right to link Zionist colonialism with American colonialism. I think your association in spot on and I am in full agreement with you on this score.

      From a practical point of view, your facetious suggestion about returning land in Evanston, IL to its “true owners” would obviously be impossible. While I realize you are more interested in scoring “gotcha” points than engaging in real and honest debate, I will only say this: the complete ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from their land was a true crime against humanity – but tragically, this ethnic cleansing process has been completed to the extent that there is now no conceivable way the indigenous people of America will ever realize anything resembling true justice or restoration.

      The ethnic cleaning of Palestinians from their lands, however, is far from over.The process that began in 1948 continues every day in our own day. And as long as it is done in my name as a Jew and with my direct culpability as an American, it is, in fact, happening in my own “yard” – and it would behoove me to speak out against these injustices.

    2. Heidi

      The treatment of Native Americans by the European settlers was wrong by our standards. In the nineteenth century and earlier, unfortunately, Europeans considered pre-industrial peoples to be inferior races (although there were admirable exceptions to this generalization.) Israel claims our support as a 21st-century democracy, yet discriminates violently on the basis of race and ethnicity. By this behavior, the Israeli government itself is delegitimizing Israel.


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