By COLlive reporter
A Chabad Shliach in Massachusetts has been formally dismissed by Lubavitch World Headquarters last week after months of public statements and rallying against the government’s health regulations and COVID vaccinations.
Rabbi Michoel Green, who served for almost 20 years as the director of Chabad of Westborough, located about 35 miles outside Boston, has been exhorting the public not to comply with mask mandates and not to get the new COVID vaccines, which he calls “experimental genetic manipulation” and “100 times more dangerous than COVID itself.”
“It’s NOT immunization. It’s pathogenic priming & mass sterilization,” Green wrote last week on Facebook.
Green and his brother Daniel Green, a resident of Crown Heights, have been disseminating anti-vaccine information for years, promoting these views since the 2019 measles outbreak.
The brothers released a letter in October of 2020, “Mask Policy in Judaic Thought – an urgent Rabbinic statement,” stating that “there is no obligation for a healthy person to wear a mask outdoors, or anywhere else for that matter,” calling for observant Jews to “reject all aspects of COVID policies that do not comport with Halacha, including the mask policy.”
In November, Rabbi Green posted on Facebook, “Don’t attend a Shul that enforces a mask policy… they have desecrated their sanctuary.” He also wrote that one should not “rely on the Kashrut of such an incompetent Rabbi,” and “Don’t trust the Kashrut of a Mikvah” which adheres to COVID policies as well.
In November, he encouraged others to attend a “Rally & March” in Brooklyn calling for “no masks, no more tests, no mandatory vaccine, no social distancing, no tracking & tracing, allow families into hospitals & nursing homes.”
Rabbi Green also wrote that the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines “are categorically forbidden by Judaic law.” He was a speaker at a recent anti-vaccination event in Crown Heights along with Dr. Zev Zelenko of the known “Zelenko Protocol,” which drew a few hundred people.
VIDEO: Rabbi Michoel Green speaking to an anti-vaxxer crowd in New York
A native of California, Rabbi Green received his rabbinical ordination in Brooklyn after studying in Jerusalem and Sydney, Australia. He has worked in creating successful outreach programs in S. Diego, California and Brisbane, Australia, and founded the first network of Jewish Day Camps in Queensland.
He formerly served as Rabbi for the Hebrew Congregation of Green Slopes and the Congregation Chabad of Rancho Bernardo, and has also taught in Jewish day schools. He has authored several books, including “Once upon a Chassid” on Jewish festivals (Kehot Publication, 1999). He is married to Dvora and has several children.
After a public outcry against Rabbi Green’s many controversial posts and his antagonizing comments about colleagues who disagreed with him, he was dismissed as an official Shliach and delisted from the sanctioned list of worldwide Chabad centers.
In response to the decision, Rabbi Green wrote on Facebook: “In a tragic turn of events, the flagship organization that supposedly represents the Chabad movement has embraced censorship, suppression, and tyranny.” He later wrote: “‘In G-d we trust’ is out. ‘In Vax we trust’ is in. And: ‘No jab, no job’.”
His twin brother of Crown Heights, Daniel Green, said his brother was “The only rabbi speaking the truth” and that he “has merely spoken out in support of the silent majority.”
Rabbi Mendel Fogelman, Director of Central Mass Chabad, said in a statement:
“Rabbi Michoel Green was dismissed as a Chabad-Lubavitch representative serving Westborough, MA.
“Unfortunately, Rabbi Green’s activities and statements are contrary to the organization’s mission and a direct conflict with the sacred task for which he was appointed. Some of his public pronouncements were extremely reckless and potentially dangerous, and he has repeatedly been hostile and offensive to those who did not agree with him.
“We were hopeful that this could somehow be resolved and that we all would be able to return our energies to our communal responsibilities. Over time and especially after the rabbi received multiple warnings, it became clear that dismissal was our only choice. This was not an easy decision to make, nor was it taken lightly. We wish Rabbi Green and the entire Green family only the best going forward.”
Rabbi Green released a statement “to clarify recent events and misleading headlines”:
“Last week, on January 27th, the outreach arm of the Chabad Lubavitch movement terminated my official status as a representative of their organization, Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch. They also removed our shul from their database of recognized Chabad centers. They did not “fire” me from my position of rabbi and director of Chabad of Westboro, nor do they have any jurisdiction over our shul altogether.
“Chabad of Westboro is incorporated as an independent non-profit house of worship, and we have our own board and supporters. We have never received any funding from Merkos or any other Chabad organization anywhere. Our shul will continue to serve our community as we have faithfully for nearly two decades. Our doors are open and ready to serve as always, and all are welcome to participate in our services, events, and classes.
“The only thing that changed is my nominal termination by Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch.
“Their stated reason is my outspoken views on covid policy and mandatory vaccine policy, not so much my own views which they described as “radical” (without offering any explanation), but mainly the fact that I have challenged rabbis who adopted exclusionary covid policies and have questioned their competence. There is another obvious factor that motivated them to take this extreme action against me for merely stating my rabbinic opinion, but I’d rather not elaborate on it at this time. It will be exposed in due time if their ill-advised decision doesn’t get reversed.
“I have responded to their termination letter (and their one prior warning letter) with a letter of my own, which I will not be sharing at this time.
“The reason I am contesting this decision is not because of how it affects me personally in the Chabad world or on the streets of Crown Heights. My loyalties never lay with a movement, nor did I ever see myself as a follower of any movement. Instead, I am and will always be a lifelong disciple and emissary of the Rebbe. No one can take this awesome role away from me, as it is inherently who I am. In fact, it is precisely my adherence to the Rebbe’s teachings that prompted me to speak out in recent years to advocate for children’s education, and in protest of medical tyranny that interferes with our religious freedoms and essential human liberties.
“The reason I contest Merkos’ action is because it’s not about me at all, but about a much larger issue with far-reaching consequences for Chabad, Judaism, Jewish people worldwide, and all of humanity. In fact, it’s precisely out of my devotion to protect the Rebbe’s saintly reputation that I am required to contest this move.
“Censorship and suppression of dissent cannot be tolerated in free society. Bodily autonomy and informed consent are sacrosanct. It is a grave departure from Judaic values to engage in such unspeakable behavior, even if one believes there is some perceived societal benefit. To quote the Rebbe, “the ends do not justify the means.”
“Moreover, we cannot stand by idly while millions of our coreligionists, fellow citizens, and fellow human beings worldwide are pressured or coerced into submitting to an experimental medical procedure that carries significant risks, both known and unknown. Such shocking abuses constitute a grave violation of the Nuremberg Code and are anathema in the Jewish faith. The folks at Merkos know this well. Any attempt to condone or tolerate such practice under any pseudo-religious pretext is simply appalling proof that the person’s religious values have been subverted. Our Rebbe would be diametrically opposed to such policies, and they know it.
“I am hopeful that the higher-ups at Merkos will correct this serious error and lapse of judgment, and will clear up all confusion concerning its position on these critical issues. For the sake of truth and the Holy Torah, and to perpetuate its relevance as a movement worthy of bearing the Rebbe’s name.
“When this occurs, I will gladly remove this post and the last one.
“It should also be pointed out that this error on part of Merkos does not represent rank-and-file Chabad emissaries worldwide, many of whom are deeply troubled by Merkos’ ill-advised actions against me and do not endorse censorship of any kind. Thank you for hearing me out, and may we have good news to report in the near future.”