What do you say about the Breslov organization "Shuvu Bonim" led by Rabbi Berland?

08/03/07

I was wondering what the position of those opposing Zionism to Breslov Hasidism, particularly the "Shuvu Bonim" of Rabbi Berland. He seems to be anti-Zionist, but not very friendly to Arabs either. I would appreciate your comments.

Dear Trino,

Shuvu Bonim is a Zionist organization that supports settlement in the occupied territories. According to a ynet article linked to Hasidei Breslov Online, Rabbi Berland advocated voting in the Zionist elections, and he condemned a children's book published by our group which explains how the Zionists refused to rescue Jews during the Holocaust, kidnapped Yemenite children, and forced children to abandon the Torah. Rabbi Berland called voting a "war" [against the secularists] but we see it as an implicit approval of the concept of a Jewish state in our time. If you hear him say he is against Zionists, he is referring only to secular Zionists.

The Shuvu Bonim site says that "as the years passed, many new students who were from religiously committed backgrounds, members of the Chareidi and NationalReligious communities, joined the ranks of the yeshiva (today they are nearly 30% of the student body)." One suspects that the Shuvu Bonim ideology is compatible with the National-Religious ideology. It says that "they moved into the old Chayei Olam yeshiva building that had been liberated during the unification of Yerushalayim. Shuvu Bonim renovated the structure and expanded it." The use of the words "liberated" and "unification" indicates a strong Zionist view. Anti-Zionist Jews see the Zionists' rule over Jerusalem and all of Eretz Yisroel as a tragedy, not a liberation.

Of course, Shuvu Bonim is only one group calling itself Breslover Chassidim. There are Breslover Chassidim in Meah Shearim, led by Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shechter and Rabbi Kramer, who are fine Jews, opposing Zionism and following in the traditions of the Torah and emunah.