(JTA) — A Boston-area synagogue canceled an appearance by J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami after objections by shul members.
The Reform Temple Beth Avodah of Newton canceled the event scheduled for Thursday at the last minute; Ben-Ami’s lecture has been moved to a nearby elementary school.
Rabbi Keith Stern, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Avodah, told the Boston Globe that a "small, influential group" of members strongly opposed hosting the event, leading the synagogue to cancel the event so that it would not "threaten the fabric of the congregation."
Ben Ami responded: “My reaction is really one of sadness that this is the state of the conversation in some parts of the Jewish community," he told the Globe. “That a small handful of zealous donors to an institution can prevent a larger community from an open and honest conversation is a real shame.’’
J Street, which calls itself a "pro-Israel, pro-peace" group, supports U.S. pressure on Israel and the Palestinians in pursuit of a two-state-solution.
Ben-Ami angered some supporters recently after it became clear that his denials of support of J Street by George Soros, a Jewish billionaire who has been a strong critic of Israeli actions, were false; Soros in fact was a major funder of the organization.
J Street Boston has held events at several synagogues in the Boston area, according to the Globe. It is a member of the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council.