After reading about Rabbi Schwartz’s sentencing and the comments from Rabbi David of the Seattle Kollel, I would like to say the following to Rabbi David and Rabbi Schwartz.
I am sorry that you thought that parading a group of a hundred supporters in front of Mathew Nakata’s grieving family and friends was appropriate. It wasn’t, even if the result was that Rabbi Schwartz doesn’t serve any time in jail.
I am embarrassed by Rabbi David’s statement that were Rabbi Schwartz sentenced to serving time in jail, “The Kollel and the West Seattle community simply could not do without him (Schwartz).” I am sure that the grieving family truly feels that they cannot do without their family member, Mathew Nakata, and, quite frankly, I believe it was disrespectful to the Nakata family for that statement to have been made.
A few months in jail is not a death sentence. We cannot even begin to compare the grief of a family who has suddenly lost their son to a reckless driver to a congregation losing their leader for a few months. A true community leader would publicly accept responsibility for his actions. The way Rabbi Schwartz conducted his day-to-day activities following the death of Mathew Nakata has been an embarrassment for the Seattle Jewish community.
My heart goes out to the family of Mathew Nakata. May his family find comfort in the knowledge that he was respected by many and that he made a positive impact on his community during his too short life.
I also would like the Nakata family to know that Rabbi Schwartz does not represent Seattle’s Jewish community.