The Rav On
I wonder whether your editorial criticizing the Rabbinical Council of America’s plan to certify graduates of Rabbi Avi Weiss’s Yeshiva Chovevei Torah prompted the RCA Convention resolution that reaffirmed adherence to the teachings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik on interfaith dialogue.
Since a great many eyebrows were raised when Rabbi Weiss invited seven Catholic cardinals to the YCT bet midrash to study Talmud with YCT students, the RCA was either signaling a retreat on recognizing YCT or a coming revisionism to pave the way for such recognition.
In my view, the RCA rabbis would have done themselves some good had they considered what the Rav had to say about rabbis being non-judgmental and “bending” halacha in order to accommodate changing times. According to what I’ve read on its own website, YCT advocates both.
New York, NY
Could it be? Has the Agudah has finally declared an end to the great Get Wars? It was not widely publicized, but New York State Assembly Sheldon Speaker was a prominently featured guest at the Agudah’s dinner last week and was warmly introduced and received by the audience. To my knowledge, New York’s Get Law – sponsored by Silver – has not been repealed. Agudah ranted in the early 90’s that repeal was necessary to avoid the proliferation of invalid gittin and mamzeirus and declared war against Silver (and The Jewish Press, which supported the law) to try to force repeal.
Wonders truly never cease.
France’s Consul General Francois Delattre protests too much (Letters, May 26). Does he really think we are oblivious to the invariable and visceral anti-Israel reaction of the French government to almost all developments in the Middle East? Is he suggesting that France does not regularly kowtow to its growing Muslim population? Did not the French police drag their feet in acknowledging the most recent egregious attack against a French Jew who was kidnapped and tortured by a Muslim gang?
Also, what exactly did he mean when he said “82 percent of the French like the Jews, with France ranking second among countries expressing a positive opinion (after the Netherlands)”?
Which “French?” The real French, as opposed to Jewish French citizens? Are we supposed to be happy with his reference to “the Jews?” The French like the Jews? I thought that people like – or dislike, for that matter – people they know based upon individual traits.
Spare us Mr. Consul. We are not stupid.
In his fine letter to the editor “Ahmadinejad Was Right” (May 19), Dr. Steve Carol stated that in March 1921 the British partitioned the Mandate of Palestine, creating an Arab state of Trans-Jordan, later renamed Jordan. This is factually incorrect. Trans-Jordan remained a province of Palestine until 1946, when it separated and became an independent kingdom.
Abdullah, an emir (prince) of the Hedjaz, was governor, reporting to the British High Commissioner in Jerusalem and aided by a British Resident. If Trans-Jordan had been separated in 1921, Israel would now control 100 percent of Palestine. Instead, it controls just 22 percent.
Dr. Carol also erred in stating that the Arabs want a second “Palestinian” state. They are insisting on a second Palestinian Arab state. Two Palestinian states already exist – the Palestinian Arab state of Jordan and the Palestinian state of Israel. The so-called Two State Solution is really a Three State Solution.
Edward M. Siegel
New York, NY
The diplomatic posturing between Iran and the world is reminiscent of that between Japan and the U.S. in the autumn of 1941. As Japan was preparing for its covert attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, it was lulling America into a false sense of security, insisting its intentions were peaceable. Is this the same tactic now being used by Iran?
We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. How does one defeat a nation ready to die in a nuclear Holocaust as it brings down the rest of humanity with it? We must learn from history to jointly and effectively oppose theocratic rulers who wish to decimate our planet for their religious beliefs.
Re Y.E. Bell’s “Still Doing a Goose-Step In Their Hearts” (Traditional Corner column, May 12):
As an observant Jew who happens to be a German convert living in Gush Etzion, I was stunned to read that Mr. Bell will always hate Germans and especially Austrians. It is a Torah concept that sons cannot be blamed for the deeds of their fathers, especially when the historical lessons were learned.
To generalize and to hate all contemporary Germans and Austrians regardless of their acknowledging the despicable crimes of the Nazis is morally wrong, does not fit with the open-minded Orthodoxy espoused by The Jewish Press, and offends the many Germans who support Israel. I have never encountered this kind of generalizing statement – not even from Auschwitz survivors – here in Israel.
Nethanel von Boxberg
Neve Daniel, Israel
What About Living Jews?
Rabbi Menachem Porush writes in his May 26 column about the tragedy of the Jewish cemetery in Vilna being destroyed, stating that it’s our duty to do something to stop it and warning that we are not allowed to remain silent.
While Rabbi Porush would have us advocate for the dead Jews of old Vilna, his own party, United Torah Judaism, is negotiating to enter Olmert’s government, thereby supporting Olmert’s plans to disinter tens of thousands of living Jews from their home in the Holy Land, Eretz HaKodesh, Israel.
Are Jews only worth advocating for once they’re dead? Shall we wait until the Jews of Judea and Samaria are homeless to begin collecting tzedakah? Shall we wait until the rockets hit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to advocate for security?
Rabbi Porush, your priorities make no sense! Who will stand up for the living, for the land?
“Understanding Christian Zionism” (front-page essay, May 26) didn’t help much to bring understanding. Early in his interview, Mr. Brog discusses the zeal of Christians to convert Jews and everyone else. Later he mentions how the church has rejected replacement theology. This is pretty amazing because conversion is replacement theology – the rejection of Judaism for the acceptance of an alien religion. How is it possible that Christians don’t understand this?
Any church or religion that converts Jews is a church or religion that fully and whole-heartedly embraces replacement theology.
Nation Of Head Cases
Thank you for publishing Dr. Kenneth Levin’s outstanding article “Hamas’s Inevitable Israeli Apologists” (op-ed, May 12).
Dr. Levin is both a historian and a psychiatrist, and is the author of the recently published The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege. I hope Prime Minister Olmert and his advisers will read the book so that the Israeli government might stop the insane suicidal process of giving our land away to terrorists and expelling Jews from their homes. Can’t Olmert see that his plan will be catastrophic for Israel and the Jewish people?
Please publish more of Dr. Levin in The Jewish Press. We urgently need a national psychiatrist to guide us to a mental refua shlema, with God’s help.
No Redress For Abuse Victim
While you say in your May 26 editorial “Allegations Against a Rabbi” that your position “should in no way imply support for the accused,” you seem to strongly disagree with the bringing of the lawsuit and having the plaintiff “publicly accuse another,” preferring instead to “have our rabbinic leaders come up with a process that can appropriately deal with these very serious challenges to our community” – with “a course of action compatible with Torah standards.”
If you read the article that you refer to in New York magazine carefully, you will note that the victim sought relief from the community some twenty years ago but that the accused rabbi’s employer, “a pillar of the community, took extraordinary measures to derail a rabbinical court action, or beit din.”
It seems it was decided that the appropriate way to deal with the rabbi was to let him continue having his fun with young boys.
At least the Catholic Church transfers offenders to another area.
Glen Head, NY