Latest update: September 4th, 2012
I think it was fortuitous that the op-ed article by Yael Armstrong (“Divided and Broken,” Jan. 6) appeared on the same page as the excellent one by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz.
Ms. Armstrong seems very sincere, but she is sadly mistaken if she thinks the way to teach her children tolerance for all Jews is to send them to educational institutions of Conservative Judaism, a movement that advocates changing and amending many of the eternal precepts of our Torah.
If one follows the Torah he or she will learn that “Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths lead to peace.” No need to change the Torah or assume that the actions of misguided zealots are a true reflection of Torah philosophy.
The final paragraph of Rabbi Horowitz’s article (“Raising More Tolerant Children”) suggests a much wiser way to teach tolerance for other Jews – namely, that families visit various Orthodox shuls in the community and thereby show the children that while the congregants serve Hashem in somewhat different ways, all are following our Torah.
Nachum Myers (Via E-Mail)
Re “More Bluster From Iran” (editorial, Jan. 6):
We who have grown up in the Western, English speaking tradition have a hard time appreciating that not everybody shares our concept of rational decision-making. Thus, as you point out, Iran’s current behavior strongly suggests that the usual notions of nuclear deterrence are not part of the Caliphate-fundamentalist-martyrdom mindset of Iran’s mullahs.
For Iran to possess nuclear weapons and the capacity for the harm they would cause is unthinkable. James Richardson Austin, TX
The Muslim boycott of Mayor Bloomberg’s breakfast,” (editorial, Jan. 6) reminds me of the recent controversy over Congressman Peter King’s scheduling of hearings to investigate the unusual number of terrorist acts emanating from the Muslim community.
Then too, the argument was made that the general Muslim community was put under a microscope because of the excesses of a few. Yet no one – despite the constant harping on alleged Muslim discontent over the alleged infringement of that community’s civil rights – has pointed to individual injustices arising out of the hearings or the NYPD partnership with the CIA.
All anyone can see is the spectacular success in thwarting terrorist acts attempted by Muslims. Esther Farber New York, NY
Women In Israel
Steven Plaut (“The Truth About Women in Israel,” op-ed, Jan. 6) offered a scathing indictment of Secretary of State Clinton’s recent complaints concerning the treatment of women in Israel. Of course, when it comes to the very real abuse of women in Arab and Muslim countries, Clinton suffers from a self-inflicted case of blindness.
One need only compare what Arab women face – certain death by stoning for adultery, apostasy and homosexuality, and lashes for driving a car or exiting their homes without a male family member escort – with the “fate” of Israeli women, who can aspire to be judges, members of Knesset, doctors, lawyers, high level army officers, etc., to recognize that putative “champions” of freedom and democracy like Ms. Clinton seem inclined to dispense very selective censure, focusing only on Israel’s illusory abuse of women.
This undeniable chutzpah is anathema to true defenders of women’s rights worldwide.
Fay Dicker Lakewood, NJ
Religious Extremism In Israel
As someone who firmly identifies himself as haredi, I believe “An Obscenity in Jerusalem” (editorial, Jan. 6) made a number of very useful points that are being lost in the justified dismay over those extremists and their outrageous actions that are getting all the media attention.
My personal goal is to live a Torah-true life and that means I will fight, through the political process, for my family and others like us to have the full freedom to do so. This does not mean we can ride roughshod over those who disagree with us. But it also does not mean we are somehow not entitled to advocate our views and urge their adoption. Similarly, those who disagree with us are entitled to pursue their agenda.
I also believe it inconsistent that the zealots would so shrilly challenge the Israeli government over particular policies while at the same time maintaining that any government of Israel is devoid of legitimacy until the coming of Mashiach. By their own beliefs, the government owes them no special duty.
Shmuel Gordon Jerusalem
Bad For Israel’s Image
As your editorial “An Obscenity in Jerusalem” put it, the vile acts of a minority of extremist haredim in Israel are “destructive to the interests of Klal Yisrael.”
These haredim not only caused a global chillul Hashem but they are also a threat to Israel’s national security. In the Toronto Public Library I found such prominent newspapers as Australia’s Sidney Morning Herald, Dublin’s Irish Times and Switzerland’s Neue Zurcher Zeitung highlighting the lunacy of these fanatics.
It is vital that Israel not be portrayed as a Jewish Taliban state because eventually it will lose the huge financial and moral aid of the U.S. and the friendship of countries who share Israel’s Western values.
Jacob Mendlovic Toronto, Canada
Editorial Didn’t Go Far Enough
Divided sympathies were very apparent in your editorial “The Violence in Beit Shemesh” (Dec. 30), where your concern about hypothetical future impositions on haredi tradition was evidently more emphatic than your concern about the present and real brutality toward Jewish women and children. In our view, the violence and coercion perpetrated by members of the haredi community are much more than “wrongheaded.”
It is positively despicable that Jews would act with hatred, bigotry, and intolerance toward other Jews, and a paper such as The Jewish Press should be at the forefront of responding to this situation.
Your editorial should have expressed unconditional outrage at haredim who spit at and taunt Jewish girls and women, and should have enunciated the clear and unambiguous disapproval of rabbis and communities which have permitted this criminality to be exhibited with impunity. They need to know that not only does our Torah not condone “humiliation and degradation” of women, but that women should be respected in public as well as in private.
It is a sad fact that in Israel many women have been subjected to coercive acts at family funerals, during divorces, on the streets and on some buses, even though this has rarely been highly publicized. This coercion has turned more people away from Jewish observance than our insulated community wants to realize. Rather than being a “no-brainer,” as your editorial put it, it will in fact take many brains to figure out this situation, given present demographics and past political maneuvers.
In the end, we disagree with your editorial’s view that to “make a big production” in condemning these acts gives the perpetrators more substance than they deserve. On the contrary, as observant Jews we should be making a huge production, not just regarding the present violence, but regarding the underlying misguided attitudes as well.
Nachum and Sue Fass
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