web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Letters To The Editor


Letters-logo

Agrees With Freund On WOW

Michael Freund’s May 17 column, “Unholy Hypocrisy at the Western Wall” was right on the money. Women of the Wall (WOW) is a group that thrives on confrontation and seems to take an unseemly delight in aggravating the feelings and sensibilities of Orthodox and traditional Jews.

While I understand the motives of those who organize counterprotests, I agree with Mr. Freund that such actions only serve to raise WOW’s profile while providing the very small group an unbelievable publicity bonanza.

Indeed, as a result of the mass counterprotest at the Kotel, WOW received more international media attention than it ever had in the past, and invariably the Orthodox counterprotesters were portrayed as unreasonable zealots while WOW members were depicted as pious women whose only wish is to pray at the Wall.

Edna Goldfarb
(Via E-Mail)

Disagrees With Freund On WOW

Michael Freund’s diatribe had no place in the distinguished Jewish Press in the year 2013. It would, though, have fit well in the newspapers of Selma, Alabama of the early 1960s.

According to Freund, the correct approach for the Women of the Wall would be “a separate section… in order to defuse the tensions… without causing strife and confrontation.” Quite right and exactly as advocated by Sheriff Jim Clark of Selma (and many others) as a means of avoiding “strife and confrontation” with uppity African Americans and their demand for equal, not separate, treatment and accommodations.

Separate but equal has never worked and won’t defuse the Kotel tensions except in the short-sighted view of those, like Freund, who support relocation of people who seek equal prayer rights by exploiting seminary girls ordered by “leading rabbis” to block access to a place of prayer and reflection.

It’s a shame Freund wasn’t advising Sheriff Clark back then. We could have avoided the water hoses, cattle prods and clubs by simply ordering seminarians to block the lunch counters thereby avoiding the “unholy” sight of African Americans who sought equal rights.

Harold Hoffman
Englewood, NJ

Dismayed By Column (I)

In his May 17 “The Shmuz” column (“Listen to Your Messages”), Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier writes that upon hearing of the earthquake in Tokyo in 1923, which killed 100,000 Japanese people, the Chofetz Chaim wept and referred to a saying in the Gemara which implies that tragedies occur only to serve as warnings that Jews should repent. In other words, a non-Jew’s life is only worth something when it serves a purpose for a Jew.

We know there are numerous Torah laws hostile to idolaters, whom many Orthodox Jews conflate with monotheistic Christians and Muslims into one entity. But most Jews are now living in Western democracies where we are treated with dignity. It’s not necessarily a question of loving other people but respecting those who respect us. Moreover, how can we bring assimilated Jews closer to Yiddishkeit when we promote teachings that would shock anyone brought up to value people of all races and nationalities?

Jacob Mendlovic
Toronto, Canada

Dismayed By Column (II)

The Gemara includes statements from sages that are remarkable for their sympathetic attitude to non-Jews as well as statements from other sages that are, to put it mildly, less tolerant and inclusive. (And keep in mind that the non-Jews the sages were familiar with were for the most part idolaters and pagans). So why rabbis like Ben Tzion Shafier feel the need to emphasize the negative as opposed to the positive is something that has long bothered me.

The statement in the Gemara cited by the Chofetz Chaim – a learned and pious Jew but a fallible human being just the same – and repeated approvingly by Rabbi Shafier is one of hundreds upon hundreds of Talmudic aphorisms, stories and interpretations. The views reflected in those aphorisms, stories and interpretations are quite diverse and inspire intense argument and adamant disagreement among the sages themselves, so why has it become a given in many Orthodox circles that literally every word spoken by our sages, even in a non-halachic context, is Divine Truth on a level of Torah m’Sinai?

And it’s not just Rishonim who are accorded this treatment – I know many frum Jews who think it’s kefirah to question anything stated by any prominent (and not so prominent) rosh yeshiva as well as any rabbi who’s written a sefer, no matter how obscure. I thought we Jews don’t believe in infallible religious leaders.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

3 Responses to “Letters To The Editor”

  1. Roy Neal Grissom says:

    Apparently Mr. Hoffman sits in judgment on Halakhah in the name of some allegedly higher "natural morality."

  2. Roy Neal Grissom says:

    Apparently Mr. Hoffman sits in judgment on Halakhah in the name of some allegedly higher "natural morality."

  3. Roy Neal Grissom says:

    Apparently Mr. Hoffman sits in judgment on Halakhah in the name of some allegedly higher "natural morality."

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
JFK Airport, NY
FAA Lifts Ban on Flights to Israel
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi Meir Kahane at the National Press Club ~ 1985

Rabbi Kahane spoke of transfer, because it was what the Torah spoke of.

Hamas terrorists in Gaza have been using human shields to protect them from the IDF as they launch rocket attacks against Israel.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Jews inside Paris synagogue surrounded by protesters throwing rocks, holding bats and chairs.

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

Map_of_the_Continent_of_Europe

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

Charges from the court of world public opinion and their refutations.

It is up to our government to ensure that their sacrifices were not made for short-term gains.

Supporting Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, has become dangerous in Malmo.

Proportionality Doctrine:The greater the military gain the greater the justifiable collateral damage

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-253/2013/05/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: