web analytics
April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


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.

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.

Current Top Story
PM Netanyahu
Netanyahu Attacks the Iran Nuclear Deal as “Unconscionable” [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
.

Indifference to the pain of the many singles should require us to have our heart, not head, examined

hurva

The rededication of the Hurva caused international hysteria.Arabs called the action a “provocation”

Photo from President Barack Obama's past visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

{Originally posted to author’s website, FirstOne Through} TRUST Trust is the bedrock of a functional relationship. It enables one party to rely on the other. A trust that includes both intention and capability permits a sharing of responsibility and workload. The relationship between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu started off badly and further […]

jabotinsky with sword

Jabotinsky said “Go To Hell” was a good retort to opponents of the Jewish people; fitting for Obama.

Obama pulled off one of US history’s greatest cons,twice fooling a gullible electorate and most Jews

While in Auschwitz I felt a tangible intensity. I could sense that I was in a place of sheer evil.

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

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: