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August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
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Letters To The Editor

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Unmitigated Chutzpah

The U.S. continues to pursue and eliminate terrorists in the Arabian Peninsula. Yet, simultaneously, the Obama administration cajoles Israel to free 104 bloody, unrepentant Arab murderers despite overwhelming (84.9 percent ) opposition among Jewish Israelis.

Moreover, the U.S. superpower has fearfully closed heavily fortified embassies in Muslim countries while it persistently demands that tiny Israel withdraw to its indefensible pre-1967 borders.

What unmitigated chutzpah.

Israelis must therefore immediately demand that their supine government faithfully represent the public’s sane wishes and categorically reject foreign pressure for suicidal actions – or resign forthwith.

Chaim ben Zvi
Queens, NY

The World Respects A Winner

Bibi Netanyahu, like too many Israelis, thinks that by debasing Israel before the Arabs and the world he will get their affection and acceptance. The exact opposite is true. Israel reached its highest point of respect and admiration when it decisively defeated the Arabs in the Six-Day War.

The tremendous increase in hostility toward Israel since then is due directly to the appeasement policies that have been pursued by every prime minister – including Netanyahu in both of his terms – since 1967. They have put Israel in the position of a defeated aggressor that must surrender its land, cities, holy places and convicted terrorists for nothing in return but worthless promises for peace.

The Arabs and the world will never give respect or acceptance to a people who will not fight for their land or make any attempt to explain their unassailable right to that land.

George Rubin
New York, NY

Shrinking Rabbinate? (I)

It is hard to be convinced by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky’s argument against women in the rabbinate (“The Incredibly Shrinking Rabbinate,” front page essay, Aug. 9) because he bestrews his discourse with a variety of tendentious judgments about feminism, and even more so because his objections are, in the end, really remarkably limited: Women would not make good rabbis, he says, because they cannot daven for the amud, lein from the Torah, serve as judge or witness, or officiate at weddings.

If these are genuinely Rabbi Pruzansky’s concerns, I think the solution for the rabbi is quite simple: When a community finds itself in a situation where it is dependent upon its congregational leader to do these routine jobs, it would enlist the services of a male rabbi. But if a community already has an abundance of laymen who can fulfill these duties, as is almost always the case, and if therefore the community’s criteria for a congregational leader center on more exceptional qualifications such as outstanding scholarship, spirituality, outreach, activism, etc., then the community should have no misgivings about selecting a female leader who matches their requirements.

David Fass
Teaneck, NJ

Shrinking Rabbinate? (II)

I commend Rabbi Pruzansky for his thorough treatment and analysis of the issue of the ordination of women. An articulate opposition is long overdue in the Orthodox community lest the “neo-Cons,” as he characterizes them, continue to have the field to themselves.

However, Rabbi Pruzansky is but one voice in the Orthodox rabbinate. What is lacking is an authoritative statement from the RIETS roshei yeshiva. The “neo-Cons” are, after all, members of the RCA and were ordained at RIETS. Isn’t it time, then, for RIETS to take a firm stand on whether or not the ordination of women is consistent with halacha and on how the Orthodox community should react to the allegedly Orthodox rabbis who are facilitating women’s ordination?

Rivkah Stein
(Via E-Mail)

Shrinking Rabbinate? (III)

I think Rabbi Pruzansky and those who agree with him have little understanding of the way our Jewish faith has evolved over time. By definition, that process was not a stagnant one, but drew on the Jewish experiences in the diaspora. It made for diversity and a strengthening of our faith.

Moshe Rabbeinu did not wear a shtreimel. The role of women in general society has steadily grown and more and more have assumed leadership roles in all areas of life. To ignore that fact in our religious life would make us stuck in the past and also potentially alienate half the Orthodox Jewish population.

Alan Horn
(Via E-Mail)

War And Peace

The Obama administration’s attempts to avoid all subjects that have to do with Benghazi and keep Congress and the American people in the dark have even extended to the failure to pursue the actual terrorists who killed our people.

They took their lead from Hillary “what difference does it make” Clinton. When the media and the Republicans let her get away with that statement without the shaming she deserved, the administration knew it didn’t have to deal with the dead cat in the middle of the room no matter how much it stunk…until now.

Now, after almost a year, with the anniversary of 9/11 coming up and certain congressional Republicans having decided not to roll over and play dead, the Justice Department has decided to indict the terrorists.

These guys have been hiding in plain sight ever since their murderous attack. One of them was interviewed by CNN the other day. It is the same sort of approach that President Clinton took after the USS Cole attack, when he sent in the FBI to “bring them to justice.” I’m sure terrorists everywhere are quaking in their boots, (as our embassies close down). As we begin this embarrassing charade again, I have a simple request, as an American citizen:

Will our president kindly tell us when we are at war and when we are not?

We obviously are at war when we drop a drone in the lap of a terrorist planner and kill him and members of his family. We are obviously not at war when we treat the guy who actually carries out the plan like a defendant on a TV show such as “Law and Order,” requiring us to capture him and prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, as you would with an American citizen.

I know it’s only a matter of war and peace and life and death. It’s not like it’s a fundraiser or a golf match, but I’m confused.

Brian J. Goldenfeld
Woodland Hills, CA

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