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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
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Letters To The Editor


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Siddur Left In Harrisburg

Our shul in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is only about 20 minutes from Hershey. As such, we enjoy the many visitors who pass through during the summer. The other week a traveler came to our minyan and left behind a small nusach Sefard siddur with the Hebrew name “Shimon Asher Pinsky” in it.

I’m hoping Reb Shimon or someone who knows him will see this so that our shul can reunite him with his siddur. I can be contacted at 717-238-0763 or RabbiMales@yahoo.com.

Rabbi Akiva Males
Kesher Israel Congregation
Harrisburg, PA

Gullible Dems

Re “Notwithstanding Bibi’s Pleas, Top Dems Signal Openness to Iran’s New President” (front-page news story, Aug. 16):

Why is anyone surprised that top Democrats are signaling their readiness to give the allegedly moderate new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, an opportunity to prove that he is “worth hearing out”?

He has, in fact, fairly boasted of his past success in hoodwinking credulous diplomats in his role as Iranian negotiator to the IAEA, convincing them that Iran had brought its nuclear activities to a halt while the centrifuges were in fact furiously spinning and advancing their capacity to “cross the nuclear threshold.”

When – not if – Rouhani’s duplicity is finally revealed, the repercussions will be disastrous for Israel, and ultimately the entire region and the U.S.

Fay Dicker
Lakewood, NJ

Denied A Jewish Education (I)

I’m sorry, but without more information I can’t help but believe there is more to the story as to why Michelle Gross’s daughter was rejected by various day schools (“Rabbis Denied My Daughter a Jewish Education,” op-ed, Aug. 16).

I’m sorry for the suffering both she and her daughter have had to endure, and I am troubled that our community as a whole does not make provision for accommodating all youngsters unable to make the grade in mainstream schools. But whether the schools that rejected her daughter were wrong to do so is not a judgment I can make without knowing more.

Ira Newman
(Via E-Mail)

Denied A Jewish Education (II)

I am appalled that a Jewish girl will be denied intense Jewish religious training because of the elitist attitudes of some religious-school officials too busy with themselves or meaningless conferences to remember what their mission is. (I’ll remind them: it’s educating Jewish children in our faith and its traditions.)

I think it’s shameful and a sad commentary on the state of day-school education in America that these Jewish educators would turn away a young woman knowing full well that the only alternative would be public school.

Yocheved Halper
Jerusalem

‘Orthodox’ Ordination (I)

Kudos to Rabbi Steven Pruzansky for his thoughtful and thorough treatment of the issue of women’s ordination (“The Incredibly Shrinking Rabbinate,” front-page essay, Aug. 16).

The Rabbinical Council of America has stated the following about the effort to ordain women by an institution that calls itself Orthodox: “…we cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of title.”

Tellingly, Sally Preisand, the first Reform woman to be ordained, was an honored guest at the allegedly Orthodox ordination ceremony of women. Obviously, feminism was more important to the organizers of that event than the chillul Hashem of honoring Preisand, whose Reform theology denies most of the tenets of Orthodox Judaism.

Rabbi Pruzansky does Klal Yisrael a real service by exposing the fact that many of those on the far left have gone beyond the pale of Orthodox Judaism and use that label to advance their hidden and not so hidden agendas and fool the uninformed.

Robert Markowitz
Brooklyn, NY

‘Orthodox’ Ordination (II)

I was surprised to see that of the three letters The Jewish Press published last week in response to Rabbi Steven Pruzansky’s Aug. 9 front-page essay about women in the rabbinate, two were negative.

I hope you will even the score with my reaction to those negative reactions. Rabbi Pruzansky has, in fact, pointed to an emerging problem – the growing movement to redefine Orthodoxy from within in order to accommodate the drive for women rabbis. No longer are those dissatisfied with halacha content to label themselves Reform or Conservative. They can simply take advantage of the expanding definition of Orthodoxy preached in certain quarters.

This watering down of Orthodoxy is presumptuous and dishonest. And since most of the advocates for change are renegades from Modern Orthodoxy, I think it is incumbent upon the current leadership of Yeshiva University and the Rabbinical Council of America to address this problem openly and publicly. I know the RCA has released statements opposing the ordination of women as rabbis, but how about some action against member rabbis who ignore that directive?

Meir Greenbaum
(Via E-Mail)

Israel’s Socialist Pioneers

In Shalom Pollack’s terrific Aug. 9 Jewish Press Magazine article, “Eliezer Ben Yehuda – The One-Man Revolution,” mention is made of the support Ben Yehuda received from the socialist pioneers in pre-state Israel for his efforts to revive Hebrew as a workable daily language.

I think we should remember that the thrust of the earlier pioneering effort in pre-state Israel, both under Turkish and British rule, was the Hebrew labor movement. (I am not in any way degrading the importance of Orthodox pioneers or the great Zionist Revisionists – from whose midst emerged the Irgun, the Lehi, and the Bergson Group.)

One of the best witnesses for my case is Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Writing in The Story of the Jewish Legion, Jabotinsky said that in addition to the Jewish Legion that he, Joseph Trumpeldor, Yitzhak Ben Zvi and David Ben-Gurion organized during the First World War, he discovered there was another Jewish legion from within the Land of Israel:

“In Jaffa and Tel Aviv, too, all the volunteers were workers, or college graduates who were preparing to join the workers’ movement. Berl Katznelson, later editor of Davar; Yavnieli, who in previous years first brought Yemenites to Palestine; Dov Hos, Eliahu Golomb and many others today [c.1927] prominent in the Labor Movement, were the leading spirit of the volunteers.”

When Jabotinsky arrived at a refugee camp in Egypt that housed Jews deported by Turkey from pre-state Israel, he met Trumpeldor, whom he called one of the two main inspirations for the Jewish Legion. Describing Trumpeldor as a “socialist,” Jabotinsky noted that while Trumpeldor was a prisoner of war during the Russo-Japanese War he “organized Zionist societies and collected money for the Jewish National Fund.”

Jabotinsky was so inspired by Trumpeldor that he named the Betar youth organization after him.

Reuven Solomon
(Via E-Mail)

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One Response to “Letters To The Editor”

  1. Roy Neal Grissom says:

    Re: "Orthodox" women's ordination and the watering down of Orthodoxy–what Torah Jews are experiencing with this issue is the same mysterious spiritual current that has been affecting the world for some time now. All religions, we are told, are "living." They must "grow." They must "evolve." There is no unchanging Eternal Truth of any kind–only a continuous teleological flux "onward" and "upward."

    This sinister force has played havoc with the religions of the nations of the earth. I would really have liked to think that Torah Judaism would be immune, would be the one unmoving anchor in a world of chaos. For whatever reason, that appears not to have been the will of HaShem (yitbarakh Shemo).

    I don't know spiritual forces are at work here (other than knowing that it isn't an "evil counterpart" of HaShem as the Xians believe). Perhaps there are great Tzaddiqim, mystics, and Mequbbalim who know what is going on and who are fighting it in their own way. In the meantime, Jews (and Noachides) must be ever vigilant as we struggle against it on the more mundane planes of existence.

    It is very, very disappointing that Modern Orthodoxy would lead to this sort of thing. Their authorities really must address this issue plainly, and with no holding back.

    May all the world experience the Ge'ulah **soon!**.

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