web analytics
February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Letters To The Editor

Letters-logo

Whither Honesty And Ethics?

Reader Avner Bloch (Letters, Oct. 25) rightly condemns the widespread apathy among frum Jews to the seemingly never-ending series of scandals that has engulfed our community in recent years.

More problematic than the apathy, of course, is the proliferation of frum Jews who have no compunction about cheating, stealing, lying, and what have you, usually to make money in an illicit fashion but also to cover up the misdeeds of friends and neighbors.

While many Modern Orthodox Jews used to characterize such behavior as a phenomenon found almost exclusively in the haredi sector, such a characterization is no longer true (if it ever was). The fact is, whereas as recently as the mid-1970s it was possible to survey the Orthodox landscape and take pride in the dynamic intellectualism and dedication to derech eretz that suffused large parts of Modern Orthodoxy, the situation today could not be more different.

The stress on ethics and dealing honestly with our neighbors, a hallmark of Modern Orthodoxy thirty and forty years ago, seems to have been replaced by an emphasis on ritualistic minutiae that was once exclusively the domain of right-wing Orthodoxy.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that had an Orthodox Jew been placed in a state of suspended animation in, say, 1975, he would not recognize the Orthodox world if he were to regain consciousness today. What we now call Modern Orthodoxy – it was viewed as mainstream Torah Judaism when I was growing up in the 1950s and ‘60s – has been on the defensive for years.

The general Orthodox public has bought into the notion that stricter necessarily means better, that isolation breeds spirituality, and that our sages in centuries past all wore black hats and spent their days searching out every chumra the human mind could conceive.

As for Modern Orthodoxy, it has atrophied over the past couple of decades to the point where a Modern Orthodox group like Edah, whose leadership was comprised of distinguished rabbis and scholars, was viewed by nearly every frum Jew I came into contact with as being unrepresentative of Torah Judaism – a fringe phenomenon to be shunned or ignored – and indeed the organization disappeared after only a few years of existence.

The reality of Torah teachers who made their living in “secular” occupations, of scholars who counseled leniency within the parameters of halacha, of rabbis whose interpretation of Torah stressed understanding and conciliation between Jew and Jew and Jew and non-Jew – that reality, which was once the norm in the Torah world, is unknown to Orthodox young people today in all but a handful of yeshivas.

Moshe Bleiberg
(Via E-Mail)

Cell Phones In Shuls

Some years ago in a letter to The Jewish Press, a reader complained about Shabbos services in Orthodox shuls being disrupted by cell phones going off. At the time I thought it was much ado about nothing – after all, how frequent of an occurrence could it be?

Recently, however, at least two members of my shul have been getting calls during Shabbos davening. Neither of them has the bad taste to actually answer those calls in the shul; one of them rushes outside while the other either fumbles around in his pocket tying to shut the ringer off or just lets it ring.

I’ve heard from friends who attend other shuls in the area that they too have had their Shabbos davening interrupted by the sound of cell phones going off.

The person who wrote that letter years back about cell phones suggested that shuls install a jammer device to block cell phone frequencies. I’m not sure if that would be legal everywhere, but in locales where it is legal, this may well be a workable solution.

Herman Silverstein
(Via E-Mail)

Approving Mixed Marriages

We’ve recently been reading, in The Jewish Press and other periodicals, about the unacceptably high percentage of Jews who marry non-Jews (rachmana l’tzlan).

The problem is that not only do many rabbis of the Reform movement officiate at interfaith weddings, they often have non-Jewish clergymen present to “co-officiate.”

If the Reform movement gives its seal of approval to such marriages, and most affiliated American Jews consider themselves Reform, I’m afraid we have a long, uphill battle to fight.

Pesach-Yonah Malevitz
Los Angeles, CA

Iran Duping The World

Unfortunately for Israel and its supporters, key players in the confrontation between Israel and Iran have been charmed by the two-faced approach of the new Iranian president. Hassan Rouhani and his mentor, Aly Khameinei.

President Obama is already considering whether he should lift some of the sanctions imposed on Iran in return for Rouhani’s moderate-sounding rhetoric. Britain has indicated it will resume diplomatic relations with Iran, while the European Union has looked favorably on the recent pronouncements coming out of Tehran.

Meanwhile, the Iranians haven’t given up on their push to achieve a nuclear capacity. Obama and other world leaders appear all too ready to be duped by all the sweet talk. Only the U.S. Congress stands in the way of a complete debacle.

Nelson Marans
Silver Spring, MD

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.

No Responses to “Letters To The Editor”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner
House Speaker Boehner Says Netanyahu Speech Won’t Harm US-Israel Relations
Latest Indepth Stories
Netanyahu in a previous address to Congress-

Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world

Korenblit-022715

Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life

NY City Councilman David Greenfield: "They are angry because Hitler did not finish the job."

It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident

Levmore-022715

“GETT’s” being screened for Israeli Rabbinical Court judges at their annual convention.

If Jackson were alive he’d denounce Democratic party’s silence towards virulent anti-Semitism

Victim of Palestinian Arab terrorism, a victor in NY federal court, after years of being ignored by Justice Dept.

March 2013: Arabs hurled stones hitting the Biton’s car; Adele’s mother swerved the car-into a truck

The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.

Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, writing in the Washington Post on Sunday, provided one of the clearest and most compelling analyses we’ve seen of the importance of the prime minister’s speech.

A central concept in any discussion about happiness is achieving clarity. “Ain simcha ela k’hataras hasefeikos” – there is no joy as that experienced with the removal of doubt.

“Je Suis..,” like its famous origin 400 years ago, implies the ability & freedom to think & question

Many anti-Israel demonstrations at universities have a not-so-latent anti-Semitic agenda as well

Believing a few “extremists” hijacked Islam is myopic in history and geography, numbers and scope

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-275/2013/10/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: