Letters: June 28, 2017: Yet more readers react to decision on Western Wall

By
June 28, 2017 23:06

We all want unity and true Jewish brotherhood.




Letters

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

With regard to “Marathon efforts under way to modify conversion bill and contain Kotel damage” (June 28), I would raise the following points:

1. Since 1967, prayer services have been conducted according to traditional Jewish law, with the Conservative and Reform movements being the ones to force change and tear apart Jewish and Diaspora unity.

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2. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, although secular, said all army kitchens should be kosher since someone secular can eat kosher while someone religious can’t eat non-kosher. Similarly, religious Jews cannot pray at a Western Wall that allows mixed services, while secular Jews can pray at a Kotel that is halachically oriented.

3. The time has come for truth in public Jewish life. The Reform and Conservative movements have unfortunately failed regarding Jewish continuity and connection to Israel. The high rate of intermarriage as well as the disconnect from Israel, especially among the younger generation, started long before the recent Israeli government decision.

4. We are loyal to Israel whether we agree with its policies or not.

Otherwise, our behavior smacks of “Satmarism.”

5. The conversion issue is also ridiculous since the ones changing the rules that we have managed to live with until now are not the Chief Rabbinate. When the Israeli Supreme Court will recognize private supreme courts, we can turn to the Chief Rabbinate with a similar request.

Despite the above, we all want unity and true Jewish brotherhood.

I would suggest that someone the caliber of former chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau be a mediator and try to bring peace, patience and understanding to our beloved people and nation.

YITZCHOK ELEFANT
Dimona
The writer is chief rabbi of Dimona.


We need to tell US Jewish leaders that it is better to have just the traditional men’s and women’s sections at the Western Wall – while people can choose to be Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, secular or Orthodox elsewhere, at this holy and ancient site, why can’t we be one? It would be a lesson to all of us on our unity as one people.

BEN KLEIN
New York

Reader Edgar Asher (“Readers react to government decision on Western Wall deal,” Letters, June 27) employs two gambits to attack the legitimacy of non-Orthodox Jews and their way of life: the demographic (“future generations won’t be Jewish”) and education and values. Both are wrong.

Two groups of Jews are growing in the world today: Orthodox Jews in the Diaspora, and all Jews in Israel (the overwhelming majority of whose Jewish population is neither haredi nor Orthodox, according to the Pew study and other studies).

Israel is living proof of the success of Zionism and non-Orthodoxy.

Indeed, after 69 years of a subsidized, corrupt and cruel Orthodox monopoly, most Israelis still reject the idea that an extreme and rigid version of Judaism is appropriate for a modern state in the 21st century.

As for the second point, the best retort is to invite Mr. Asher to my (or any) Reform or Conservative Beit Midrash, and then for him to express an opinion. Orthodoxy has signally failed to meet the challenge of Jewish statehood, and its hateful contempt for everyone else is causing Jewish values untold damage.

ANTHONY LUDER
Rosh Pina
The writer is a founding member of the Rosh Pina Reform Community.

Reader Shirley Hyman hits the nail on the head! We have enough enemies to contend with without having to determine who of us is Jewish enough to belong. I regret that this legislation is going to help in the downfall of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The last thing we need is a civil war instigated by our not-so-kosher haredim!

S. GELGOR

Tel Aviv

Some readers and columnists maintain that Jews will disappear if the government of Israel ceases to operate according to the rules of Orthodox Judaism and Halacha.

The evidence they cite is the purported absence of third- or fourth-generation Conservative and Reform Jews in the Diaspora.

How many third- or fourth-generation Orthodox (or any other) Jews will be left in Israel after the government bows to the rabbis, and all young men become fulltime “scholars” who neither work nor serve in the army?

NAOMI SANDLER
Jerusalem

I’m upset that The Jerusalem Post is trying to drive a wedge through our society with multiple frontpage articles and, on June 28, with a ridiculous Dry Bones.

Jewish law states that you don’t need a barrier separating men and women at a temporary prayer location. However, the Western Wall is now a permanent synagogue and therefore requires a bit more respect.

In addition, why haven’t various denominations of Judaism felt the need to push the Israeli government to allow them to pray closer to the holiest site for Jews – the Temple Mount? I think it’s a case of wanting to be accepted as equals as opposed to wanting to pray to God.

If people want mixed prayer at the holiest site for Jews, join with all Jews to make our government (and the world) allow prayer on the Temple Mount!

JOE OFFENBACHER
Hashmonaim

Conservative, Reform and egalitarian representatives requested an area to pray according to their own customs. The compromise offered – a separate section near the southwest corner of the Western Wall, was a good compromise.

The decision to void the compromise is insulting not only to non-Orthodox Jews, but to Orthodox Jews who recognize that the Kotel is not a substitute for the Holy Temple.

Let’s keep the Kotel plaza as an Orthodox prayer site and allow non-Orthodox Jews the freedom to worship separately in the other location! About the decision on conversion, it is a slap in the face to all observant Jews. Instead of setting criteria for acceptable conversion processes in consultation with other Orthodox bodies, the Chief Rabbinate has alienated them. This diminishes the respect people have for the office of the Chief Rabbinate.

KAL FEINBERG
Jerusalem

It is a shame that our haredi politicians didn’t actually learn Talmud.

Between the counting of the Omer and the three weeks, they have chosen to engage in activities that the Talmud identifies as having caused the death of Rabbi Akiva’s students and the destruction of the Second Temple.

In Yibamot, the Talmud tells us that Rabbi Akiva’s students died because they didn’t give each the honor due him, but this doesn’t stop the chief rabbis from impugning conversions done by Orthodox rabbis abroad. In Yoma, the Talmud tells us that the Second Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred, but this doesn’t stop our valiant haredi MKs from making disparaging remarks about non-haredi Jews and causing the rescinding of the agreement about the Western Wall.

Had these people learned Talmud, they would have the intention of not repeating the errors of others in order to prevent unnecessary bloodshed, and would help create an environment enabling the Temple to be rebuilt.

HAIM SHALOM SNYDER
Petah Tikva

Thank heavens that we can name a hero (“Sharansky: PM should not have made Western Wall promise he could not deliver,” June 27).

Natan Sharansky has been a guiding light and moral compass his whole life. From the darkest days of his incarceration, he has carried a banner for the people of Israel.

Our “hostage” prime minister walks in Sharansky’s shadow as he bows to the ultra-Orthodox, who care little for the unity of Jewish people. Shame on him. His only fight is for his seat.

Neither Benjamin Netanyahu nor the ultra-Orthodox own the Western Wall. It belongs to each and every one of us.

MYRA LEVIN
Ashkelon


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