Schechter and gays
Sir, – The article about Jerusalem’s Schechter rabbinical
school (“Rabbi quits Schechter seminary over exclusion of gays,” December 9) was
Although centering on the resignation of Rabbi Tamar
Elad-Applebaum, your reporter apparently felt compelled to go ahead immediately
with the article without talking with her at all (she “did not answer her phone
on Thursday”), relying instead on “several sources” – not named, but well-known
malcontents – who “verified the story.”
According to one of these
sources, Schechter reneged on a promise to ordain homosexual students. Unless it
can be proven that such a promise was explicitly made, it seems to me that a
libel action (or din Torah) against such a source might be in
Similarly, with the allegation that Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin
“rejected openly gay students who applied for admission next year,” the
so-called sources then add the outrageous allegation that he “wanted to
investigate the sexual identities of those already enrolled at the seminary” –
which is a baldfaced lie.
Another strange statement observes that both
the JTS (New York) and Ziegler (Los Angeles) Conservative seminaries accept gays
while Schechter does not, but omits the similar policy of the Conservative
Seminario in South America. In other words, two Conservative seminaries have
chosen to follow one part of the movement’s Law Committee while two follow
another part, demonstrating our pluralistic approach.
article cites “other members of the movement” – again heroically anonymous – as
claiming that two other senior officials had left Schechter in the past three
years. If your reporter had done a diligent follow- up, he might have discovered
that one former senior official had left the movement for exactly the opposite
reason, feeling that several of its key people were in violation of Halacha by
pushing for gay ordination.JAC FRIEDGUT
Jerusalem The writer has served
as treasurer of the Schechter Institute Song and the IDF
Sir, – In your
editorial “Women’s battle” (December 9), it should be clear that no one is
against women singing in the army. The problem is that religious male solders
are forced to listen when it is against their halachic education and
If the army wants to increase the number of religious and
haredi young men who do army service, it will have to take their halachic
standards into consideration.YITZCHOK ELEFANT
Dimona The writer is chief
rabbi of Dimona Why the ethnicity?
Sir, – The Politics section in the December 9
Post (“Facing the enemy within”) was very clear and to the point, including the
photographs of our leading politicians. However, I cannot understand the need to
mention that their rivals are from Tunisia, Iran and Morocco.
Is it not
time for journalists and their newspapers to refrain from such provocation? LEON
Sir, – Depicting the issue of inequality
within Israel toward its Arab minority is certainly justifiable (“Jews and Arabs
living side by side,” A Different Perspective,” December 9). I would also
emphatically emphasize the urgent need to promote the Arabic language, history
and culture within our educational system.
However, it behooves Arab-
Israeli MKs to address the many serious social issues and concerns of their
constituents instead of treacherously collaborating with enemies of their
country. This would go a long way toward easing existing prejudices, resentment
and tensions within both communities.GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS
– Jay Bushinsky is undoubtedly correct in his main point, that Arab Israelis are
to a certain extent discriminated against. However, the careful reader will see
that the discrimination cited by Bushinsky is private, not legal.
quite difficult to order individuals not to be careful in dealing with a
minority that has been known to kill with knives, guns, bombs and cars. When
there is peace, equality will be much easier to achieve.
As far as the
employment statistics Bushinsky cites, without evaluating the appropriate
qualifications, a similar argument could prove that the US discriminates against
women because there are no female players in Major League Baseball.DAVID
Safed Turkey misportrayed
Sir, – I did not recognize the portrait of
Turkey given in the recent column by Douglas Bloomfield (“Turkey: Friend or
foe?,” Washington Watch, December 8).
Bloomfield quoted Dan Schueftan’s
analysis that the Republic of Turkey is “spreading its own brand of radical
Islam” throughout the region. Quoting only Schueftan, he suggests that Turkey is
an enemy of Israel and no friend to the United States.
are malicious and without factual support. It is sad that Bloomfield accepted
them without question or critical thinking. It looks as if it took a serious
effort to portray Turkey as a radical Islamic state, in total denial of the fact
that it continues to serve as a source of inspiration for the rest of the Muslim
world, particularly North African and the Middle East, with its secular,
Turkey is committed to the ideals of Mustafa Kemal
Ataturk, who put it on a path of prosperity, democracy and freedom.
was the first majority Muslim nation to recognize Israel and is host to a large
Jewish community that has flourished for more than 500 years.
relations between the governments of Turkey and Israel are strained due to the
Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, many aspects of the historic friendship between
the two peoples remain in place.
We have also set the record straight by
declaring that these measures were taken in reaction to the policies of the
government of Israel and by no means targeted the Israeli or Jewish
Turkey is proud of its longstanding alliance with the United
States, its membership in NATO and its contribution to NATO’s operations in
Afghanistan and elsewhere. We are a welcoming and friendly nation, confident in
our freedoms and our open culture.
Bloomfield’s readers deserve better
than this fact-free account.NAMIK TAN
Washington, DCThe writer is the
Republic of Turkey’s ambassador to the United States ‘Post’ is confused
In “Scary US views” (Editorial, December 6), The Jerusalem Post criticizes
America’s stance that concessions would, “after decades of incitement,” lessen
hatreds. It says “Israel’s isolation has not deepened as a result of anything
that it has done (besides existing).”
But these decades rebut claims that
the Palestinians won’t build their state and prefer to destroy Israel’s.
Instead, they show Israel’s relentless settler expansion – now 550,000 –
preventing a viable Palestinian state.
Suppose the Palestinians put
550,000 settlers in Israel. Who would we think threatened whose state? But this
is just what Israel does to them.
As historical fact, this perpetuates
hatred, including inexcusable and bestial atrocities by extremists against Jews.
Tragically, the Post confuses this detestable abomination with its historical
cause, and with the withdrawal that would help engender its decline and
As same historical fact, settlement expansion worsens
relations with a United States that tries to help. It has isolated Israel and
traumatized its security.
What is frightening is not American views, but
the Post’s impenetrable thickets of denial.JAMES ADLER