Inaccurate piece

Sir, – I would like to cite various inaccuracies in “Whither the Chief Rabbinate?” (Comment & Features, December 26).

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1. There has been no change concerning marriage, divorce and conversion since the establishment of the Chief Rabbinate. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook never allowed halachic changes and was probably the most haredi of all the country’s chief rabbis.

2. The article mentions that “some Ashkenazi incumbents have been non-Zionist rabbis, who attached little, if any, transcendental meaning or purpose to a Jewish state.”

There are two: former chief rabbi Meir Israel Lau – the epitome of a rabbi the world over – and the incumbent, Yona Metzger, a graduate of the first hesder yeshiva, Kerem B’Yavne.

3. As chief rabbi of Dimona for over 30 years I have allowed women to speak at funerals. A few years ago we were given written instructions by the Chief Rabbinate to allow this.

4. The writers mention “corruption in the kashrut industry.” This is an absolutely untrue statement. If the writers know of corruption, then surely the police should be informed.

5. I hate to disappoint many people, but the next chief rabbi, whether from Tzohar or not, will not change halachic standards.

The basic message of this article is to create a rabbinate that does not coerce Jewish law. The results of this approach can be found in the tragic rates of intermarriage all over the world compared to the much lower rate here in Israel.

As Dr. Ismar Schorsch said about the chief rabbinate, this approach has “not a scintilla of moral worth.”

The writer is chief rabbi of Dimona

Tough already

Sir, – Regarding “Guns, homicide and the current debate in the US” (Think About It, December 25), there has been much discussion about school security, with some National Rifle Association supporters calling for the training of teachers to use guns to increase security in all American schools.

What I have not seen is the response of major American teachers’ unions to this proposal. Has anyone asked teachers if they want to be trained to shoot intruders in their schools? Will teachers be required to accept gun training as part of their qualification? As a teacher I think we have enough responsibilities without becoming marksmen. Entrance intercoms, bullet-proof windows, closed-circuit TV, policemen on the beat and emergency buttons that alert the police are reasonable.

Arming teachers is less reasonable.


Lack of interest

Sir, – With regard to the letter “Egotistical snobs” (December 25), which complains that English-language election debates in Haifa and Beersheba had been canceled “due to the lack of sufficient participation of political parties,” the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI) is appalled that the major parties appear to be ignoring the concerns of the periphery – which has a significant number of English-speaking citizens.

In preparation for the upcoming election, AACI, in conjunction with The Jerusalem Post, had planned to host forums in English around the country where the major political parties could voice their platforms and answer questions. Only one month before the election, we were notified that the forums planned for Haifa and Beersheba would need to be canceled.

Do English-speaking citizens need to travel to the center of the country to find out the truth, or is it already apparent by the political parties’ lack of interest?

The writer is national president of AACI

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