Halacha after all
Sir, – I presume J.J. Gross (“Tearing ourselves apart,”
Letters, June 23) does not accept the principle of ein shliach l’dvar aveirah,
that when A tells B to transgress, B is liable.
Is it not wonderful that,
in this case, the Supreme Court has applied halachic, rather than the secular,
principles suggested by the writer?MARTIN D. STERN
Salford, England Civic or
Sir, – Religious freedom is an important democratic
Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox, Masorti and Reform, as well as
Israeli citizens of every religion, must have the right to practice
they see fit.
The ultra-Orthodox sincerely believe that God wants them to
do what their rabbis tell them to do. It is their religious right to
rabbis to interpret Jewish tradition for them. But in a democracy, their
cannot be allowed to interpret Jewish tradition for others or to make
In the recent Emmanuel Beit Ya’acov girls school controversy
(“Arbitration attempt fails, High Court to rule on Emmanuel mothers’
imprisonment,” June 22), the haredi protesters are angry because they
the High Court showed disrespect for their rabbis. In return, the
showing disrespect for the rule of any law other than their own. But
rabbis’ opinions cannot take precedence over the laws of Israel.
parochial standards of the haredi community do not constitute universal
standards. Their mass demonstrations must not be allowed to influence
policy. In addition, it is unacceptable that Deputy Education Minister
Porush (United Torah Judaism) would use his office and government
lead a protest against a ruling of the High Court.BARRY WERNER
Netanya Mainliners, come back!
Sir, – The mainline denominations of Protestant
Christianity that are now attacking Israel (“Moral lapses in the
Editorial, June 22) have, spiritually speaking, lost their way.
current rejection of Israel is just a symptom.
It started some decades
ago when they first rejected the Bible.
In their vain quest to be, above
all else, modern and socially relevant, they cast away the inconvenient
“constraints” that at one time fed, guided and truly empowered
Without that moral compass they are now adrift in a sea of moral
ambiguity. They can’t distinguish between the brave (e.g., Israel) and
brutal (e.g., those out to destroy it).
My earnest prayer for these
errant and lost Christian brethren of mine is that they would once again
the dusty covers of their once-treasured copies of the Tanach and the
Covenant and heed the unchanged instructions within. Until then, they
little more than Christian-flavored social clubs lacking all spiritual
As they say here in the Middle East, the dogs bark and
the caravan moves on.PASTOR DAVID N. DECKER
Alliances Jerusalem Complementary workshops
Sir, – I wish to thank Ruth Eglash
for an excellent article (“Jerusalem conference to advocate compulsory
pre-marital training,” June 22).
However, I would like to clarify an
important point. In no way would I discredit the holy work of the rabbis
rebbetzins and the chatan/kallah (groom/bride) classes they so
Quite the contrary.
I trained as a kallah teacher at
Midreshet Emunah and unequivocally state that there is no substitute for
separate learning of the bride and groom. It is essential in that it
the “why” to marry while explaining the sanctity of the laws of purity
seriousness of the marital bond.
The educational and experiential
couples’ workshops of Bechirat Halev are designed to provide the next
preparing “nearlyweds” and newlyweds for their life journey together,
complement the chatan/kallah classes. The workshops promote discussion
teaching effective communication between the two. In the workshops,
the vital skills to help build and sustain a strong and lasting
We would like couples workshops to be a pre-requisite to
marriage. In countries around the world where they are required, the
rate has been reduced significantly.SHERRIE B. MILLER
Bechirat Halev (Choice of the Heart) Jerusalem Larry and me
Sir, – I have long
been among Larry Derfner’s most outspoken critics. I was therefore
find myself in close agreement with his recent comments (“Dodo birds vs.
The great danger in lifting the Gaza blockade (other than, of
course, the potential free flow of arms) is that it would strengthen
political standing immeasurably while significantly weakening the PA. We
be madly in love with Abbas and Fayyad, but they are infinitely better
alternative in Gaza.
While maintaining the blockade, Israel needs to take
bold steps in dealing with the PA. It must do everything possible to
accommodation that meets the Palestinians’ legitimate interests and
Israel’s own security.
One can quibble with the details of Derfner’s
proposed settlement (e.g., international custody over the “holy basin”),
that is no excuse to avoid talking about all of the important issues as
possible. That’s what negotiations are for.
The government cannot just
hunker down and assume that the present international furor will pass.
It has to
get out in front and show it will act peacefully when dealing with
Palestinian leadership. If the PA is unwilling to negotiate in good
will become apparent soon enough.
In order to successfully rehabilitate
its standing in the world, Israel must not only do good, it must be seen
doing good.EFRAIM A. COHEN
Netanya Don’t fear fallout
Sir, – Daniel
Doron is right to criticize Israeli politicians and strategists who, on
hand, understand that Palestinian leaders are not peacemakers while, on
other, pursue policies designed to find “solutions that will be
both parties” (“When concepts trump reality,” June 14).
prime ministers have spoken against negotiations with the PLO, the
retaining the Jordan Valley, the inadvisability of unilateral
unacceptability of dividing Jerusalem and so on, only to have taken, or
take, the opposite course once in office.
The precise reasons may vary in
some respects from one prime minister to another, but the general rule
Having accepted a dynamic of Israeli- Palestinian negotiations, they
risk being seen as wrecking the prospects of peace by sticking with
assessment and principles. In other words, they fear the international
Till now, the costs to Israel have been immense, but not
existential. However, as Israel’s margin for error recedes with every
concession, prime ministers will not have even this thought to comfort
some point, even if Israel’s allies are unconvinced or refuse to be
for their own reasons that Palestinians do not mean to live in peace
Israel, an Israeli prime minister will have to conclude, as Golda Meir
that “better a bad press than a good epitaph.”MORTON A. KLEIN
President Zionist Organization of America New York