January 15, 2017: Who’s to blame

Conservative and Reform Jews demonstrate their defeatism through the very nature of their “If we build it they will not come” synagogue architecture.

January 14, 2017 21:44

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Who’s to blame

With regard to “‘Less US Jewish support could be a security threat’” (January 12), Dov Zackheim’s claim, and his blaming this on the Chief Rabbinate’s position vis a vis conversion, marriage and liberal prayer at the Western Wall, do not bear up under scrutiny.

Our rabbinate is indeed a self-serving mafia headed by secretively selected, hardly stellar puppets. However, the erosion of American Jewish connectivity to Israel is but a symptom of the dying connectivity between liberal American Jews and anything Jewish at all.

Conservative and Reform Jews demonstrate their defeatism through the very nature of their “If we build it they will not come” synagogue architecture.

Liberal houses of worship are essentially banquet halls attached to diminutive sanctuaries by partitions that are moved to accommodate High Holy Day attendance.

This inability to maintain congregational participation demonstrates that both the clergy and lay leaders never expected serious commitment from their members. Such architecturally enshrined defeatism has paid off with temples closing their doors, aging memberships, skyrocketing intermarriage rates and a clergy that panders to the lowest common denominator, thereby accelerating the traffic to Judaism’s exit hatch.

Instead of looking in the mirror, they now blame Israel’s contemptible rabbinate for a plight of their own making.

Truth to tell, loss of US liberal Jewish support is not much of a loss. Liberal-American-Jewish love for Israel is conditional at best, meddlesome at all times, and statistically meaningless in terms of tourism figures, let alone aliya. With a progressive Democratic Party having long displaced religious affiliation as the temple of most liberal American Jews, it is only to be expected that their attitudes will become indifferent at best, and hostile at worst.

Our benighted rabbis would be better off allowing a place for liberal worship at the Western Wall. After all, American Jews who don’t go to their own temples won’t suddenly swarm to Robinson’s Arch. Best to allow a place of ignored worship – history proves that if it is built, they still will not come, and we would be spared this public relations debacle.


Baskin on Bibi

With regard to Gershon Baskin’s “Get out of our lives already!” (Encountering Peace, January 12), every prime minister has a large ego; otherwise, why be prime minister, whether from the Right, Center or Left? Without the drive from this ego and feeling of power, no one would be in politics.

Maybe it is time for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to go, but so far, the Israeli public hasn’t voted him out. Until such time, continually condemning is just hateful without achieving anything.

Ma’aleh Adumim

I thought the headline to Gershon Baskin’s latest column must be referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

How could a Jew – an Israeli, no less – go on ranting about Bibi, his greed and his spending to fill a whole column? Although the statements are for the most part true, can they possibly compare to what is spent by the PA? Over $300 million (arguably about a third of its budget) is spent to pay the families of terrorists, like the nice young man who recently mowed down innocents with his truck in Jerusalem.

(The terrorist’s sister praises him now to the high heavens for his honorable deed.) Where is the justification of a comparison of spending on Bibi’s cigars to being paid for being a terrorist, with the honor that ensues? NAOMI FEINSTEIN Nordiya With each passing day, the case of our prime minister’s cigar misdemeanor seems to be going up in smoke.


Bravo, Mr. Baskin! How quickly people forget the hate-filled atmosphere fomented by Bibi and his ilk, which led to prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.

Insidious and direct incitement is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s forte. Fear-mongering reigns.

Our politicians have no moral compass and feel free to spew their disdain for anyone who does not agree with them. They censor media that dare to oppose them and bar those who have the audacity to speak out from visiting schools.

In 1944, Alan Paton published Cry the Beloved Country, about racial inequality in South Africa.

We should be crying for our own beloved country.

Bibi, it’s time to say goodbye.


No expectations

Your editorial “Symbolic attendance” (January 11) echoes the disgust widely felt in Israel that not one cabinet minister felt it important enough to attend any of the four funerals of the young heroes who were murdered last Sunday while serving in our army.

We were not disappointed – we have no expectations that ministers will act in any but self-serving ways. There were exceptions in the past, but not this time. Yet with the absurdly large number of ministers in the current cabinet, one might think that a few would have had the time.

I have not referred to these ministers, or to rank and file members of Knesset, as “our elected representatives” because none of them is; we will never see their names on any ballot on election day. This only serves to strengthen my argument that we need to give our MKs a self-serving reason through having to be elected directly by citizens.

Until then, we may have to resort to handing out expensive cigars or champagne at funerals to attract them.

We take pride in referring to Israel as the only representative democracy in our region.

Unfortunately, until we reform our electoral system, this is simply untrue.


Two-state catastrophe

With regard to Barry Shaw’s “A two-state solution built on nothing more than hope” and Melanie Phillips’s “Real liberals must shun Palestinian colonialism” (Observations, January 6), the United States and many other nations are obsessed with imposing a two-state solution.

In case anyone missed it, there already exists rock-hard experimental evidence that shows the likely outcome. It is called the Gaza Strip. The evidence includes three wars, continued rocket attacks by Hamas, tunnels being dug right under our noses for the kidnapping and murdering of Israeli civilians and soldiers, and surely more to come.

In the case of Hamas, we know exactly where we stand, yet many think that the case of the West Bank is entirely different and, as such, is amenable to a two state solution. One has only to look at the actions and words of the Palestinian Authority’s upper echelons to realize the folly of such a notion. Their constant condemnation of Israel in venues such as the UN, their praise of attacks on Israeli civilians by “martyrs,” their unwillingness to negotiate even when most of the West Bank is offered to them, are just a few examples.

It does not take a military strategist to appreciate the order of magnitude in the difference between a belligerent Gaza Strip and a belligerent West Bank. So in fact, we also know exactly where we stand with the PA, whose vision of a two-state solution is basically the same as stated above, except that there would be no Jews.

It will require a monumental change of attitude by the PA and its constituency for a fair and balanced two-state solution to have even a remote chance of success. Until then, a better name for such an experiment is “two-state catastrophe.”

Tel Aviv

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