The Dweck affair
I was shocked to read in “Mirvis told Dweck affair could split UK Orthodoxy” (July 2) that Rabbi Joseph Dweck “found himself at the center of communal tumult after delivering a lecture in May in which he argued that Judaism allows for two men to love each other despite its prohibition in the Torah.”
I was present. In a serious and lengthy discourse (he spoke for no less than 90 minutes), Rabbi Dweck stressed again and again that there could be no doubt that a sexual act between two men was forbidden in the Torah.
We know that there are other clear and incontrovertible sexual prohibitions, however I challenge anyone to show me where our Torah forbids us from truly loving another human being. This I understood to be the burden of Rabbi Dweck’s highly intelligent and humane lecture.
We know that God created man in His image. Are we not exhorted to “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might”? How so might we read into this that we are forbidden to love those He so lovingly created in His own Image?
Rabbi Dweck stressed again and again that real love and the sexual act were not necessarily the same thing.HESTA SPIRO
With regard to “French Holocaust survivor and pro-abortion campaigner Simone Veil dies at 89” (July 2), a state funeral in the presence of past and present French presidents will be held Wednesday, and there are calls to have her interred in the Pantheon, last resting place of Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Jaures and other iconic French figures.
Universally revered and respected, and time after time voted France’s most beloved personality, Veil was not just a pro-abortion campaigner – the law legalizing abortions was just another milestone in her fight for women’s rights. And she was not out of the national limelight in 2007 – she was elected to the prestigious Academie Francaise in 2008.MICHELLE MAZEL
Gershon Baskin (“Israel: The democratic nation-state of the Jewish People?” Encountering Peace, June 29) acknowledges struggling with the same ideological dilemma as many other secular Jews, particularly secular Zionists. He and they seek meaning in the symbols of a Judaism in which they don’t believe. I imagine that this is very frustrating.
The Torah, whose divine origin Mr. Baskin rejects, is not only the source for all of Israel’s state symbols, it is the sole basis for the existence of the country in which he has chosen to make his life and over which he finds himself embroiled in an age-old religious conflict. His contradictions are mind-boggling.ARDIE GELDMAN
Efrat Being humanitarians...
Moshe Dann’s “Understanding ‘End the Occupation’” (Comment & Features, June 22) came at the right time – the Shabbat Torah reading of the 10 spies who rejected the land. Commentators present scathing denunciations of those leaders of 10 of the 12 tribes.
Today, we find ourselves in a situation of leaders rejecting parts of our land on the basis of “occupation.” If Israel defines itself and strives to be Jewish and democratic, then let us recall our Jewish roots and the biblical promise to Abraham to possess this land.
While we believe that God is just and righteous, and that we should try to emulate His ways, we also believe it is incumbent upon us to secure our safety and protect ourselves from the terrorist plague and the results of terrorist education and incitement, even if it requires our supervision over a population that has fought against us since before the so-called occupation.
To our critics, if we concern ourselves with being humanitarians only toward the Palestinians, will we still be humanitarians toward ourselves? SIMCHA RUDMAN
Jerusalem...and being up front
I agree with Ksenia Svetlova that efforts by the international community to isolate Hamas and work toward Palestinian Authority control of the Gaza Strip are essential to the establishment of peace between Israel and the Palestinians (“Looking for a new equation in Gaza,” Comment & Features, June 8). However, I do not think it would be wise to indulge once again in futile negotiations without an understanding up front, as follows:
• Any final settlement must result unequivocally in peace between Israel and the Arab world – symbolically represented by Saudi Arabia – and in the PA recognizing Israel and exchanging ambassadors in the same manner as happened with Egypt and Jordan. There can be no equivocating on this point.
• There can be no right of return for refugees of the 1948 war, but Israel would be willing to discuss some form of compensation.
• Once these understandings are in place, Israel would agree to halt all settlement construction while good-faith negotiations take place.
Simply put, Israel wants to live in peace, with all the rights of sovereignty belonging to any nation state. No settlement is possible without this. Actual negotiations could pick up where the 2000 Camp David negotiations ended, with extensive details involving east Jerusalem neighborhood maps and former president Bill Clinton’s final suggestions to conclude a deal.
Unfortunately, Clinton learned at the end that Yasser Arafat never wanted a real peace. It would have been far better if the president had tried to learn this up front in the manner that I now recommend.
HAROLD J. SMITH
White Plains, New York
Am I the only one who is appalled about the situation regarding Interior Minister Arye Deri?
After he was convicted of breach of trust, fraud and accepting bribes in 2000, he was jailed and served 22 months of a three-year sentence. Then, in 2016, he was allowed to return to the scene of the crime as head of the Interior Ministry – where he is now under investigation once again.
There are those who seem to agree that the Knesset should not extend the seven-year ban on public service after a criminal conviction involving moral turpitude. This is because most members of Knesset would put themselves at risk. So it seems the people must now elect a bunch of new MKs. Oh, wait... whom would we turn to when we wanted to bribe someone?
Who is in the majority in this country – those who give and take bribes or those who actually uphold the rule of law, morality and honesty? TEDDY CHADWICK
After hearing about the “new and improved” Terminal 1 at Ben-Gurion Airport, I was looking forward to seeing this facility in person. Recently, my wish came true – and what I thought would be a dream turned very quickly into a nightmare.
The passengers using this terminal are mainly families with children looking forward to a holiday break. Knowing Israelis go into complete meltdown if they don’t eat and drink every half hour, why did the designers think it wise to put in only one food outlet for the whole departure lounge? The queues for food, drink or any other kind of sustenance were long enough to reach Terminal 3!
Who in their right mind thought that rather than putting in additional food outlets, a sexy underwear shop would be just what the customers wanted?
Well done, Ben-Gurion management, for taking the needs of the traveling public into consideration! NATALIE GILBERT
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