LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 444635

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February 11, 2016 21:10
3 minute read.
Letters

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Unorthodoxies
Regarding “Conservative movement publishes egalitarian and LGBT-friendly siddur” (February 10), the evaporating United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has a remarkable ability to produce a new siddur every few years in order to remain au courant with the latest social trends among its mostly absentee parishioners.

The editors of this latest prayerbook are to be commended for the realistic innovation of “a new devotion patterned after the kaddish... composed for occasions where a minyan, or requisite quorum of 10 required for communal prayers, is lacking.”

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As Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the USCJ’s Rabbinical Assembly says, the siddur “has been expressly designed to meet people where they are” – which is certainly not at the synagogue.

Will the last lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender parishioner please remember to turn off the lights?

J.J. GROSS Jerusalem

The struggle of the rabbinical establishment against fringe groups that wish to demonstrate their genuine desire to express spirituality (and I use the word “demonstrate” advisedly) indicates that it has learned nothing from the passage in the Talmud (Avot 2:13): “The proper characteristic to which one should cling is to consider the consequences [of an act].”

The hullabaloo created by this avoidable opposition brought about formal recognition by the state of pluralistic expressions of Judaism.

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This could be just the beginning of a slippery slope.

Those who are observant of halachic boundaries (across the spectrum, from the most strict black-hat through knitted kippa to the most lenient, simple respect for tradition) will find that in the critical areas of personal status – marriage, divorce and conversion – they will be alienated from those who believe that progressive, non-halachic forms of Judaism have equal validity.

This is not a question of coercion of belief, but rather of acting according to time-honored and traditionally accepted common- ground rules. If these non-halachic forms are given recognition by the state, a schism will develop, and that is certainly the last thing the Jewish people need in these troubled times.

Many years ago, when I was an aliya emissary to the United States, I interviewed a candidate who had converted to Judaism through an Orthodox rabbinical court. When I asked him why he had not undergone conversion through a more lenient, non-Orthodox rabbinical court, his answer was: “I wanted to join the Jewish people in a way that would be recognized by everyone, and there would be no question of the validity of the conversion. I did not want to introduce discord into the Jewish people.”

That is the kind of thinking that should be adopted by all traditional and progressive individuals and movements interested in the future of the Jewish people.

JAY SHAPIRO Jerusalem

Ease of access
The recent modification of the bus system in Jerusalem, in which passengers are allowed to enter the bus through all doors, both front and rear, is to be welcomed as a convenience to the traveling public. However, it appears that insufficient thought was given to the dangers inherent in this change.

The change increases the danger that those intending to attack passengers will be able to enter the bus unhindered and unnoticed.

Particularly in the present atmosphere, it would be reasonable to expect that the authorities were to evaluate all aspects of this change.

RIVKA ROSENBERG Jerusalem


CLARIFICATION
In “Knesset debates marijuana users driving” (February 10), it was incorrectly stated that medical marijuana users are prohibited from driving. The only provision in the medical cannabis user’s license regarding driving states: “During the use of the dangerous drug, it is strictly forbidden to undertake activities that require concentration, including driving or operating heavy mechanical equipment.”

CLARIFICATION
The article "Vancouver Jews outraged over Ahinoam Nini invite to Independence Day event," which appeared on jpost.com on February 9, in no way intended to suggest that The Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver or Ms. Nini herself support the BDS movement. We apologize for any confusion that may have been caused.

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