November 8: Playing with fire

I was surprised by Avi Weiss’s hostility to the Chief Rabbinate in Israel, and to the Rabbinical Council of America in the US (“End the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly,” Comment & Features, November 6).

November 7, 2013 20:50
3 minute read.

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

Playing with fire

Sir, I was surprised by Avi Weiss’s hostility to the Chief Rabbinate in Israel, and to the Rabbinical Council of America in the US (“End the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly,” Comment & Features, November 6).

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Perhaps Rabbi Weiss is overlooking the fact that the Orthodox rabbinate does its utmost to reduce the possibility of bastards among Jews. A true convert must accept the Torah and keep Shabbat and such.

True conversions, like true weddings and divorces, have their strict requirements.

Non-Orthodox rabbis don’t realize they play with fire with their easy conversions, weddings and divorces.


Sir, – Unfortunately, Avi Weiss’s call for recognizing civil marriage and allowing non-Orthodox marriages in Israel justifies the stand of the Chief Rabbinate.

Rabbi Weiss claims that religious growth takes place in a spirit of openness. Really? I am sure he has read the Pew report and knows that this openness has led to an intermarriage rate of 70 percent among the non-Orthodox in America.

If he would practice his beliefs and live with us in Israel, he would realize how wrong he is.

The rabbinate need not accept Weiss’s dictates, just as his American rabbinical colleagues have not.


The writer is chief rabbi of Dimona

Listen to us

Sir, – After years of trying unsuccessfully to get my songs played on the radio, I have come to the sad conclusion that there is a conspiracy against singers and songwriters like myself from English-speaking lands.

What the leading radio channels (Reshet Bet, Reshet Gimel, 88FM, etc.) prefer is mediocre songs on mediocre subjects sung by mediocre voices, but with heavily-orchestrated arrangements. Thus, meaningful and unique songs by the many Anglos writing and performing in Israel in English and Hebrew – which can have a big impact on Diaspora Jews and introduce the Israeli public to songs inspired by the great Anglo-American song tradition – are never played.

It is high time for the IBA to rethink its musical attitude toward Anglo singers and songwriters, and their songs.

BEN REUVEN Jerusalem

Unfair seating

Sir, – A couple of years ago Yaakov Shwecky was coming to give a concert at the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv.

I was so excited.

My husband phoned to get tickets and was told that I, as a wheelchair user, would get a seat in the “wheelchair” section, and that he would be two rows behind and slightly to the side. He told the person that he wanted to sit next to me, but was told it wasn’t possible, as wheelchairs are in the wheelchair section and able-bodied people sit elsewhere.

He asked what would happen if the disabled person needed the toilet and help, and was met with a shrug-of-the-shoulder comment.

Needless to say, we missed out on something we really wanted to go to (made more infuriating when friends said afterward that it had been a mega concert).

This year Yanni was coming to Nokia. We thought maybe the seating rules might have changed, so we phoned. Same rules. The best they could offer us was a seat behind me. Very romantic! The next day my husband called again. We were now on Plan B. Yes, he confirmed to the voice on the phone, we would like tickets for two wheelchair users.

The concert was great.

We sat together as a couple – me on my electric scooter, my husband in my wheelchair. We felt sorry for the man with one leg next to us, who was so excited with his new zoom camera as it meant he could take photos of his wife 20 rows back.

Are we not entitled to enjoy the event the same as everyone else?


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