Letters to the Editor: Women and the Wall

All you crowing Women of the Wall and Reform Judaism supporters: Don’t you realize that by breaching our sacred Wall and time-honored values you are making a hole in our boat.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Women and the Wall
Your article “Cabinet approves egalitarian prayer site at Western Wall” (February 1) appears side by side with “Palestinian police officer shoots three soldiers at checkpoint near Ramallah.”
There is no such thing as coincidence.
There is a connection.
My precious son is in the Paratroop Brigade. All you crowing Women of the Wall and Reform Judaism supporters: Don’t you realize that by breaching our sacred Wall and time-honored values you are making a hole in our boat, and now we are all in danger of sinking? The IDF can only protect and save us providing that we practice authentic Torah Judaism and, by obvious extension, have God as our partner.
You have your victory, but at our tragic collective cost.
In “A sadness still lingers” (Comment, February 1), Susan Silverman berates Orthodox Judaism as being a remnant of the shtetl, reminding us of the “love and courage from Temple times” and telling us that the “southern side of the Western Wall will have its heart open to everyone, freed from the bondage of shtetl-think.”
Let me remind you, Ms. Silverman, that in Temple times, there was segregation of the sexes at the holy site. Let me remind you that for thousands of years, there was segregation of the sexes during prayer. Are we to believe that your way of practicing Judaism is authentic when your way of prayer is a distortion that was invented by the Reform Movement less than 200 years ago? Admit the truth – you have changed historic Judaism. This does not mean that you do not have the right to do so. Freedom of choice is a fundamental principle in Judaism. You are free to perform mitzvot or violate them as you see fit. But please don’t distort history.
I take solace in knowing that the synagogue the vast majority of Israeli Jews “don’t go to” is Orthodox. I am sure that most Jews in Israel will continue to swarm to the Orthodox prayer services at the Kotel.
While the cabinet’s decision to set aside Robinson’s Arch for egalitarian prayer is being hailed as a historic event, Susan Silverman views it with sadness – and chutzpah. To her, the northern (Orthodox) area of the Western Wall will represent the “bondage of shtetl-think, of idolatrous clinging to the idea of a zero-sum God....” The southern area will be “a world of bold colors and open hearts....”
As the son and grandson of Polish-born Jews, I take personal umbrage at these bigoted remarks against the proud thousand years of Polish Jewry’s existence.
Important lesson...
At first look, reader Menachem Goren (“Commemorative sham,” Letters, February 1) presents a reasonable argument that we have our modern disasters in Israel.
There are five million Jews in Israel who are aware of our problems. However, there are many times this amount in the world who are non-Jews and whose knowledge of the Holocaust is almost nil. Think of the school children who are not aware of wars and their outcomes.
As a man who lived in England for over 60 years, I knew of all my school mates who wanted to have information of the massacres, resulting in school trips to European slave and killing camps. It is clear that this education has to continue, and an international remembrance day likewise.
We cannot only consider our own immediate problems.
...and one in French
With regard to “Israel: French threat to recognize ‘Palestine’ if talks fail encourages deadlock” (January 31), Israel should counter the French threat by saying that it, too, will recognize a Palestinian state in areas A and B, and at the same time incorporate the rest of Judea and Samaria into Israel proper, with a united Jerusalem as its capital.
This is essential since Israel should not allow Hamas in Area C, which would position it on high ground within five miles of Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion Airport.
Agrees with Goldin
It was with great interest that I read Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s “A response from within the RCA” (Comment & Features, January 26).
I have to say that I agree with so much of his sentiment. Most notably, he sees a “looming split in the Modern Orthodox world,” a negative feeling that has been gnawing at me also. He goes on to write: “What makes this split even more devastating is that it didn’t/doesn’t have to be.” I, too, wish that were the case and hope there’s something to be done about it.
Finally, Rabbi Goldin writes: “If the proponents of ‘change’ are willing to work together in mapping the path of modern orthodoxy toward the future, guided by Halacha and halachic process, they will find many willing partners within the RCA.” I was very happy and relieved to read this.
I don’t know if I am one of those proponents of change.
That’s not really the way I see myself. But I suppose that as a musmah from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and a member of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, I have been put in that “box” by some.
I would very much like to work together with people like Rabbi Goldin, guided by Halacha and the halachic process. I am encouraged to hear that there are many willing partners in the RCA, and I would like to work with them as well. I know that I am not alone, as many of my like-minded friends and colleagues have expressed similar feelings.
It seems to me that there are radical voices at both ends of the Modern Orthodox spectrum that, while not speaking for the majority, tend to be the loudest.
For too long, these voices have been dominant, but there is so much more that unites us than separates us.
Let’s work together to grow Modern Orthodoxy and keep it halachic, united, grounded, vibrant, and relevant. How can we get started?
CHAI POSNER Baltimore The writer is associate rabbi at the city’s Beth Tfiloh Congregation.
College library
As reader Gloria Mound reminds us (“Casa Shalom,” Letters, January 18), she was indeed one of the pioneers in studies of contemporary Bnei Anousim of the Balearic Islands and elsewhere.
I would only add that in referring to the Gloria and Leslie Mound Library, one should be aware that it has been donated to the Netanya Academic College and forms the nucleus of its Institute for Sefardi and Anousim Studies.
The library, as part of the institute, is in an expansion phase. It is open to the public, and we invite all who are interested in this subject to visit it in person or at least visit our website at www.
JACK S. COHEN Netanya The writer is a professor and member of the board of directors of the Institute for Sefardi and Anousim Studies at Netanya Academic College.
Put them on buses
There is a notice, in three languages, posted on the hermetically sealed compartment of the driver on the Light Rail in Jerusalem.
It says: “It is strictly forbidden to distract the driver.”
How much more useful it would be to post these signs on buses, where drivers are distracted by passengers more often than not!