July 10, 2017: Kotel, conversions

Reform Judaism denies a fundamental belief that the Torah is Divine.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Kotel, conversions
With regard to “American Jewish converts ‘hurt’ and ‘humiliated’ by frozen conversion bill” (July 7), the ultra-Orthodox are disloyal not only to the State of Israel (they won’t support it as long they are not in charge), but to the Jewish people.
They want to drastically reduce the number of people who can be called Jews; they want to define the “Jewish people” to mean only those who practice Judaism as they do – and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allows them to impose their will on the State of Israel.
Netanyahu has to go.
Many Diaspora Jews want to change Jewish law in Israel. They start off wanting to challenge the way we pray at the Western Wall.
They have the idea that praying here should be done their way.
Believe me, this is only the beginning.
If they get their way, it will lead to a lot of changes, such as samesex marriage, intermarriage without proper conversion, Shabbat as a regular day where everything is open, and many non-kosher restaurants. Should they succeed, Israel will cease to be a Jewish state.
These people can live the way they want in any other country. I pray that the prime minister and the government of Israel do not give in to this domino destruction that will destroy what we have been fortunate enough to build.
At the Kotel, it is quite easy to see all kinds of people praying.
They are from many different countries and many different cultural and religious backgrounds.
No one is bothered as long as they don’t bother others or make a lot of noise.
It is a lie – an absolute lie – that certain people cannot pray there.
At any rate, those people have no interest in praying. They simply want to make trouble, undermine the unity of the Jewish people and vilify Israel.
If we give in to all these demands, we will soon be hearing from other “special-needs groups” like nudists and those who cannot pray without their favorite pet next to them.
It is impossible to accommodate all the people who are obsessed with the idiotic belief that they are incapable of prayer unless their personal demands are met.
In light of the brouhaha concerning Reform Judaism, I would like to offer the following comments.
The late Yitzhak Herzog, Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, said that Reform Judaism was “a new Christianity.” The late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik of Boston, a leader of Orthodoxy in America, stated that Reform Judaism was mainly responsible for what he called a “spiritual holocaust” there.
Of course, individual members of the Reform movement are Jews if their mother is or was Jewish.
What they are practicing, however, is not Judaism.
Reform Judaism denies a fundamental belief that the Torah is Divine. It believes the Torah is man-made and can therefore be changed to adapt to the times.
Therefore, it is not Judaism but a new religion, and the name “Reform Judaism” is a misnomer.
Important message
Congratulations to Seth J. Frantzman for his excellent report and analysis of the confused situation on the Golan Heights as the Syrian civil war and the intervention by Iranian-backed Hezbollah wreak havoc (“Behind the smoke screen of Israeli-Syrian rebel links,” Frontlines, July 7).
The situation of the Druse on both sides of the armistice line between Israel and Syria is clearly guided by what Frantzman writes – “One day the stalemate on the Golan will change” – with nobody knowing in which direction.
Israel is thus forced to tread lightly, analyzing each local military change of fortune in its own light.
This situation might not preclude Israel putting a “Wild East” price on each Hezbollah fighter’s head – “Wanted, Dead or Alive” – with a specified reward in money or weaponry for every dead or maimed Hezbollah invader in Syria irrespective of the identity of the avenging militia.
Each Hezbollah fighter there should return home in a coffin or, even better, directly to Lebanon’s hospitals for perpetual care and reflection.
This policy would send an important message deep into Lebanon – and Iran. Enough of imperial Iran using Arabs to kill Arabs in Syria and around the Middle East.
Not so important
I disagree with one paragraph in editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz’s “Where’s the diplomatic isolation?” (Editor’s Notes, July 7).
After spending June in New York and New Jersey, I was surprised that our Jewish friends – not machers (big shots) in the community – hadn’t heard of BDS or extreme antisemitism on many campuses.
There’s a distinct possibility that we in Israel are fixated on these subjects, so on the other hand, Mr. Katz might be right in questioning investment in a unique ministry to combat a problem that is less important than we imagine.
Alfei Menashe
Bottom line
With regard to reader Susan James’s letter of July 6 (“They’re Jews, too”), the difference between being a Jew and being a Christian is whether you believe Jesus was the messiah or not. The Jews are waiting for the messiah to come, and the Christians are waiting for Jesus to come back.
Messianic Jews and Jews for Jesus believe that Jesus was the messiah.
Therefore they are Christians, whatever they might like to call themselves.
They are not Jews.
I am aware that there are many in Israel, especially Russian olim, who were brought up as Christians but have a Jewish grandparent, entitling them to make aliya under the Law of Return. In this way they can satisfy their Christian upbringing and their claim to Judaism, but the bottom line is they are Christians.
Kiryat Tivon
Animal suffering
While stunning does not necessarily guarantee animals a pain-free death, Jewish slaughter is undeniably terrifying and torturous (“Belgium’s Flanders bans religious slaughter” July 2).
Clearly, the only way to ensure that animals don’t suffer is to stop eating them. We have so many healthy, delicious, humanely derived and readily available foods these days that there is absolutely no justification for inflicting pain on any animal.
How nice it would be if instead of “slamming” the decision, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt encouraged Jews to show compassion and kindness by refraining from eating animals.
Monbulk, Australia
Poor TV coverage
We have been very disappointed with the lack of coverage of the Maccabiah Games on any of the television news or sports channels.
It started with the constant disruption of the opening ceremony on Channel 2 during the walk-in of the countries, marred by the infuriating ads, which prevented us from seeing all the color and splendor.
There are many of us who cannot make it to the sports fields or other venues to cheer our favorite country. Do we have to rely on limited news coverage in The Jerusalem Post or just lose out on such a historic happening in our beloved Israel?
Where was the culture? And where was the sport? I may have missed both because of the endless ads on Channel 2 (or because I changed channels at the reality show promo).
We missed a great opportunity to show Israel off in a really good light. What a shame.