June 5: Refreshing tirade

Rabbi Riskin has been an innovator and inspirational leader.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Refreshing tirade
Isi Leibler’s tirade against the Chief Rabbinate and defense of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (“Dissolve the scandal-ridden Chief Rabbinate now!” Candidly Speaking, June 1) is refreshing.
Rabbi Riskin has been an innovator and inspirational leader. He is the defender of the defenseless and downtrodden in the Jewish world – the aguna, the righteous gentile convert, Ethiopians, Jonathan Pollard, etc. The educational institutions he has initiated are the envy of the yeshiva world.
The charismatic rabbi is an inspirational speaker and writer, and is the “patron saint” of the city of Efrat, which he single- handedly nurtured and put on the map. He is a religious-Zionist who put his money where his mouth is. The attempt by the Chief Rabbinate to humble him is an unmitigated hypocritical act that warrants condemnation by the public, the government and honest religious leaders.
Judaism would flourish with leaders of Shlomo Riskin’s caliber.
With regard to the possible forced retirement of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin upon reaching the age of 75, I would be seriously interested in knowing the ages of all the rabbis who work for the Chief Rabbinate. I would be very surprised to find that there are none older than 75.
Beit Shemesh
At the symphony
I was quite astounded by the purportedly informed response of Susan Hattis Rolef to her recent IPO experience (“Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Jerusalem,” Think About It, June 1).
What a mixture of innuendo and lack of awareness! On what does she base her view that if one likes classical music and is also religious, that person must originally have been secular? This is “certainly” true of the haredim in the audience! Is it logical or responsible to extrapolate from one religious attendee on a smart phone to all religious people? If he had not been religious, would she have drawn such a sweeping, unfounded conclusion? I need not comment on Ms. Rolef’s erroneous belief that there seems to be a contradiction between Judaism and love of music, or that most Western music is religiously- based. I expect that people who attend a concert of classical music do so because of the joy of listening to classical music.
If she had spent more effort listening and less attempting a superficial, sociological analysis of the audience, Ms. Rolef might have been better able to share in the musical experience of everyone else – religious, secular, young, old, middle or lower class.
Susan Hattis Rolef shares her misfortunes with us as she attends a concert while seated next to a national-religious Gush Etzion settler who is either sleeping or playing with his smartphone. Matters get worse when she spots an ultra-Orthodox Jew “crouched over a book of Tehillim.” She even notices a haredi Jew who is actually enjoying the concert, but this, according to her, only proves that he must have enjoyed a secular past! Rolef’s article did help in solving one particular mystery for me. I have always wondered about the guest in the audience who can constantly be seen eying the crowd, head turning left and right, up and down. I had always assumed this to be someone from the security staff. But I have now learned that this is apparently none other than Susan Hattis Rolef, who is simply searching for material for her next column.
I would suggest that the writer try and emulate the ways of that haredi Jew she describes so well – and just sit back, relax and enjoy the music. That way, I trust that both she and your readers will be much better off.