December 17: Male domination

I do not believe that the blame for male domination in the field of Jewish marriage and divorce jurisprudence can all be laid on the male rabbis.

letters 88 (photo credit: )
letters 88
(photo credit: )
Male domination... Sir, - Your editorial on Orthodox Jewish women making their mark in halachic studies and rabbinical courts was very much in place ("Sensitivity and Halacha," December 16). However, I do not believe that the blame for male domination in the field of Jewish marriage and divorce jurisprudence can all be laid on the male rabbis. Unfortunately, it has to be recognized by the Orthodox, and all of us interested in the relevance of Halacha to Jewish reality, that the Torah text itself prescribes this male domination when it states: "Ki yikah ish isha" ("when a man takes a woman"). It is the man who marries and divorces, and until we tackle this issue head-on, using the principle of yesh koah beyad hachamim - the rabbis have the power - to amend Torah law to give women equal status in marriage and divorce, the underlying problems will remain no matter how much learning and actual court participation is achieved by Orthodox female scholars. RABBI JACOB CHINITZ Jerusalem 'equal rights' in spirituality Sir, - This editorial made an inappropriate comparison: that we trust our lives to female doctors, implying we should trust female Torah scholars in matters of Divine consequence. I feel that tradition is an important component in Judaic and Christian theological frameworks. We believe that God created the first man, Adam. It is certain that Adam did not seek theological counsel of a woman. I hold to the belief that Jewish rabbis and Catholic priests should be male, and adherence to that qualification helps me relate to God's plan for my life and the life of others. Spirituality isn't subject to "equal rights laws." The sexes weren't made to be equal in all matters. Tradition, like faith itself, must based on feelings from within and not dictated by gender quotas or biases. JAMES A. MARPLES Longview, Texas Why discriminate? Sir, - The Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations deplores the detention of Jamie and Stacy Cowen upon their arrival in Israel ("Messianic Jews detained at Ben-Gurion Airport," December 15). As president of the UMJC, Cowen spearheaded humanitarian aid to Israel and participated in social causes for the betterment of the Jewish people. The UMJC continues to support these efforts and does not engage in any activity that is outside the bounds of Israeli law. In 2003, and most recently in the summer of 2008, the UMJC convened its annual conference in Israel, which The Jerusalem Post reported. We call upon the government of Israel to uphold the freedom of religion of all. HOWARD R. SILVERMAN UMJC Columbus, Ohio Extremely odd Sir, - If I didn't know better, I would accuse Jeff Barak of nepotism ("Look past the technology," December 16). How else can one explain his attaching the epithet "extreme right-wing" to the Likud's list, while terming Ehud Barak's Labor "center-left"? May I remind him that the confirmedly extreme left-wing Meretz Party is being spoken of as a possible voting alternative to Labor, since it is nearly indistinguishable in its policies! Also, where exactly does he get off calling the defectors who formed Kadima "the sensible part of Likud"? Could it be that he is the last Israeli to realize that the Gaza disengagement was a complete and utter disaster - just as the Likud's "extreme right-wing" members warned? MENACHEM G. JERENBERG Ramat Beit Shemesh Get savvy... Sir, - How naive your Monday letter writers seem! ("Oh, Bibi!" December 15.) They have forgotten how manipulative Ariel Sharon was and Ehud Olmert is, and how much irrevocable damage their non-policies have done to the State of Israel - shown once again by this week's prisoner release to the Palestinian Authority. Binyamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, is the consummate politician, attracting those people to the Likud whom he sees as strengthening the party and making it more centrist. While Moshe Feiglin has been pushed too far down the Likud list, he can up and join Avigdor Lieberman if he wants to be in the Knesset, or in a coalition. There's still room. JESSICA FISCHER Michmoret ...about whom we're confronting Sir, - Re your photo of released Palestinian prisoners celebrating upon their arrival in Ramallah (December 16): I served in the war against Nazi Germany. We saw Germany as our enemy, just as the Israelis see Hamas and Hizbullah. We had a leader who swore Germany's destruction, not one who constantly announced his desire to surrender our land to the enemy, including half of our capital city. Prisoners of war lived harshly behind barbed wire. They were not patted on the head and sent back to the Wermacht. We blockaded Germany to the maximum possible, and we bombed it mercilessly. We did not send in lorries loaded with fuel, food and money; neither did we sit down and chat with the Germans until they were thoroughly beaten and prepared to make peace. We did not allow our pro-Nazis to hire boats and go visiting their Nazi friends, laden with gifts. We did not act like softies or pushovers. Israel, you are at war. You need someone like Bibi Netanyahu to lead you to victory. When the war has been won, you can pick any peacenik you like. But certainly not yet. DAVID LEE London Dream on Sir, - "The Palestinians will demand democracy, civil rights, the right to vote... the right to change the character of the bi-national state" ("The emerging bi-national reality," December 16.) Really? The Palestinians have never made these demands before. Their demands are, in fact, contrary to the peaceful coexistence of two peoples: no Jews in the West Bank or Gaza, full control over the holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem, and a four-million-strong immigration to pre-1967 Israel of the descendants of Arabs who lived in Israel prior to the War of Independence. Gershon Baskin's wish list is his own, and his only. ISRAEL ZVI Efrat Civilized is the way Sir, - In "Another look at the Hebron Peace House" (December 16) my impression is that Sunny Sassoon has confused two different issues. No one is trying to evacuate Jews from Hebron. What you have here is an argument about who is the rightful owner of a piece of property. The decision to evacuate the house before a final decision was made by the court appears to have been a political move, and of course the leadership of the Right fell into a trap because they used emotion rather than straight thinking in addressing the problem. In the final analysis, the court will determine who truly owns the property, and its decision will stand. Both sides in Hebron acted in a shameful manner. I am personally committed to Jews remaining in Hebron, but individual disputes must be settled in a civilized manner in a court of law. P. BERMAN Shoham Seems so Sir, - So, Bernard "madoff" with the money... ("Jewish charities face devastating losses from Madoff scam," December 16). M. VEEDER Netanya