January 13: Puah and women

It’s time for Puah to find a way to include women speakers at its conference.

Puah and women
Sir, – Menachem Burstein (“Puah conference pushes medical, halachic advancement,” Comment & Features, January 11) completely misses the point.
First, the number of women practicing medicine has exploded in recent years. Second, the issue of women in the public forum is now front and center. One has to wonder where Burstein is living.
I’ve never seen a member of the haredi community reject medical care or treatment because the attending physician is a member of the opposite sex. It’s time for Puah to find a way to include women speakers at its conference.
Petah Tikva
Sir, – The director of Puah belies a misunderstanding – or perhaps a deliberate distortion – of Judaism when he argues that “inviting women to address the rabbis would cause many rabbis to avoid the sessions, thus negating the purpose of the conference.”
It is a guiding principal in Jewish law that preserving life and health takes precedence over most other considerations, and certainly over the dubious proposition that Jewish law forbids men to listen to women lecture about medical issues.
The notion that you can promote “unity of the Jewish people” by excluding half of them from participation in Israeli public life is absurd.
DAVID ROSENN New York The writer is a rabbi and the chief operating officer of the New Israel Fund
Sir, – Regarding “IMA bars physicians from attending Puah conference” (January 10), before they begin to practice, doctors take an oath not to withhold medical aid to anyone. It is thus incomprehensible that they would violate their oaths due to political or social pressure and cancel their appearance at the Puah conference.
By having done so, they withheld a contribution to solve serious fertility problems.
Yet more non-Jews
Sir, – The Alawites are a minority in Syria, but a full-scale presence in the Golan Heights would threaten the bare Jewish majority there (“Gantz: Israel ready to absorb Syrian refugees after Assad’s fall,” January 11). A larger non-Jewish population could re-ignite attempts to pressure Israel to give up this strategic area.
Why, with all our problems – including thousands of illegals crossing into our country – would we consider absorbing Alawites? They are not our friends. and we already have more than enough enemies roaming our streets.
Useful at last
Sir, – Regarding “Anti-infiltration law passes in late-night vote” (January 11), this is a tiny country, and no country would allow itself to be inundated with unwelcome “guests.”
But there is an organization that has over 60 years of experience with so-called refugees. It’s called UNWRA, and it’s been in the region for so long that it has made itself a fixture. We should direct our unwelcome visitors to UNRWA – it would be only too happy to deal with the problem and make itself useful.
Beit Shemesh
We all scream Sir, – I want to report a robbery in progress! Despite bearing the OU seal of approval from the Orthodox Union and others in the US, the UK and elsewhere, theocratic thugs here in Israel are now attempting to take away my favorite ice cream (“Surprise! ‘Häagen- Dazs not kosher,’” January 11).
Deprived of such sweetness as dulce de leche and amaretto almond crunch, and the joy of pistacchio, mint chip and mango, my quality of life will be irreparably harmed.
Is there no way to freeze the removal of Häagen- Dazs from the shelves, or will we melt in the face of the Chief Rabbinate and its cold dictates?
Givat Olga