May 7: Non-Orthodox streams

Why should Reform or Conservative religions be dealt with any differently from, the Greek Orthodox or Coptic communities?

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Why the rush?
Sir, – What was the rush for Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon to destroy a large white tent if the head of the Samaria Regional Council, Gershon Mesika, put it up for the shiva of Evyatar Borovsky, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist? First of all, Mesika had worked out an agreement with the IDF to allow the tent and a small wooden structure to remain there until the end of the mourning period. Couldn’t the OC Central Command at least have the respect to wait until the end of the seven-day shiva period? And why come at 4 a.m. to destroy the tent? Was it so dangerous? Shame on him.
I hope and pray that despite this destruction, a new community in Evyatar’s name will be created to show that with every terrorist murder, we Jews will live on our own land forever.
Welcome here
Sir, – In “Dutch royals to discuss, not change, event scheduled on Yom Kippur” (May 5), Holland’s chief rabbi, Binyomin Jacobs, responds to the fact that the farewell party for Queen Beatrix is scheduled to take place on Yom Kippur by stating: “Jews are again faced with a reality in which they don’t belong, and that is painful.”
Boker tov (Good morning) to Rabbi Jacobs and the Jewish people of Holland who are “vexed” by this decision. How about waking up and changing the reality of your painful situation? You know, there is a place in which you do belong! \
Non-Orthodox streams
Sir, – Donniel Hartman (“Only multiple chief rabbis will guarantee religious freedom in Israel,” iENGAGE, May 3) is right in saying that at the state’s founding “there were predominantly two Jewish denominations in Israel – religious and secular....” But it was a historical anomaly that the state made Orthodoxy the “official Judaism of Israel, and gave it control over issues of marriage, divorce and conversion” at the time.
If other religious Jewish groups were now to organize themselves and petition for equivalent state recognition, there could be little objection, provided they specified the rules under which they would regulate matters of personal status. Of course, this most likely would lead to some of their members not being recognized by the Orthodox, but such a situation already exists in the US and other Diaspora communities.
Why should the Reform or Conservative religions be dealt with any differently from, for example, the Greek Orthodox or Coptic communities, or Sunni or Shia Islam? Such an approach would be more consistent with the principles of a liberal democracy than trying to force Orthodoxy to accept, for example, the conversions of non-Orthodox streams, which have no halachic validity in its eyes. Orthodoxy is just as entitled to freedom from interference from the secular authorities as the non-Orthodox.
This approach, however, would almost certainly not satisfy the heterodox, whose real aim, I suspect, is to take over the religious establishment and thereby undermine or even destroy Orthodoxy by forcing their religious positions on it.
MARTIN D. STERN Salford, UK ‘Post’ Conference
Sir, – Yaakov Katz (“Debating the Zionist dream,” Observations, May 3) cannot understand why former prime minister Ehud Olmert and law professor Alan Dershowitz were booed by the audience at The Jerusalem Post’s New York conference.
I appreciate that the Post presents opinions from all sides of the political spectrum. What I don’t understand, though, is how leftist commentators haven’t learned that Oslo was a failure. The Arabs do not want peace. The only Arabs who want peace with us are the Arabs who are figments of leftist imaginations.
Right-wing Post columnists like Caroline B. Glick, Sarah Honig and Martin Sherman simply tell the truth based on facts. Leftwing columnists like Uri Savir, Gershon Baskin and too many others live in some kind of dream world, blaming Israel for the failure of Oslo.
The Post’s leftist columnists are not intellectually honest about the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. We have no peace partners. All we have are enemies from the top down, bent on our full and complete destruction. For that reason there should be no more giveaways or the establishment of another terror state on our doorstep.
Sir, – If Caroline B. Glick were to spend as much time explaining and defending her points of view as she does criticizing everyone she disagrees with, we would be spared her regular tirades and possibly gain a greater understanding of her insights and ideas.
BEN MIRKIN Beit Shemesh
Sir, – Just a note of thanks for a very informative conference.
I enjoyed it. The panel represented the diversity of opinion about some crucial issues. Maj.- Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin and former Mossad chief Meir Dagan’s presentations were very clearheaded and relevant.
Sir, – Your second annual conference was outstanding! It was a thrill to hear some of Israel’s military and intelligence people speak, as well as informative.
Although they are retired, it’s clear Israel is in good hands.
I saw former Mossad head Meir Dagan on 60 Minutes and it was a pleasure to see him here in New York. The times are certainly challenging, but there also appears to be a high confidence level, which is reassuring.
In addition, I saw several friends and acquaintances, and thoroughly enjoyed the day. I’m pleased to have attended.
Rethink our oaths
Sir, – While the heartache engendered by the recent terrorist atrocity at Tapuah Junction is still deeply felt, I would like to question some of the axioms and assumptions that appear to form the basis of “Hospitals must treat terrorists, too” by Dr. Avraham Rivkind and Marcie Natan (Comment & Features, May 1).
“The courageous specialists” at the hospital in Boston “kept a suspected terrorist alive because it was the right thing to do,” Rivkind and Natan assure us.
They indeed state that this doctrine is imbedded in the very oath taken by aspiring physicians, and that “they do so without any qualification of their future patients’ nationality, ethnicity, religion, financial status – or even terrorist background.”
The authors are unhesitant. “All human beings deserve medical attention,” they say.
It is to the very core of this matter that I would like to invite perhaps the rethinking and consideration of caring and sensitive people.
Into the long and ugly history of man’s ill-treatment of his fellow man, the Nazis and modern terrorists introduced a new and unique relationship between a murderer and his victim. This really could be defined as a total nonrelationship.
Modern terror is built on the total innocence of the victim and the absence of any motive related to his individuality.
This murderer does not act out of passion against the victim, nor does he seek revenge or hope to gain from his death. His sole mission, goal and purpose is the very destruction of life itself.
The question I feel must be raised is as follows: When do the extreme heinous actions of a person declare him no longer able to justify his right to bear the title “human being?” Does not this title require a minimal essence of ethical and moral behavior? When do the actions of a person require that he be expelled from this club? When do his actions declare that he has abdicated his membership? When faced with a culture of death doing battle with the forces of life, what is to be our reaction?