September 19: Jewish flexibility

Years ago I asked a non-Orthodox Jewish American friend of mine: “So, what is Judaism to you?” Her answer: “Anything I want it to be.”

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jewish flexibility
Sir, – Bina director Eran Baruch’s contention that “there is a range of paths to practice Judaism” and “observing the commandments and believing in God is not the only way” is both specious and silly (“Poll: Many Israelis see Jewish identity as being self-defined,” September 17).
Baruch conflates the practice of Judaism – a culture inexorably rooted in and informed by the observance of Torah law, daily prayer directed to the Creator, and divinely mandated acts of charity and kindness – with Jewishness, namely, an open-ended potpourri of completely subjective, part-time, symbolic behaviors usually taken from Judaism.
Years ago I asked a non-Orthodox Jewish American friend of mine: “So, what is Judaism to you?” Her answer: “Anything I want it to be.”
Poor turnout
Sir, – Regarding your September 17 editorial “Germany’s Jewish problem,” you refer to the fact that a disappointing 5,000 people turned up at the rally to protest the outbreak of anti-Semitism in Germany and that Deutche Welle’s editor-in-chief called the low turnout on the part of non-Jewish groups “quite disgraceful.”
Perhaps what should also be said is that with a reported 100,000 Jews now living in Germany, among whom are approximately 15,000 Israelis in Berlin, it is a disgrace that more Jews did not attend the rally.
TONY FRANKLIN Ra’anana Unit 8200 Sir, – In “Don’t just dismiss the protesting military intelligence reservists” (Center Field, September 17), Gil Troy misses the point about their letter: It was an obvious political event, not a heart-felt liberal plea.
These are not “young idealists” and we don’t “need to show them how hard we sought peace.” They do live here, right? Nor do we need to “respect their discomfort.”
Their act was calculated to undermine our required intelligence operations, which are necessary to defend ourselves and our country.
I hope the military doesn’t emulate our judges by being lenient in responding to this attempt to discredit Israel’s legitimate security needs.
Alfei Menashe
Sir, – It seems rather improbable that the letter by the 43 members of Unit 8200 was a spontaneous action just after the Gaza war (“The 8200 affair,” Editorial, September 15). It seems much more likely that it was the “idea” of one of our foreign-funded NGOs that work hard to find fault with everything Israel does that does not fit in with their anti-Israel agenda.
Is it not high time that we had a law similar to the US whereby any NGO that receives most of its funding directly from a foreign government or a foreign government’s NGO must register as a foreign agent? At least we would know which of our “friends” is behind their actions.
It might best if they also had to publish in all newspapers once a year (if not twice-yearly) a full financial statement showing the amount received from each foreign source, how it was spent, and also the salaries paid to their executives.
After all, we also have a law ensuring freedom of information.
Give her credit
Sir, – What an amazing achievement to be placed on a list of the best governors of the world’s central banks (“Flug named among world’s best central- bank governors,” Business & Finance, September 17). Yet this is reported at the bottom of Page 17, not at the top. In fact, it should have been on the front page of your newspaper along with a picture and interview.
What do the prime minister and finance minister have to say about this? Don’t forget, at time of Karnit Flug’s appointment, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu basically said “anyone but her.”
Credit should be given where credit is due.