It is with great sadness that I read your article on how some of our young people are not going to seders (“Passover Seder Losing Steam As Key Marker Of Affiliation,” April 9). A seder done traditionally is a wonderful experience that can evoke discussion around the table on the very fundamental issue of freedom. It’s an issue that is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.
Steve Lipman’s “Passover Seder Losing Steam As Key Marker Of Affiliation” (April 9) quoted me as doubting the “drop in seder attendance is as dramatic as indicated.” Unfortunately he didn’t recount the basis for my doubts.
Here’s one example that just considers national survey data. Lipman quotes figures that suggest that in the 1990s seder attendance stood at about 90 percent and now has fallen to 70 percent, according to the 2013 Pew survey.
Ethan Bronner of The New York Times feels “exasperated” (according to Gary Rosenblatt’s April 4 article, “Seeking The Middle In The Middle East”) that he has been accused of anti-Israel bias. He then proceeds to mouth precisely the kind of biased statements that have elicited such criticism.
In his Letter (March 28), Gil Kulick proposes that, among other things, Prime Minister Netanyahu could say to the Palestinians that “Israel will immediately cease building new housing for settlers across the Green Line until an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is concluded.” I would suggest a one-word change: Replace “until” with “when.” Otherwise the Palestinians will have no incentive to ever conclude a peace agreement.
In defending a gendered Orthodox Judaism (“Why a Gendered Judaism Makes Sense,” Opinion online), Rabbis Chaim Strauchler and Joshua Strulowitz ask why “a standard for egalitarian living would be demanded of religion, but not from the marketplace or from popular culture.”
This argument by analogy fails to take into account that societal gender norms are not binding on any person — no girl is prohibited from wearing blue, and men have the freedom to see romantic comedies if they enjoy them. The prescriptive halachic gender roles Rabbis Strauchler and Strulowitz defend, on the other hand, do not accommodate or even acknowledge the many women and men who do not comfortably fit traditional models of femininity and masculinity.
Gary Rosenblatt tried his hardest to say something nice about President Obama for nearly two columns, then he couldn’t resist any longer and collapsed into the John McCain mindset of there never being a war he didn’t like (“How Obama Should Deal With Bullies,” March 28).