I am from a generation that already 30 years ago considered a year in Israel for yeshiva study after high school a privilege and a gift, by no means a birthright.
All that has changed, and what we find today is a gap-year industry that, as noted in your story (“Rabbi Offered Cash To Steer Students To Israeli Yeshiva,” Nov. 19), has led to a fierce competition for students and a free-enterprise environment. It’s a buyers’ market with new, “boutique” schools opening up each year.
I am sorry that Abby Backer, the student leader of a J Street-affiliated group, was spit upon at a debate on Israel (“Exclude Me At Your Own Peril,” Opinion, Oct. 29). But can she understand the fear the woman who did this must feel in order to do what she did?
Rabbi Steven Greenberg’s Opinion column had no teeth (“The Cost Of Standing Idly By,” Oct. 12). Out of misguided respect for a rabbi’s privacy, Rabbi Greenberg did not name names.
The Jewish community has the right to know which one of its leaders thinks it’s best for Orthodox homosexual teenagers to commit suicide. Rabbis, as communal leaders and teachers, are public figures. What they do and say — whether in public or in private — is significant and pertinent to those that follow their advice and rulings.
The Jewish Week heroically strove for balance in its feature on the American Jewish Committee poll showing most Jews support Arizona’s immigration law SB1070 (“Curve Ball For Jewish Leaders On Immigration,” Oct. 22).
I was quoted at length, but the need to report the views of many establishment representatives, all opposed to mine, may leave the impression I speak for a minority.
The problem highlighted by Gary Rosenblatt’s timely column, “Where The Boys Aren’t” (Nov. 5), is real, but readers could be left with the impression that it is also universal. While Conservative and Reform institutions report a decline in enrollment among young men, as well as a decrease in male attendance at Reform services, such trends are not the case in Orthodox circles. Before one dismisses this distinction as based upon the differing gender roles in Orthodoxy, the same is true of our outreach to unaffiliated youth.
It is quite apparent that the major problem with liberal synagogues is indifference (“Reach Out And Touch A Congregant,” Nov. 12). There is no compelling, e.g., halachic, reason to attend services, and everything from soccer to shopping seems more fun. Hence it is no wonder liberal Jews de-prioritize worship while expecting their shuls to be there for them when it comes to bar mitzvahs, weddings and burials.
A new model of membership dues is indeed called for — namely one that rewards regular attendance.