In his essay opposing central religious authority (“In the Legacy of the Rav,” Opinion, March 14), Rabbi Avi Weiss misuses the fact that the revered Rosh Yeshiva of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik would occasionally ask young rabbis who came to him, “What do you think?”
You describe the relentless psychological war on Israel with great precision in your Editorial, “Who’s Teaching (Defending) Zionism Anymore?” (Feb. 28). It’s one thing to question Israeli policies, virtually a national sport in Israel itself. It’s quite another to assert that Israel is illegitimate, or to seek through boycott, divestment, and sanctions to undermine the nation and flood it with enough refugees to alter its Jewish character. These latter opponents give immeasurable comfort to anti-Semites everywhere. Even legitimate questioning of Israeli policies in non-Jewish, public venues emboldens those with more nefarious motives than changing a national policy. That’s not an argument against engaging in such questioning; it’s a plea for care and caution.
As Jews, we are obligated not merely to study Torah, but to live the moral and ethical lessons contained therein. Our Tanach is replete with parables from which we are to learn the imperative of righteous action. One example is that we may not stand idly by while our fellow man is being attacked because we have a duty to protect our community. That said, the objection of those Israeli Orthodox who refuse to serve in the military (with support from their American counterparts), is extremely troubling. (“Haredim And The Draft,” Editorial, March 14)
The front-page story, “Beersheva’s Big Tech Break” (Feb. 21), should have included the real reasons why that city is poised to grow so rapidly. The city has experienced a sea change in its outlook and development in recent years. For more than a decade, the Jewish National Fund has led the effort to convert a garbage strewn ancient wadi in the heart of the city into the Beersheva River Walk Park, an urban park that is about four times the size of New York’s Central Park.
As a member of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun — and one who does not always agree with our rabbis — I read with astonishment Anita Altman’s invitation to leave the shul because of that occasional disagreement (“Support for BJ Rabbis,” Letters, March 7).