I saw the moral of Rabbi David Wolpe’s Musings column, “Redemption Song” (Oct. 17), coming, but nonetheless, it is an important lesson for us all: Live the life of one who would enlighten, motivate, and assist our fellow men. Sometimes we feel that a mitzvah is “insignificant,” but, what WE think is of no importance, it is the doing of that mitzvah that is important.
It is very admirable that Phyllis Chesler has taken the time to read the opera, study the libretto and watch the movie of the opera (“Rhetoric Rising As ‘Klinghoffer’ Opera Nears,” Oct. 17) before judging it. Many of us haven’t the time and, although we share her feelings, and find the staging of this opera deeply, painfully objectionable, we hesitate to criticize it at the risk of being called unfair for judging a work we haven’t seen. That is always a legitimate concern, and I almost always share it.
Regarding “Rhetoric Rising As ‘Klinghoffer’ Opera Nears” (Oct. 17), in these frightening days with blatant anti-Semitism on the rise throughout the world, it is more important now than ever for the the organized Jewish community to well-preserve and well-spend its moral capital. Moral capital consists, in large measure, of fairness and credibility.
The virulent attack on John Adams’ “Death of Klinghoffer” opera squanders that credibility. The opera gives voice to Palestinians’ having grievances but the voice given to the terrorist “Rambo,” his portrayal before the audience as he spouts his vitriol, is (as Stewart Ain’s article reflects) that of a transparently murderous Jew-hating bigot.
Regarding “Synagogues Get Their Own (Scape) Goat” (Sept. 26), on Yom Kippur, as part of our teen services, we received submissions to our Temple Emanu-El eScapegoat (www.emanuelnyc.org/eScapegoat) — a very contemporary and immediate take on the “Al Chait” prayer. There were many submissions to the goat. These are the ones we are sharing:
How disappointing that Francine Klagsbrun (“Exploring The World Of Chasidim,” Opinion, Oct.10), as she reviews Joseph Berger’s book on American chasidim, is unable to find anything positive to write about the strongest, healthiest and only growing Jewish religious group. Chasidim have the smallest assimilation and intermarriage rates. While the Reform and Conservative movements are being decimated by assimilation and intermarriage, and even the Modern Orthodox have lost thousands, the chasidim, with their insular communities, are vibrant.
Regarding Gideon Taylor’s Opinion piece, “Why Immigration Is A Jewish Issue” (Oct. 10), I immediately think of those who must understand that they have to adapt to America, its customs, its traditions, its way of life, because that’s where they chose to immigrate. They must understand that they have to integrate and learn to live in America. They must understand that it is for them to change their lifestyle, not the Americans who so generously welcomed them.
Elana Maryles Sztokman assumes a great deal in her Opinion article, “My Feminist Struggles With Yom Kippur,” Oct. 3. She assumes that all of observant female-hood shares her offended sensibilities against the “privileged men.” She has also found every religious man who practices his faith as Jewish law dictates guilty of some sort of crime.
Elana Maryles Sztokman is entitled to her own opinion but not to her own facts (“My Feminist Struggles With Yom Kippur,” Oct. 3). Classical Judaism as codified in halacha has never been gender- neutral, nor class-neutral for that matter.