The Editorial, “Making Mischief Of The Parade,” (April 11) stated that the Celebrate Israel parade is celebratory, and not political. But in allowing certain groups to march, it is the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and UJA-Federation of New York that have actually politicized the event and created unnecessary controversy. Supporters of Israel with differing views have every right to march in the parade. But they shouldn’t be allowed to march under a banner that supports the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. That does more damage than good. The BDS supporters give added incentive to Israel’s enemies to ask yet more concessions while giving nothing in return.
Our group, BeCounted4Israel, disagrees with the Editorial, “Making Mischief of the Parade,” and Steve Lipman’s article, “Israel’s ‘Unity’ Parade Set For June 1 But Some Groups Seek To Ban Others” (both April 11). It is not false to say that supporters of the BDS movement are being allowed to march. The New Israel Fund, B’Tselem, and Partners for a Progressive Israel support a boycott of products from Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) and undermine Israel in other ways that also foster hatred against Israel and Jews.
It is with a feeling of heartbreak that I read the column of Rabbi Jerome Epstein, who bemoans the fact that the Conservative movement is on a steady decline and needs to redefine itself in order to avoid its “predicted death “ by some observers (“Key To Conservative Survival: Returning To Our Core,” Opinion, April 18).
Rabbi Jerome Epstein served the Conservative movement for many years with distinction. I am glad that he has recognized the movement’s decline, but his “solutions” are the very same concepts that have led to its attrition and decline (“Key To Conservative Survival: Returning To The Core,” Opinion, April 18).
Rabbi Richman is devoting his efforts towards the Temple Mount and a possible Third Temple (“Mounting A Challenge To The Status Quo,” April 11). I would like to remind all of us what the result was of the First Temple. For seven years, King Solomon taxed the people to such an extent that it helped create the major split in our ranks and exacerbated the division with the northern tribes; his son Reheboam, continued the taxing practice which led to disaster.
The headline on the April 11 story about the East Ramapo public school district, “It’s Now Orthodox vs. Orthodox In Ramapo,” is stretching the truth. In contrast to the membership and Orthodox electorate of the school district, how many of them are affiliated with Uri L’Tzedek?
In response to the online Opinion piece by Stephanie Ives, “Why New Israel Fund Is Marching For Israel,” there is opposition to NIF participation in the Israel unity parade because some of its grantees boycott products produced beyond Israel’s 1949 armistice line. Such boycotts, unlike that of cottage cheese, and of stores open on Shabbat by the very observant, as mentioned by the author as justification, are far different. These are out of religious conviction or to lower the price of an item. Boycotts of “settlement products” perpetuated by the far left are organized and meant to cripple existing businesses based upon ideological differences.
I applaud the efforts of the Ruderman Foundation in bringing greater awareness of American Jewish life to Israeli leaders (“Schooling The Knesset,” Between The Lines, April 9). Especially valuable was the discussion of the various denominations and the limitations of a denominational system in serving Klal Yisrael. I am concerned, however, that those very limitations were reflected in the makeup of the discussants. It would have been valuable to all concerned, and particularly enlightening to the Israeli leaders in attendance, to have included representatives of post-denominational and pluralistic institutions in the gathering.
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.