A Shanda


It’s really a shanda (shame) that ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel attack Orthodox Jews for not living up to their standards (“In Beit Shemesh, Modesty Wars,” Dec. 30). It’s not bad enough that millions of Muslims want to eradicate the world of Jews.
I can’t remember from my yeshiva days anywhere in the Torah or the Talmud where it says “thou shalt spit on and/or stone any Jew who does not dress or act to your liking” ...  especially if they’re 8-year-old girls on their way to yeshiva.

Distressed By Hooligans


As a pulpit rabbi and as an Orthodox Jew, I am deeply distressed by the harassment and violence that has been perpetrated by the hooligans of Beit Shemesh, Israel (“In Beit Shemesh, Modesty Wars,” Dec. 30).

All of their despicable actions are diametrically opposed to our Torah, Jewish tradition and the teachings of any and all Jewish leaders.

So that my silence not be misconstrued as passive acceptance of their horrid behavior, I condemn it in the strongest terms — as do the vast, overwhelming majority of Orthodox Jews all over the world.

Defends Controversial Yeshiva


Joshua Mitnick’s article, “Amid Settler Crackdown, Hilltop Town And Its Yeshiva Still Defiant” (Dec. 23) raises alarms about, in his words, the “hilltop youth” the “vigilantes” and the “fringe group of settlers marauding through Palestinian villages and [engaging in] mosque burnings.” There is great controversy over whether or not the government is cracking down sufficiently on these “Jewish terrorists” led by their rabbis who are “inciting the youth.”

Attention To Special Needs


We would like to thank Jonathan Mark for his article, “More Needed For Special Jews” (Dec. 16), which described the Ruderman Conference and some of the wonderful work being done in the Jewish community in relation to individuals with disabilities. It is inspiring to learn that so many communities are interested in creating more fully inclusive environments for all of their members. We also cannot agree more with Felicia Herman about the importance of including a conversation about disabilities in every Jewish communal conversation.

Inclusive Jewish Community


Thank you for spotlighting the enormous contribution that philanthropist Jay Ruderman is making to raise the consciousness of the world Jewish community about our obligation to include and support people with disabilities as full members of our community (“More Needed For Special Jews,” Dec. 16).

Acts Of Kindness


I felt it important to respond to the essay by Avram Mlotek, a caring, wonderful young man who has brightened my ailing, frail brother’s life through his songs, warmth and Yiddish communication (“My Lunch Breaks With Joe,” Back of the Book, Dec. 30).

Numbers Don’t Count


Rabbi David Wolpe quotes an Israeli scholar saying that, because we have have over 100 mitzvot about economic justice and only 24 about kashrut, we are taught that we should be at least equally concerned about the former (“Business Ethics,” Dec. 2).

Rabbi Jake


Jonathan Marks’ article “More Needed for Jews With Special Needs” (Dec. 16) highlights an important issue in our community that often resonates only with those families who have severe special-needs children themselves.

Reform Choice Z


The Reform movement is indeed in crisis of losing its youth “with the last hora of the bar/bat mitzvah party” (“Reform Meets Amid Challenges,” Dec. 23).

Gingrich Pandering


Newt Gingrich’s claim regarding a reversal of Mideast policy calling Palestinians an “invented” people and opposing a two-state solution, all of which contradict the views of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the majority of the Israeli people, are clearly aimed at securing the vote of American Jewry in the coming presidential election (Editorial, “Truth And (No) Consequences,” Dec. 16).

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