Regarding your article about the offer for a bribe to recruit students (“Rabbi Offered Cash To Steer Students To Israeli Yeshiva,” Nov. 19): like everyone who heard about this behavior, I was shocked and embarrassed by this egregious breach of halacha and ethics. The person and institution responsible for this reprehensible behavior should be duly punished.
For the record, I wish to clarify my position on the halachic definition of death as pertains to the Dec. 3 story on the Rabbinical Council of America report on brain death and the manner in which my views were cited (“RCA Backs Off Stand On Brain Death For Transplants”).
As an Orthodox physician working at a major New York City hospital, I am distressed to read the Rabbinical Council of America position on organ donations as you reported (“RCA Backs Off Stand On Brain Death For Transplants,” Dec. 3).
The recently released study by the Vaad Halacha of the Rabbinical Council of America that may reverse the RCA’s 1991 halachic acceptance of brain death as death may have serious consequences for Orthodox Jews needing organs from brain-dead donors (“RCA Backs Off Stand On Brain Death For Transplants,” Dec. 3).
In addition, the study will raise questions about the ethical integrity of halacha among Jews and non-Jews.
In his thoughtful review of Gal Beckerman’s book on the Soviet Jewry movement “Inside an ‘Epic Struggle,’” (Fall Books, Nov. 19), Jerome Chanes expertly discusses Beckerman’s deftness in describing both the impact of the movement on “the inter-organizational cholent” of U.S. Jewry and other virtues of the study.
In your article, “Not Getting To The Mountain Top” (Nov. 19), and in the play, “Imagining Heschel,” I fear the impression created on the rabbi’s ultimate impact on the Vatican’s Second Council, which culminated in “Nostra Aetate,” was not properly represented. To state that “Heschel failed” [as Richard Dreyfuss did] is dead wrong.
Jonathan Mark writes that if Howard Jonas and his fellow investors are successful in extracting shale oil in Israel, they will be “giving Israel a gift beyond all their prior philanthropy combined” (“The Great Israeli Oil Rush,” Nov.19). Really?
What percentage of future oil profits will go to the Israeli government, and will they be spent to alleviate Israel’s dire social problems?
Do we really aspire for Israel to be the next Saudi Arabia? Jonathan Mark seems to have drunk the Kool-Aid served up by Howard Jonas and other backers of oil shale exploration in Israel (“The Great Israeli Oil Rush,” Nov. 19). Mark devotes just one paragraph to the opposition, led by Israel’s environmental movement, which deserves extremely serious consideration.