In regards to the varied discussions and positions on Cordoba House: When my Jewish brethren say, “We should be open-minded and fair and not bigoted, etc.,” it is something I have come to respect and truly admire and love about “our people.” We have always been openly pro and con on many topics, and are our own best supporters and detractors.
As a former national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, I agree with National Director Abe Foxman’s observation that the World Trade Center site stands for many of us as a communal cemetery, and that the feelings of many Americans and others about the suitability of the location of the mosque should be respected.
It is not a matter of property rights, freedom of religion or tolerance. It is simply a matter of how many people think and feel.
I laud the decision to clear the way for the Cordoba House to be built (“In Wake of ADL, Jewish Groups Back Ground Zero Mosque,” Aug. 6). Stopping its construction would have amounted to denial of religious freedom.
While I understand the need for sensitivity in addressing the concerns of relatives of 9/11 victims, allowing the Cordoba Initiative to build a peaceful community center shows the radical, evil supporters of Osama bin Laden that Americans gladly espouse the attitude of tolerance that he so abhors.
Regarding “A Mosque Near Ground Zero” (Editorial, July 30): Naming this project after Cordoba, the capital of Islamic Spain, and placing such an edifice at the site, or even near, the World Trade Center hallowed ground, is not the act of a friend. It far more resembles, as in past Islamic conquest efforts, the placing of mosques atop the sacred — or even semi-sacred — structures of the vanquished.
Gary Rosenblatt does not hesitate to tackle difficult matters, but his latest column about the Rotem Conversion Bill is off the mark.
For more than 15 years, as well as in our several meetings with MK David Rotem, we have emphasized our strong desire to address the issue of the status of olim from the former Soviet Union. There are multiple ways in which the situation could be meaningfully addressed.
Steve Lipman does great job reporting on Rabbi Avi Weiss having a woman-led and mixed pews Kabbalat Shabbat service (“Weiss Moves Beyond ‘Rabba,’” Aug. 6), in particular, devoting much of the article to the reaction of Rabbi Weiss’ own congregants. This is important because it is ultimately the people, the members of each congregation who select a rabbi and abide by his policy, who will determine if there is going to be any substantial change in Modern Orthodox ritual.
Gary Rosenblatt’s column (Between The Lines, Aug. 6) which attempts to put the conversion bill in perspective is in my view unbalanced. While I agree that the primary concern of those arguing about the bill should be the immigrants in Israel, there is no reason to accuse the North American Jewish community (or those of us in Israel who are against the bill) of abandoning the immigrants who seek conversion. In fact, should the bill pass, it might actually endanger conversion because the Chief Rabbi would have the legal authority to dismiss (or annul) those conversions.
Regarding the story on the conversion bill, while I understand the greater good argument and certainly thought that the way Rabbi [Chaim] Druchman was treated [his conversions were revoked by the Chief Rabbinate] was disgraceful and more importantly sinful, there is another issue (“On Rotem Bill, Focus Should Be On Israel,” Aug. 6). What about all of the olim who are currently in Israel or who plan to immigrate who were converted, either at birth or subsequently? They have been in a state of limbo for the past two years, and this proposal is their death knell.
In discussing the challenges facing many in the day school movement, Tamar Snyder (“Can Day Schools Survive?” July 23) offers little more than “yelling fire in a crowded theater” without a critical perspective or call for serious thinking. The demise of day schools as implied in Snyder’s article is happily premature.