The development of the massive gas fields off Israel’s coast in the Mediterranean (“Energy Promise In The Promised Land,” Dec. 20) holds the potential of energy independence for the State of Israel; unfortunately it also highlights the ways in which the political impediments inherent in the running of the country can hamper legitimate technological and economic progress.
Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg highlights Nelson Mandela’s belief in forgiveness and reconciliation, as we are constantly reminded since his death (“Mandela, Apartheid And The Jews,” Opinion, Dec. 13). This clashes with King David’s deathbed order to his son, Solomon, to exact retribution against Joab and Shimi for the wrongs they perpetrated against David, and to reward the sons of Barzilai for the good he did to him [1 Kings 2:5-9].
Rori Picker Neiss (“The Prenup Can Help Everyone,” online Opinion) is “shocked” at my response to your reporter, who asked me for the rationale of esteemed rabbinical authorities’ opposition to prenuptial agreements focused on a future divorce. I explained that “there is a concern that introducing and focusing on the possible dissolution of a marriage when it is just beginning is not conducive to the health of the marriage.”
Much has been written about the gap between what the Conservative movement preaches and what its adherents practice (“The Mourning After: Pew’s Unheralded Surprise,” Opinion, Dec. 6). Generally, this has been interpreted to mean that Conservative Jews practiced “less” than the movement called for. I’d like to share a variation on this theme of the divide between “preach and practice.”
As a former destination wedding bride [and Jewish woman] who now designs jewelry specifically for destination wedding brides, “Destination Weddings, With a Jewish Twist” (Dec. 13) was such a great reminder for brides.
In your N.Y. Minute Q&A, “Vows To Serve The Young In Young Israel” (Nov. 29), my synagogue, Mt. Sinai Jewish Center of Washington Heights, is referred to. I am cited by Rabbi Perry Tirschwell as having said that “no one is providing services” for the 500 singles who join us for Friday night davening. This statement is factually incorrect. As anyone who has entered our shul can attest, we provide a whole array of dynamic social and spiritual services aimed primarily at singles and young marrieds.
Nelson Mandela’s support for Yasir Arafat and the PLO and his membership in The Elders are not just minor parts of his legacy and certainly do distract from the good he did (“The Mandela Legacy,” Editorial, Dec. 13).
In 1990, Mandela likened Israel to a “terrorist state” and declared that “we do not regard the PLO as a terrorist organization.” When the terrorist Arafat died, Mandela called him an “outstanding freedom fighter.”
Regarding “New Agunah Court Could Hinge On Haredi Rabbis” (Dec. 13): Throughout the centuries there have been various takanahs [decrees] involving divorce. During the Babylonian period there was a more liberal view regarding divorce and during the time of the Rambam a stricter adherence in giving a divorce. During the 19th century in Germany there was a high divorce rate due to the rise of financial status of women and the migration of Jews in Eastern Europe. The majority of these women were granted divorces in order to preserve the community. Be that as it may there is no reason today for women to be at the mercy of bet dins that do not allow a woman a divorce from her husband — whatever the reason.
To complete your discussion on the use of pre-nuptial agreements in the Orthodox community (“New Agunah Court Could Hinge On Haredi Rabbi,” Dec. 13), it should be noted that the International Rabbinic Fellowship, a group of 150 Orthodox rabbis, clergy and community scholars, requires, as a condition of membership, that all its members use a halachically valid pre-nuptial agreement at all weddings that they officiate at.