In recent months, several incidents, seemingly centered on Israel, sparked reactions nationwide, from both academic institutions and Hillels. I would argue, though, that these incidents have much less to do with Israel than we might think.
I never met Ariel Sharon personally, but I feel like I have lost a close friend.
In August 2004, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon had stated his intention to evacuate the Gaza Strip. The decision elicited strong reactions from across the Israeli and American Jewish political spectrums.
Ariel Sharon is now buried in the land he loved, next to his beloved wife Lily, on a hilltop overlooking the verdant fields of Havat Ha-shikmim, the ranch he retreated to as often as possible each week for the peace and quiet that eluded him in public life. Having served as the American ambassador to Israel during almost all of Sharon’s tenure as prime minister, I had the privilege of being named to the U.S. delegation to his funeral, headed by Vice President Biden. It was a day for remembrance and, to some degree, closure for the millions of Israelis who mourned Sharon’s passing.
If the distinguished “Co-Segan” (gabbai) of Congregation Shearith Israel has a beef with The Jewish Week for failing to characterize his shul as “in-vogue,” why take it out on Lincoln Square Synagogue? (Letter to the Editor, Jan. 10).
Your Editorial (“Remembering Sharon”) and reports last week failed to mention one additional, very important part of Ariel Sharon’s permanent legacy.
When he announced the withdrawal from Gaza, many members of his party, the Likud, protested. So he announced that he would follow the democratic process. He would conduct a referendum among Likud members, and he pledged that he would be bound by the results.
Yehuda Kurtzer (“When Metaphor Fails,” Opinion, Jan. 3) decries comparisons between Israel’s enemies and Nazi Germany. I suspect that most Jews would be less likely to make such analogies if the other side was not constantly invoking Hitler.
I want to thank you for the generous story The Jewish Week published about my being hired as the president and CEO of the Hebrew Charter School Center (“Civil Rights Lawyer Tapped To Promote Hebrew Charter Schools,” Jan. 10). But I do have to clear up a misimpression the article may have left readers with about one part of my resume.
Count me among the admirers of Rabbi Avi Weiss (“Time To Stand Up To Israel’s Chief Rabbis,” Jan. 10). I have profound respect and admiration for him as a rabbi and a mensch. If he tells me that a person is Jewish, his word is good enough for me.
I, too, am one of those American rabbis whose conversions are not accepted by the Rabbanut, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate (“Time To Stand Up To Israel’s Chief Rabbis,” Jan. 10).
Truth be told, I am not at all offended by this and do not regard it as an affront to my Orthodox observance. In fact I have always had a very strong relationship with the Sephardic Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
Gary Rosenblatt’s column last week focused on the disturbing effort by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate to monopolize and centralize its power, and the passive response of its partner in North America, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), with more than 1,000 member Orthodox rabbis (“Time To Stand Up To The Chief Rabbis,” Jan. 10).