Your JInsider column of March 19 on regrettable moments cites a Talmudic vignette on “rejection of Jesus.” In such a potentially controversial take on this Midrash, the source in Masechet Sotah 47a should have been cited. Further, the variant readings in different Talmudic manuscripts should have been cited.
I read Gary Rosenblatt’s column on the PBS documentary “Worse than War” based on Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s book with great interest (“Preventing Genocide Is Easier Than Stopping It,” April 16).
The documentary has not yet aired here in Israel, but we all look forward to its viewing soon. We had no shortage of Shoah media showings throughout our own commemorations in Israel, as we have each year on Yom HaShoah.
This year I attended one of the thousands of ceremonies held in our middle schools here in Modiin.
I try to treat my colleagues with respect, but I resent being compared to a Toyota salesman and I strongly suspect that God may not be fond of being compared to a Chelm story (“Toyota, Auschwitz and Chelm,” Opinion, Rabbi Joshua Hammerman).
American Jews, and Israel, have long taken pride in the fact that support for the Jewish state is a bipartisan issue among political leaders in this country. Whether a Democrat or Republican was in the White House for the last three decades, Israel was viewed as a strong ally in every sense of the word.
But there are cracks in the façade of late, perhaps inevitable in an age of increasing partisanship in Washington, yet troubling nonetheless and in need of attention.
Last weekend’s New York Times report on a secret memo by Defense Secretary Robert Gates warning that the Obama administration needs a better long-term strategy for dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat reflects some disturbing realities.
People who do bad things should be punished. It is something we learn in our schools and teach in our synagogues.
But as Jews, we are often conflicted when one of our own commits a crime. While a sense of community may give some the urge to protect a community member, we are embarrassed that the crime has come from someone who carries a Jewish identity. And we are steadfast that those responsible must face the same punishment as everyone else. Advocating for or even anticipating anything less would send the wrong message about our community.
The case of little Ela Reyes raises many thorny issues about church/state entanglement, parenting in a multicultural world, and the challenge of religious pluralism. Ela’s parents, Rebecca Reyes (born Jewish) and her now ex-husband Joseph Reyes (raised Catholic, converted to Judaism, and now returning to the Church) found themselves in court over the issue of his right to bring Ela to church. Cook County (Illinois) Judge Renee Goldfarb ruled that Mr. Reyes has the right to do so.
It must be nice to live in a world of Jewish absolutes. Denizens of the black and white Jewish world experience no discomfort. For them life is simple. Neither the extreme left nor the extreme right has any doubts. Their belief system permits no dichotomies, allows for no flexibility, and frowns on compromise. This is especially true of religion, and politics. More so when they are combined.