Re “Chewing on Jewish Declines” (July 8), it is now with near regularity that I read articles in your newspaper bemoaning the disappearance of non-observant Jews and/or Jewish institutions, while noting the growth of the observant Modern Orthodox and haredi communities.
The community is certainly indebted to Drs. Scott Goldberg and David Pelcovitz for supplying empirical evidence for the texting-on-Shabbat phenomenon (Letters, July 1). While at the end of the day, whether around a fifth of teenagers text on Shabbat (as the study suggests) or as many as half (as the newspaper article suggested), it is certainly a significant enough percentage to warrant serious consideration as to how to do deal with it.
Having said that, I believe that three caveats need to be added to the conclusions of the study:
In the editorial on President Barack Obama’s relations with Israel (“How Obama Can Assure Israelis,” July 8), you go out of your way to paint what ought to be considered good qualities of our president as flaws, and make demands of him out of all proportion with the reality of his position, and those of Israel and the United States.
I read with interest Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz’ Opinion “Circumcision Is Out of Vogue” (July 1) and the follow up letter by reader Jeffrey Kass (July 8). Both writers favor infant circumcision; there is no real dispute between them.
It was hard for me to believe the title of the Opinion article by an Orthodox rabbi, Chaim Steinmetz: “Circumcision Is Out Of Vogue” (Opinion, July 1).
The statement that “circumcision is a marketing nightmare; outside of a deep commitment to Judaism, based on a biblical command, there’s no good reason to do it,” is outrageous. It is with much regret that there are many secular and misinformed Jews that are a very potent voice against circumcision, but to hear an Orthodox rabbi say this is really sinful and abhorrent.
Our parsha begins with the reward that Pinchas receives for his zealotry. It is important to internalize Pinchas’ uniqueness and understand that the special covenant of peace that he received and the many miracles that helped him [Sanhedrin 82b] were given specifically to a person of his rare qualities.
Just when we thought we’d had enough sex-mania among high-powered men, we got hit this summer with the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal. John Edwards disappeared into legal limbo after admitting that he fathered a child outside his marriage. Anthony Weiner vanished into a rehab program after confessing that he had placed lewd photos of himself online. But L’affaire DSK, as the French call it, continues to make headlines.
I was leafing through the pages of several Jewish newspapers on my desk, and was struck that nearly every issue worth debating somehow revolved around Israel. Sure, there were other articles of interest, such as the Jewish-Korean family raising their children on “Kugel and Kimchi,” but none so interesting or heart-wrenching as whether J Street should be allowed into the local Jewish community relations council or whether the Israeli government should accept the parameters of President Obama’s recent State Department speech.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.