Editorial & Opinion

Hadassah At 100

02/21/2012
Editorial

Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization, has had its share of negative attention of late. A major victim of the Madoff Ponzi scheme, it continues to face financial challenges, and a top executive recently accused several lay leaders of improper use of funds.

But as the largest Jewish organization in America prepares to celebrate its centennial, it’s important to step back and look at the remarkable accomplishments over the last 10 decades of a group 300,000 members strong.

Fighting Fair: The Ethics Of Warfare

02/21/2012
Editor And Publisher

What distinguishes a legitimate soldier from a war criminal is how he conducts himself on the battlefield. But what if there is no battlefield and the combatants don’t wear uniforms?

Over the last 25 years Israel has found itself engaged in non-conventional, asymmetrical battles as Palestinian militants deliberately have turned conventional warfare on its head.

Gary Rosenblatt

Grace Notes

02/21/2012

In Vasily Grossman’s vast, magisterial novel of World War II, “Life and Fate,” he pauses for a moment to speak of the power of music:

“People in camps, people in prisons, people who have escaped from prison, people going to their deaths, know the extraordinary power of music. No one else can experience music in quite the same way. What music resurrects in the soul of a man about to die is neither hope nor thought, but simply the blind, heart-breaking miracle of life itself.”

Diversity In Great Neck

02/21/2012

We enjoyed Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “From a Sephardic Scholar, An Enlightened Approach.”  (Jan. 10). However, we were saddened that you included a parenthetical critique of our community as an example of a place where, in your understanding, Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews are “far apart and sometimes distrustful” of one another. To be sure, diversity of culture and traditions poses its challenges and we still have much work to do in this regard.

Open-Door Policy

02/21/2012

I am a former trustee at a Reform synagogue that had an open-door High Holiday policy. The synagogue merged with another Reform congregation that has an open-door policy for certain services. Though there is no excuse for the treatment given to Francine Klagsbrun’s friend, people need to step up to the plate and remember that for the three days of the year they attend, we as trustees need to find the money to pay the rent, pay salaries, pay for gas and lights, and keep up the facilities year-round.

Chabad Accepting

02/21/2012

It was no surprise to read Francine Klagsbrun write that her friend, searching for a welcoming synagogue where he could pray for High Holy Days services, found an open and warm reception at the local Chabad in Westchester (“Synagogues Should Be More Welcoming,” Opinion, Jan. 13).

What was surprising to read was her immediate statement afterward, tempering her praise of Chabad with the fact that she finds it “cult-like” and registering her disappointment with its refusal to recognize non-Orthodox movements and its lack of egalitarianism.

Visit Settlements

02/21/2012

In your article “Mission Accomplished, Ecumenically” (Feb. 3), Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch is to be commended for his interfaith trip to Israel. In doing so he has changed many attitudes toward Jews and Israel.
I just wish that he would also visit Efrat and other well-established Jewish towns in the West Bank to try to give his guests a balanced approach to what some people call an occupation.

I know he is against the settlements, but in the true nature of democracy, giving a chance to those he doesn’t agree with would make him more enlightening.
 

Safety Net for ‘Un-Orthodox’ Services

02/21/2012

I read with great interest the story about Deborah Feldman and her decision to leave the Satmar community (“Unapologetically ‘Unorthodox,’” Feb. 17). Feldman’s journey out of her community reflects many of the challenges that confront those whom we serve at Footsteps, the only organization in North America with a mission to assist ultra-Orthodox men and women interested in exploring life in the secular world.

Toward Inclusion

02/21/2012

I read with great interest and concern Sarina Roffé’s cry from the heart about the difficulties facing deaf young people within the Jewish community today and the need for “heroic efforts to change the special needs stereotype” (“Heroic Efforts Needed To Change Special Needs Stereotype,” Opinion, Feb. 3.)

Special Needs Education

02/21/2012

While I empathize with Sarina Roffe’s plight (“Heroic Efforts Needed To Change Special Needs Stereotype,” Opinion, Feb. 3), I found it disappointing that she did not detail what these heroic efforts might be. She also appeared to be perpetuating the stereotype that children with special needs cannot receive a quality mainstream yeshiva education. Today, there are many organizations and institutions in New York and beyond that make it possible for children with a wide variety of special needs to receive a Jewish education alongside their non-disabled peers.

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