Rabbi Steven Greenberg’s Opinion column had no teeth (“The Cost Of Standing Idly By,” Oct. 12). Out of misguided respect for a rabbi’s privacy, Rabbi Greenberg did not name names.
The Jewish community has the right to know which one of its leaders thinks it’s best for Orthodox homosexual teenagers to commit suicide. Rabbis, as communal leaders and teachers, are public figures. What they do and say — whether in public or in private — is significant and pertinent to those that follow their advice and rulings.
I am sorry that Abby Backer, the student leader of a J Street-affiliated group, was spit upon at a debate on Israel (“Exclude Me At Your Own Peril,” Opinion, Oct. 29). But can she understand the fear the woman who did this must feel in order to do what she did?
The Jewish Week heroically strove for balance in its feature on the American Jewish Committee poll showing most Jews support Arizona’s immigration law SB1070 (“Curve Ball For Jewish Leaders On Immigration,” Oct. 22).
I was quoted at length, but the need to report the views of many establishment representatives, all opposed to mine, may leave the impression I speak for a minority.
The problem highlighted by Gary Rosenblatt’s timely column, “Where The Boys Aren’t” (Nov. 5), is real, but readers could be left with the impression that it is also universal. While Conservative and Reform institutions report a decline in enrollment among young men, as well as a decrease in male attendance at Reform services, such trends are not the case in Orthodox circles. Before one dismisses this distinction as based upon the differing gender roles in Orthodoxy, the same is true of our outreach to unaffiliated youth.
It is quite apparent that the major problem with liberal synagogues is indifference (“Reach Out And Touch A Congregant,” Nov. 12). There is no compelling, e.g., halachic, reason to attend services, and everything from soccer to shopping seems more fun. Hence it is no wonder liberal Jews de-prioritize worship while expecting their shuls to be there for them when it comes to bar mitzvahs, weddings and burials.
A new model of membership dues is indeed called for — namely one that rewards regular attendance.
It was a pleasure to read the article on the completion on the Steinsaltz Talmud (“The Longest Translation,” Nov. 5). I have used these volumes at the Daf Hayomi classes that I attend for almost two decades. The class takes place in the Agudath Israel of Belle Harbor, Queens, and those who lead the class have always been interested in Rabbi Steinsaltz’s approach.
The shameful news of alleged fraudulent Holocaust reparations claims since 1994 from the German government raises a serious question of governance in this organization as well as other Jewish organizations (“Claims Conference Insiders Nabbed In $42 Million Fraud,” Nov. 12).
It has always been perplexing and a mystery how representation between the German government and the Jewish community developed and who in the Jewish community established a “conference” and appointed representatives to act on behalf of the community.
Last week I sat in three airports and could not escape the tinny, insistent sound of the television. It reminded me of one researcher who claimed that we are always dreaming, but because of the stimulus of the day, dreams can only peak through at night. The noise of the world shuts out our dreams.
One of the enduring images of Hurricane Katrina for the Jewish community of New Orleans, and well beyond, was of a kipah-wearing rescue worker, in waist-high water, carrying one of seven Torahs out of the sanctuary of the century-old Orthodox congregation, Beth Israel.
The Torahs did not make it; water-logged beyond repair, they ultimately were buried in the synagogue’s cemetery, along with 3,000 prayer books.