November 8, 2007
Coulter and Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem
Ann Coulter claimed that "Jews believe that my savior, a Jew, was [a] raving lunatic" ("Over-Clamor Over Coulter's Comments," Oct. 19). No Ann, we don't. But many of us think that Ann Coulter is a raving lunatic.
I'm no fan of Ann Coulter and her rhetoric and public persona is quite nasty ("Over-Clamor Over Coulter's Comments," Oct. 19). However, I must disagree with the characterization of Coulter's comments as "hate speech" or "anti-Semitic." Her statements reflect long-standing Christian doctrine for millennia to the present.
If Jews want to be offended -- consider this: From 1950-2000, there has been little or no change in the Jewish population (at about 5 million to 6 million) in the United States despite large migrations of Jews from the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. There are studies that suggest that with comparable overall population growth in this region----there should have been 25 million Jews in America in 2000. Where are the "missing" 20 million Jews? I'm not aware of any forced baptisms, inquisitions, nor an auto-de-fe during that time interval.
In addition, Time magazine in an article on religion in America showed statistically that Jews are the least religious, the least observant and the least likely to believe in God compared to Protestants and Catholics.
Just this week, with reference to the Southern California fires, Bill Handel on KFI 640 interviewed an FBI profiler on the personality characteristics of an arsonist. Handel referred to a fire started in a warehouse or business for the purpose of collecting on the insurance as "Jewish lightening." Handel is a Jew. Offended?
By the way -- Tomas Torquemada, the chief inquisitor was likely of Jewish ancestry as were many antagonists of the Jewish community during that terrible period.
Jewish ethical and character "perfection" is a worthy goal -- "we" just disagree with Coulter on the means to that end.
Having just returned from an extended stay in the center of Jerusalem, I can tell you that it is most common to see many Arab families peacefully walking through malls, shopping in supermarkets and picnicking in public places. ("An Orthodox Rabbi's Plea: Consider a Divided Jerusalem," Oct. 26).
In fact, it is so common, that it evokes my anger to think that I would not feel comfortable doing the same in East Jerusalem.
Almost all of the workers and staff in the hotels are Arabs and it is difficult to discern the difference between a Jewish taxi driver and an Arab. Socialized medicine affords Israeli Arabs medical care equal to Jewish citizens and Arabs have their own political parties and seats in the Knesset. What practical improvement would the Arabs receive by giving away part of our precious and holy city?
We must never let our bleeding hearts cloud the essence of who we are as a people. We are Jews because of our heritage and the center of that heritage is our beloved capital, Jerusalem.
I thank Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky for reminding me, and so many of my colleagues, what it means to be a rabbi. Sometimes the circumstances of the world demand that we speak out in unpopular ways, but most of us lack the moral courage to do so. Even those who disagree with Rabbi Kanefsky must know that we will only achieve peace in our beloved Israel when Jewish and Palestinian leaders guide our communities toward honest and even painful discourse.
I hope that the trust that Rabbi Kanefsky has built over many years of working with deep sensitivity across political and denominational lines will cause people to treat him with the respect and understanding that I know he would offer each of us. I call on all of my colleagues, beneficiaries of Rabbi Kanefsky's humility, grace and courage, to support him and follow his lead in serving as true luminaries in this time of darkness and confusion.
Rabbi Sharon Brous
I applaud Rabbi Kanefsky's courage and support wholeheartedly his comments. Nothing should be off the table in the search for real peace for Israel, the Mideast and the world.
It was interesting to read the letters in response to Rabbi Kanefsky's opinion piece ("An Orthodox Rabbi's Plea: Consider a Divided Jerusalem," Oct. 26). It is apparent that the letter writers divide into 2 camps-non-Orthodox, secular or non-Jewish pacifists/leftists/dreamers; and the Orthodox mainstream, and political conservatives. The Orthodox community will not be influenced by Kanefsky's opinions [political or religious], and one can only pray that he does not become a tool of leftists and anti-Zionist elements to harm Israel.
S. Z. Newman
We Jews have more than our share of delusional egotists like Rabbi Kanefsky who sets himself up as more wise than the Torah. And recall also the Netura Karta "rabbis" who ran to attend the anti-Israeli hate-fest in Iran and were photographed with Mahmoud Ahmadinijad. They even offered a prayer for divine support in response to Iran's promise to destroy Israel. Kanefsky and his ilk, in a related type of action, now revel in undeserved attention while other Jewish leftists are joining in to support him. We Jews are a strange people with some who are true saints and others who sink to the depths of moral self-debasement.
Bravo Rabbi Kanefsky for breaking the Orthodox taboo on discussing the possibility of sharing Jerusalem!
It is the ultimate chutzpa for Rabbi Kanefsky to advocate dividing the holy city of Jerusalem. Hasn't he learned anything from the tragedy of Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza? Sixty percent of its former residents have still not found permanent housing. The sad truth is Gaza has become home to Hamas terrorists who vow to destroy the Jewish state. If Rabbi Kanefsky is honest with himself he will admit that appeasement never works. Israel must wait to have a sincere peace partner before any division of land can begin.
When Rabbi Kanefsky makes aliyah he will have a legitimate right to publicize his political views.