September 27, 2007
Hindu widows, remembering Marcy, Conservatives are dishy, Oh! Happy Day!
Rob Eshman's piece, "Our Hindu Widows" is literally unbelievable (Aug. 10). I am a marriage-minded 52-year-old SJM. I have never been married and want to find my match and start a family. The only really practical advice I have ever heard is "Buy a mansion in Potomac, Md!" It is incredibly difficult to find a marriage-minded SJF young enough to have children; who is attractive, relocatable and willing to marry a nice, but not perfect, man.
I am healthy, fit, reasonably cute, well-educated, professionally successful, prosperous, considerate, great with kids, come from a well-respected family and am a dues-paying member of two Orthodox congregations. I am picky, but less so than most SJFs.
A New Dish
The Industrial Revolution brought with it unprecedented societal changes ("Conservatives' New Dish," Sept. 21). Leaders of the Conservative movement, fearing that the faithful might be unable to fulfill their religious obligations, chose to relax some rules in response to the new social order. Judaism, they reasoned, is a living religion, and what better way to prove it than to adjust it to the demands of modern life?
For example, during the past century, limited driving has been permitted on Shabbat, the restrictions of kashrut have been relaxed and women have been invited to fully participate on the bimah. Much to the chagrin of our leaders, these changes have resulted in unintended consequences.
Those who enjoy the liberalization, and especially their progeny, find comfort in the Reform Movement, where halacha is less of an issue. On the other hand, those wishing to stay more closely aligned with our customs and rituals have discovered Modern Orthodoxy. They seemingly abide by our ancient laws, while coexisting successfully in the modern business world.
There are two groups for whom the Conservative movement is still a big draw. The first are observant women who want equity on the bimah. The second are homosexuals, who crave adherence to halacha. Although Conservative Judaism still does not fully embrace this demographic group, the only question is when, not if, the rules will be changed.
Whether these two groups, and those of us who concur with them, are adequate to sustain the Conservative movement, remains to be seen. For now, as David Suissa notes, we will continue to engage in "more debate."
Oh Happy Day!
Thank you so much for your thoughtful, and meaningful article ("Can Happiness Be Taught?" Sept. 14).
I hope you receive lots and lots of letters from totally ordinary people like me who are just plain happy and grateful just about all of the time. It's true ... I've "had it easy" relatively speaking. Thank God no child of mine has been stricken with some dreaded disease. I've managed to become 91 years old without needing to deal with an unusual personal catastrophe. Of course, I've had my share of the so-called "ups and downs,"... but that's what being alive is all about. Managing the downs and appreciating the ups (plus the times in between).
And being glad that the downs have been manageable.
Please continue your coverage of the desecration of Har-Habayit, the Temple Mount, by the Muslim Waqf ("No One Cares About Ravaging of Temple Mount," Sept. 21).
The question remains: what will it take for the Jewish people to wake up and stand up for this holy piece of land that was stolen by the Muslims? It is the ultimate chutzpah that they would steal a sacred place, build a shrine and then desecrate the foundation.
Who Shall Die
The piece "Who Shall Die" about Marcy Asher was very moving (Sept. 14). This woman was unknown to me but it showed how we usually never know what the people we meet in our daily life are going through and therefore we need to make allowances for others. May her family and friends be comforted.
As I'm not Jewish nor a denizen of California, I have not to date read your publication. While waiting at the nail salon this morning I picked it up and read with interest Ms. Asher's remembrance. I must say that it was rather surprising to read the underlying theme and apparent reason for the article was a forum for the gentleman to boast of his lascivious conquest of a young lady.
Odd to take a young woman who was schizophrenic and use that to his own sexual advantage. One often thinks the Jewish people have higher ideals. Apparent misconception since this publication is titled The Jewish Journal.
Quite surprising, this article. Quite sad, the editor. A tragedy for this girl to be remembered with prurience.
New York, N.Y.
In your article about the UC Irvine fiasco ("Chemerinsky Affair Reflects UCI-Jewish Conflicts," Sept. 21), you noted the ZOA's federal civil rights complaint on behalf of Jewish students there, which alleges the university's unlawful failure to respond to anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation on the campus.
Your readers should also know that the complaint triggered a government investigation into the university's conduct, which is still ongoing. Also, while noting that UC Irvine's chancellor has been criticized for failing to respond effectively to the harassment of Jewish students, you seemingly suggest that he is somehow redeemed by having condemned the British boycott of Israeli universities. The chancellor's protest is commendable, but where has he been when it comes to speaking out against anti-Semitism on his own campus? UC Irvine routinely hosts events at which speakers inaccurately call Israel an apartheid state, blame "the Zionist Jews" for the Sept. 11 terror attacks and other problems in the world, and accuse "the Zionist Jews" of bullying, conspiratorial conduct, and trickery. It is this kind of hateful bigotry that leads to a British academic boycott, and Chancellor Drake should stop remaining silent and start clearly and forcefully condemning it.
Susan B. Tuchman
Center for Law and Justice
Zionist Organization of America
I am totally bemused by the Walt-Mearsheimer, Jewish/Israeli lobby, brouhaha.