November 1, 2012
Letters to the Editor: Entitlements, Women of the Wall, Mormons, Christians, Prager
Eshman on Entitlements
Rob Eshman correctly notes that tzedakah is not merely charity but is also a religious and community response about social justice (“Entitled,” Oct. 19). Nowadays, “entitlements” are frequently used as a synonym for charity. However, Eshman inadvertently undercuts his own argument by failing to point out an essential fact: For working Americans, Social Security and Medicare are earned benefits paid for by payroll deductions.
What Happened at the Wall?
In your article on “Kotel Arrest Galvanizes Jews” (Oct. 26), it would have been nice to read a comment from someone “on the other side” of the argument. The only dissenting line was that Hoffman’s report of her imprisonment was inaccurate. Was there no one to talk to who opposes what Hoffman is doing?
The article also gives the impression that women are forbidden to pray at the Wall, a fact we all know to be false. So what exactly were Hoffman and her group trying to do that prompted the wrath of the police? Unfortunately, the report seemed more interested in promoting a political agenda than it did in clarifying a sensational news story.
Rabbi Yitzchak Sapochkinsky
More on Mormonism
Is this the sixth thing Jews should know about Mormons (“Five Things About Mormonism,” Oct. 26)? Article of Faith 10: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.”
How about that the Book of Mormon is the word of God? (Seventh thing?)
Not All Churches Are the Same
David Suissa is correct in pointing out the outrage of certain Christian denominations’ views and the censure of Israel (“Christians Picking on Israel,” Oct. 19). Despite the moral repugnance and sheer idiocy of their views, Suissa neglects to cite the common link between these various anti-Israel Christian denominations: It is the churches on the far political left that share these biased views on Israel, from liberation theology in Latin America to the black liberation church’s anti-Semitic views as exemplified by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church, reaching back to Jimmy Carter’s Southern Baptist leftist church. Recently, the anti-Semitic views of the far left have begun to permeate the once-centrist American Presbyterian church.
Politically conservative American Protestant churches wholeheartedly support Israel. Yet the majority of American Jews fear the Christian right. Really?
Prager and Politics
Dennis Prager attempts to make the case that Gov. Romney and the Republicans would be better for Israel than President Obama and the Democrats (“The Election and Israel,” Oct. 19). But in his article, Mr. Prager makes the following outrageous assertion: “The attitude of a party or candidate toward Israel tells you more than perhaps any other issue about that party or candidate. Treatment of and attitudes toward the Jews and Israel is an almost perfect indicator of a party’s, a country’s or a candidate’s values.” In other words, Mr. Prager believes that the Republicans’ love and support for Israel is the clearest indicator of their pure and superior moral character.
If Mr. Prager believed that the Democrats were the better party for Israel, would he still make the same ridiculous, self-serving assertion?
Mr. Prager is wrong about which presidential candidate will be the strongest supporter of Israel. As I write this letter on Oct. 19, there are 3,000 U.S. troops in Israel conducting war games with Israeli troops. They are demonstrating their overwhelming power to Iran. The Israel defense minister said President Obama is the best friend of Israel of all the U.S. presidents, and without President Obama, Israel would not have been able to build the defense structure costing $300 million to defend itself against the deadly rockets Hezbollah had been firing into Israel from Lebanon.
President Obama has proven he has the character to do what is right and will stand by Israel no matter what happens.
Leon M. Salter
An article about “Orchestra of Exiles,” a film about the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (“Rescuing Jewish Musicians,” Oct. 26), gave an incorrect name for its support organization. The correct name is American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.