Rabbi Wolpe’s Stand on Gay Marriage
I write to express appreciation to my colleague Rabbi David Wolpe on his public stand to officiate at gay marriages (“The Gay Marriage Debate,” July 5).
For those of us serving liberal synagogue communities, our challenges are different from his, because gay marriage officiation is something many of us have done for years. That being said, I can only imagine the heartache Rabbi Wolpe has felt, despite his certainty of the moral and religious grounding of his decision, from the reaction of many of his congregants.
In my study, I have posted Rabbi Israel Salanter’s famous truth, and I regard it frequently, especially in challenging times: “A rabbi whose community does not disagree with him is no rabbi. A rabbi who fears his community is no mensch.”
It is not easy for rabbis to take strong positions that we know will upset others. After all, we rabbis strive to bring people and our communities together, not tear them apart.
The good news in Los Angeles is that we have enough synagogues to accommodate those who feel they can only join where their views are mirrored by the rabbi. Rabbi Wolpe’s loss of members is unfortunate, but his clarifying what he believes and what Sinai Temple must accept as an authentic religious and moral position, that gay and lesbian marriages are part of the fabric of our Jewish community, will inspire the respect and gratitude of grandparents, parents, siblings and children of gays and lesbians and probably attract new members to take the place of those who leave.
Rabbi Wolpe did well, and as his colleague, I am proud of him.
Rabbi John L. Rosove
Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel of Hollywood
While there are plenty of people applauding these decisions, as well as lamenting them, it is important to realize what actually just happened to our Constitution and the framers’ construct of three co-equal branches of government in the process. Someone may be thrilled with the outcome of this particular decision, but what about an outcome dealing with property rights, the right to protect yourself or even what may lie ahead with your health care, if that decision is not in your favor?
What is important to understand and remember is that the federal government would never have existed if the states had not given birth to it by ratifying the U.S. Constitution. The more we resort to decisions like Obamacare or DOMA being decided by parliamentary tricks and five people in black robes, the further we remove ourselves from a constitutional republic and the liberty that comes with it.
Brian J. Goldenfeld
In regards to Susan Freudenheim’s article, if society would only pay as much attention to the commandment “Ve’ahavta le’reacha1 kamocha” (Leviticus 19:18) — which Rabbi Hillel explained as “Do not do unto others, what you would not have them do to you” — rather than focus on biblical references to Sodom and Gomorrah, perhaps our world would be a better place. After all, while the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos and Zephaniah refer vaguely to the sin of Sodom, Ezekiel specifies that the city was destroyed because of its commission of social injustice.
Let’s be kind to our fellow man and leave the judging up to the Higher Source.
Come on, rabbi. Surely God did not intend this for mankind. Are we now allowed to cherry-pick our Torah? This kind of thinking is what led me to skip the Conservative movement and embrace Orthodoxy.
This is exceptional. It’s so good to have this confirmation of how I raised my kids to think. GLBT individuals are worthy and deserving of respect because they are created in His image. I was horrified to see so many being persecuted for their same-sex attraction. Perhaps now we can have a new good beginning that makes sense.
The ‘Other’ Mandela
I read with great interest your piece on South African statesman Nelson Mandela (“Mandela/Moses,” June 28). I found it fascinating that his life should have been so entwined with the lives of Jews whom he apparently respected, something I did not know before reading your informative piece. But that’s what makes his association with Yasser Arafat all the more troubling. I know I needn’t tell you that Arafat has the blood of hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Jews on his hands. And while I personally wish no harm to Mr. Mandela or his family, I find it totally inexcusable that you mention Mandela’s association with Arafat as if it meant almost nothing; a drop of water in a bucket called terrorism. Try running your piece by the families of Jews in Israel and elsewhere whom Arafat ordered murdered in cold blood. See if their assessment of Mr. Mandela is as “glossy” as yours. I sincerely doubt it, sir.
Marc Phillip Yablonka
Mideast Peace: Be Patient
Hillary Clinton, in her recent public appearance in Los Angeles, disagreed with President Obama’s view about settlement construction: “I give Prime Minister Netanyahu credit for agreeing to a 10-month settlement freeze. If the Palestinians had been willing to engage in serious negotiations, who knows where it would have led.” (“Hillary Clinton Reflects on Israel, Mideast Unrest,” June 28). The same point was made eloquently by Arthur Cohn’s Opinion in the same issue of the Journal (“The Truth About Settlements,” June 28).
History is a great teacher, which vindicates the triumph of tolerance over evil and hate, such as in the case of the French Revolution, the American Civil War, defeat of Nazism, the collapse of the Soviet Empire and others. History also advocates that patience is golden.
Peripatetic John Kerry
Kerry has already visited over 24 different countries and made multiple trips to several of them (“Kerry on the Couch,” July 5). He has traveled well over 100,000 miles in the air since his appointment. To say he is obsessing on Israel to the exclusion of other situations around the world is simply inaccurate.
Food for Thought
You forgot a crucial word on the June 28 cover “Food Glorious Food.” The word is treif (non-kosher). The headline should have read — being that this is supposed to be the Jewish Journal — “Food Glorious Treif,” or, even better, “Food, Inglorious and Treif.”
An article about Esotouric literary and true-crime bus tours contained multiple errors (“Docents of Downtown’s Dark Side,” June 28). Kim Cooper attended UCSC and UCSB, not UCLA. Raymond Chandler’s mother lived at Seventh and Witmer streets, not at the Bryson Apartments. And Chandler did not receive a $10,000 bonus and break a decade-long sobriety to finish the script of “Double Indemnity”; that happened later with “The Blue Dahlia.”