Mazel Tov on ‘Becoming Jewish’!
Congratulations on a fine Shavuot cover story by Susan Freudenheim (“Becoming Jewish: Tales From the Mikveh,” May 10). Henceforth, I may well recommend it to conversion candidates who come to Judaism through our cross-denominational Bet Din. Her article conveyed not only little-known procedural details but also the high regard with which our dayanim (rabbinic panelists) hold the Rabbinical Assembly Mikveh — especially its staff. Both companion pieces are likewise informative, having duly consulted or been written by the dedicated professionals in our community who educate and prepare converts. Building upon “Conversion 101,” let me note that our Bet Din’s conversions are endorsed also by transdenominational rabbis (ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion). They are active participants alongside the “Conservative, Reconstructionist and Reform” rabbis mentioned in the piece.
Rabbi David E. S. Stein, Executive Director, Sandra Caplan Community Bet Din of Southern California
Taking Sides in Syria
Taking action in Syria means to take sides (“Syrian Wake-up,” May 10). In the case of Syria, there is no “side” that the USA should support. Consider Libya and Egypt, the result is the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda, neither of which deserves any U.S. support. In Syria, you have three virulent forms of Islam. Take pity on the unfortunate “collateral” damage that is occurring, but the only strategy should be to try to keep it contained within the boundaries of Syria.
Morton Friedman via jewishjournal.com
An Obligation to Act
Shmuel Rosner’s excellent article outlines options and suggests probabilities of the Syrian regime’s use of sarin gas on its own people (“7 Thoughts on Syria,” May 10). The article also mentions U.S. and Israeli options. First, it is important to differentiate the necessity of Israel defending itself against recognized terrorist organizations that have consistently rained horror on Israel during the years since the Jewish state was declared independent, Yom HaAtzmaut, in 1948; Hezbollah, Hamas, IJ, PFLP, etc. Thus, Israel has not only the right, but the requirement to protect its people. Hezbollah is the best-armed, best-trained terrorist organization in the world; one that that has not only consistently threatened, but has also attacked Israel on numerous occasions. Israel’s actions to destroy Hezbollah-bound weapons storage bins is more than justified. Israel must also consider attacking lethal sarin gas storage areas. The U.S. leadership has said the red line is the use of gas; Syria has used this lethal, fast-acting nerve gas; we in the U.S. can at least establish a no-fly zone and aid Israel in the destruction of stored sarin. No nation can afford to threaten action and then fail to do so. No one in the future will believe us. We sure acted swiftly and decidedly in the early ‘60s during the Cuban missile crises.
Charles Richman via jewishjournal.com
Dead and Gone
I can’t understand demonstrations and picketing a corpse (“Burying Tamerlan Tsarnaev,” May 10). Tamerlan Tsarnaev is no more. His remains cannot be punished because they are no longer Tamerlan. Tamerlan is gone. That is how Tamerlan paid for his crime with the ultimate punishment, death. We no longer put an enemy’s head on a pike.
Jerry Blaz via jewishjournal.com
Who Among You Has Not Sinned?
As a Christian, I enjoy reading Dennis Prager and learn a lot about how Jews see the world (“Jews and Christians,” May 10). I think he misses something in his item No. 3, however. It’s not that Christians are prohibited from thinking lustful thoughts. It is acknowledged that those thoughts will certainly occur and that we are forgiven, nonetheless. A person who never cheats on his spouse can’t claim to be less sinful than the man who does. No matter how good we think our works are, we have all sinned, and we should acknowledge it and seek the forgiveness of the Lord.
Patti Ratts via jewishjournal.com
Merits of Dual-Curriculum Schools
I’m wondering if those who have questioned the academic merits of Jewish dual-curriculum schools might want to reconsider their positions (“Math Skills Add Up to Success for Day Schools,” May 10). Or, at the very least, participate in an open-minded re-evaluation of the empirical and anecdotal data continually supporting the 21st century leadership and myriad academic successes of schools like Pressman Academy and Maimonides.
Perry Tessel, Assistant Teacher, General Studies, Pressman Academy elementary school via jewishjournal.com
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