March 1, 2007
Shutting Jewish mouths; A civil tone of voice
(Page 3 - Previous Page)Rabbi David Wolpe might instead have asked Dr. Stein whether Stein's fear of the other has skewed the acuity of Stein's partial interpretation of President Carter's book.
Bernard A. Goldberg
Civil Marriages, Divorces
The plight of the agunot (chained Orthodox wives) is caused by our beloved State of Israel not being a democracy ("Orthodox Feminists Find Little Progress on Agunot," Feb. 23). A Jewish republic is a more accurate description. It is impossible to have a true democracy when religious fundamentalists are allowed to write the laws of the land.
The first step toward fulfilling democratic criteria would be the establishment of legal civil marriage and divorce, as is the case in heavily Roman Catholic Ireland. This would negate the need for non-Orthodox Jews to leave Israel to be legally married, and it may then be possible for charedi wives to join more liberal Jewish congregations to gain their freedom.
Martin J. Weisman
I appreciate Rabbi Wolpe's comments on the Persian community. I attend Hollywood Temple Beth El ("Let Community Healing Begin at Shul," Feb. 23). Hollywood Temple Beth El is sometimes referred to as the Iranian American Jewish Center.
Persians rarely come to Shabbat services in any large numbers to the Iranian American Jewish Center but come to Shabbat services at Sinai in large numbers. However, the reverse is true at High Holiday time, when over 600 Persians come to Hollywood Temple Beth El for High Holidays, and fewer Persians come to Sinai for the High Holidays.
Hollywood Temple Beth El has no membership dues and charges a mere $65 a ticket for High Holidays, but Sinai has both membership dues and much higher High Holiday ticket prices.
My conclusion, and the conclusion around me, is that the Persian community members who love Sinai for Shabbat services, attend Hollywood Temple Beth El, Iranian American Jewish Center, because of cost.
I have not read "Israel 101," but other pamphlets by StandWithUs have been disappointing ("StandWithUs Guide Puts Answers in Students' Hands," Feb. 23).
While they do an excellent job of countering all of the lies the other side spews about current history, they eschew any "Dershowitz arguments," that is arguments that put the whole conflict into perspective. One cannot counter the charge that "Jews control the world" unless one dramatizes the fact that Israel is the victim of absurdly disproportionate criticism.
Furthermore, StandWithUs, like other organizations, refuses to justify Zionism with the compelling arguments that the Zionists used. Until the '70s, they argued that Zionism is justifiable because the land was far more important to the Jews than to the Arabs because this land was a "tiny notch" of the Arab greater homeland. Instead, today many argue that Zionism is justifiable primarily because there always were some Jews in Palestine, a weak argument that would shock our early leaders.
Just because we have to acknowledge the fact that Palestinians have evolved into a people does not mean that that we can avoid explaining that they were not historically one.
Let us hope that this 44-page pamphlet contains the strongest of arguments necessary to defend Israel.
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