The front-page story touting what was basically a Democratic House initiative (“Dealings may sink Iran sanctions,” WJW, Feb. 13) contains a glaring omission both in its lead sentence and later on. The proposed sanctions on Iran would not come into force unless an agreement currently being painstakingly negotiated with Iran is not realized by the original date set in the preliminary document.
As someone who has been directly involved in Israel-related congressional initiatives for the past 40 years here in Washington, it is also apparent to me that a large majority of the signers of this letter to the president could not be described as among Israel’s stronger supporters in the House.
MORRIS J. AMITAY
(The writer is a former Senate staffer and executive director of AIPAC, who founded and directs the pro-Israel Washington PAC.)
Power of establishment
The Little Sisters of the Poor don’t want to practice their religion, as Jay Lehman argues in his letter (“A matter of religious liberty,” WJW, Feb. 13). They want to exercise their economic power over their workers to deny them a benefit the law mandates: the right to be reimbursed for reproductive care. The Sisters’ religion disapproves of such care.
Granting the Sisters an exemption and denying employees their rights because of the Sister’s church’s dogma grants it the power of an establishment in the historical sense. That violates the First Amendment prohibition upon laws “respecting an establishment of religion.” If the Sisters want their employees to have children or give up sexual activity, the Sisters can proselytize them.
But the Sisters cannot coerce them, as Lehman suggests, by forcing them to look for work elsewhere. That’s discrimination and offends the employees’ right not to practice the religion of the Sisters’ Church. It should not be upheld.
Jettison chief rabbis
As to “A ruinous monopoly” (WJW, Feb. 20), why is it harder to become Jewish in Israel than anywhere else? We should make entry into the Jewish people based on commitment to Jewish belief and the Jewish people, not based on the whims of an unneeded group of corrupt gatekeepers. It’s time to drastically change the rabbanut (Rabbinate) and get rid of chief rabbis.
Don’t reject the sincere
It truly saddens and troubles me that this woman, even “playing by the rules,” going to an Orthodox beit din, still had such trouble marrying and making aliyah. (“A ruinous monopoly,” WJW, Feb. 20). Yes, I have Jewish ancestry, been studying the religion for three years, have papers showing my Jewish origin. But sadly that’s not good enough for some.
I understand the Jewish instinct to safeguard the boundaries, to put a fence around Torah, to protect the tribe. But why should the tribe reject the sincere? How will I become a halachic Jew if no one is interested in helping me become a halachic Jew?
Burr Ridge, Ill.
Ignoring a story
A few weeks ago, a wheel-chair bound 72 years old Jewish woman was harassed by TSA in New York. Since then, two issues on Washington Jewish Week have arrived, but the incident was not mentioned at all. I am sure you know the story, but just in case, here is one of the 10M links: http://nypost.com/2014/02/07/tsa-stopped-jewish-scholar-for-reading-a-conservative-paper/
Why has the supposedly Jewish newspaper chosen to ignore the story?