Letters for Dec. 8, 2016


Shared value of gratitude leads To formation of interfaith group

The Washington Jewish Week’s coverage of the Nov. 22 Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at Congregation Har Shalom (“Faiths join for Thanksgiving service,” Dec.1) was much appreciated by the nine participating faith communities.  Unfortunately the article omitted the Islamic Community Center of Potomac.

What was so remarkable about this collaboration was the diversity of faiths represented, and the heartfelt desire to come together around the shared value of gratitude. Due to the massive response and appreciation for this event, we’ve already scheduled the next Interfaith Thanksgiving Service for Nov. 21, 2017.

In addition, this group has taken on the name “Potomac-area Faith Communities,” and collaboration on interfaith educational programs in the coming year is already underway.  We have also committed to provide support and reassurance to one another, should any of our communities be affected by the kind hate, bigotry, or intimidation that has been recently been perpetrated on other houses of worship.


This new alliance is a blessing for the Potomac area; indeed the entire Metropolitan Washington community.

Congregation Har Shalom, Potomac

Today’s Jews don’t believe in existence of Satan

I most respectfully dissent from the premise of my colleague’s d’var Torah on Chaye Sarah, which you published recently (“Satan lied, so Sarah died. What if she’d gotten help?” Nov. 24). The d’var relates a third-century midrash that attributes Sarah’s death to Satan’s deceitfully having told her that Abraham sacrificed Isaac, and invites your readers to explain Satan’s motivation.

Overwhelmingly, and with very good reason, today’s Jews do not believe that Satan exists. Further, he is entirely absent from the Torah and from almost all the rest of the Tanach. Ironically, the existence of Satan, the problem here, parallels the destructive bone of contention in “The Christians,” the Theater J production you reviewed in that same issue. Jews, I believe, ought not bring Satan back from the medieval past where he lies decently interred lest we become confused about the beliefs of the Jewish people — and give the unlearned and unaffiliated an excuse for dismissing our religious life because it appears to be based on an atavistic theology.


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