Despite the problems, we still need synagogues
It is my opinion that synagogues are hurting for money, all at a time when many Jews do not belong to them (“Synagogues offering dues relief,” Jan. 24).
The reasons for not belonging are varied and convoluted. Many do not get spiritual fulfillment from services, some cannot pay inflated dues imposed on them by a committee, some are turned off by the hypocrisy of rabbis and worshippers, some are unable to go to synagogue events or services because of their disabilities, some do not know how to pray in Hebrew, and some have questions of faith.
But what is the importance of a synagogue? It provides programs and education for our youngsters, it provides social and educational programs for our seniors, it provides rabbis to give us solace in dire personal situations, it provides us a place to commune with God, and it assures the continuation of Judaism that our grandparents held dear.
Every Jewish community must have a viable synagogue.
It’s up to you.
RABBI DR. PHILIP WENDKOS
Netanyahu and Kahane birds of a feather
Although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was never a supporter of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, it is striking that he would appeal to the party of Kahane’s followers for seats in his government (“An unholy alliance,” Feb. 28).
Both have envisioned an Israel that devalues its non-Jewish citizens, Netanyahu with his advocacy of a Jewish nation-state law, which downgrades the language of Arabic spoken by Arab-Israeli citizens, Kahane with his call for the deportation of Arab and Druze citizens when he was a member of the Knesset.
Both men have represented constituencies of Jews who are haredi Orthodox. Yet Netanyahu and Kahane violated the command stated in Exodus 22:20: “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
How dare you criticize Netanyahu
There you go again, tarnishing the image of Israel’s duly elected prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (“An unholy alliance,” Feb. 28). Sadly, the publication has become the mouthpiece for “progressive” Jewish Americans who have lost their zest for Zionism and democracy.
Labeling a legitimate Israeli right-wing party, Otzma Yehudit, as “racist” is unconscionable. Conflating that party with the banned Kach party flies in the face of your explicit acknowledgment that Otzma Yehudit has been approved to run in the next elections by Israel’s Central Elections Commission.
As Daniel Pipes, eminent scholar and founder of the Middle East Forum, has said: “What I know of Otzma Yehudit suggests it advocates a tough policy toward the Palestinians, but I do not discern racism.” The Zionist Organization of America has opined that it is hypocritical of the left to condemn the merger of two right-wing parties for the purpose of maximizing their Knesset representation, while not condemning extreme Israeli-Arab parties for doing the same.
You have the chutzpah to berate Jewish American center-right organizations for their “silence,” when, in fact, a multitude of such organizations have made it clear that they believe it inappropriate to comment on a matter better left to the people of Israel.
Your editorial stands more as an indictment of WJW and the leadership of AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee and the Union for Reform Judaism than of Netanyahu and Otzma Yehudit.
Virginia Beach, Va.