Israel advocates are the ones harassed
The claim by the Jewish Voice for Peace, a longtime supporter of the Palestinian Arabs, in claiming that it is denied access to free speech (“Jewish, pro-Palestinian groups claim Israel advocates stifle free speech,” WJW, Oct. 8) is an example of the pot calling the kettle black. Ask anyone on a college campus as to who is being denied access to free speech and certainly it is pro-Israel supporters. Jews on campus have been subject to continuous harassment, pro-Jewish speakers have either not been invited or their presentations silenced by vociferous and sometimes physical attacks.
The attempts by pro-Palestinian groups to hinder free speech have been all too successful and brings shame both to the colleges and the administrators who allow it to continue.
JVP not a voice for peace
I was surprised that the Washington Jewish Week would devote an entire page, including a graphic, of a report by the so-called Jewish Voice for Peace, a group which is anything but a voice for peace (“Jewish, pro-Palestinian groups claim Israel advocates stifle free speech,” Oct. 8). Using the tactic of repeating a lie often enough so that people will come to believe it, they claim that mainstream Jewish groups seek to stifle free speech when they are the ones who interrupt pro-Israel discussion on college campuses — as in their conviction for interrupting Michael Oren at University of California at Irvine. It is certainly discouraging that your publication gives coverage to the machinations of anti-Semitic organizations like JVP. I say anti-Semitic because being anti-Israel is but thinly veiled anti-Semitism.
Hosting fellow Jews is a mitzvah
I found the Voices article, “Paying to pray? No, supporting as part of belonging” (by Rabbi Ellen Jaffee-Gill, WJW, Sept. 10) disappointing to say the least.
I am a member of a small Chabad minyan; we look forward to hosting, at no cost, any and all Jews who want to worship. She is quite correct in pointing out that there is a cost to hosting fellow Jews. Our shul is too small, so we move everything (Torah, aron kodesh, machzorim, talleisim and food and wine for a kiddush) to a nearby hotel. We look forward to doing this because it is a mitzvah, and a Jew should not pass up an opportunity to do a mitzvah. If the guests (typically nonaffiliated Jews or elderly on a limited income) wish to share in the mitzvah and make a contribution, it is, of course, graciously accepted — but never requested, suggested or even mentioned. We also modify the service for all to include more English and explanation for the comfort of our guests.
The writer’s justification of selling tickets to offset the higher cost notwithstanding, the practice is clearly pay-to-pray as an opportunity to get additional funds. If there is any doubt, consider a member of such a congregation who calls for additional tickets for family members coming from out-of-town. Typically, such tickets to members are available at the same, nonmember price — not even a member’s discount.
ROBERT A. BERMAN
Two-state solution policy
After the 1973 war, there was “a policy that came to be called the two-state solution” (“Max Ticktin’s second act,” WJW, Oct. 8)? Excuse me, but the two-state solution was mandated by the new United Nations in 1947.