Letters | Oct. 31, 2019


Obama’s starting to look good

President Trump’s precipitous decision to pull American armed forces away from northern Syria, with potentially calamitous consequences for Israel, might be an “I told you so moment” (“Middle East chaos,” Editorial, Oct. 24). But the better response is “dayenu.” Enough dependency on an erratic and transactional individual, morally flawed in so many ways.

Despite the well-received moving of the U.S. Embassy to West Jerusalem
and statements about the Golan and the West Bank, the security of
Israel has not been enhanced by these actions.

Ironically, his much-criticized predecessor, President Obama, may turn out to be the truer and more honest friend of Israel.



It’s radical Islam, stupid

Regarding your recent editorials “Betrayal of the Kurds” (Oct. 17) and “Middle East chaos” (Oct. 24), President Donald Trump’s recent embrace of the Islamist president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the expense of the Kurds is a close analog to erstwhile President Obama’s embrace of The Islamic Republic of Iran that culminated in the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.

This analogy harkens back to the Clinton and Bush administrations’ failure to foresee and prevent Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks culminating in the devastating 9/11 attacks on our nation.

The common denominator in all these calamities: the failure of these four U.S. presidents and their advisers to fully recognize and unabashedly confront the global tide of intolerance and barbarism unleashed by radical Islam.

Virginia Beach

A numbers game

I was surprised to see some of the population figures on metropolitan areas in the article by Ben Sales on the recent American Jewish population estimate by Brandeis University’s Steinhardt Social Research Institute (“America’s Jews are older, whiter and more liberal than the country as a whole,” Oct. 17.)

The article failed to mention metropolitan Washington as having one of the largest Jewish populations in the United States — estimated in the study’s website at 265,500, slightly more than Boston’s 265,400. More importantly, the Brandeis population estimate for metropolitan D.C. is
noticeably smaller than the 295,500 estimate reported in the recent survey completed for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington by the same institute and the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis. It would be helpful to understand why the two studies, issued within two years of each other by the same university, arrived at such different estimates for metropolitan D.C.’s Jewish population.


We are not entering the Sanders Era

If Bernie Sanders is the future of Judaism (“Bernie Sanders is 78, but he represents the future of American Jewry,” Voices, Oct. 24), then we are in serious trouble.

Regardless of how one feels about candidate Sanders, I believe that there is no longterm future for the Jewish people without Judaism. As Aaron Freedman quotes The Forward, “Sanders isn’t religious, he doesn’t have any close ties to institutional American Judaism.”

Without Judaism, there would never have been a Jewish people once we were driven from our homeland.

Aside from that, his numbers from Pew research ignore a subtext that suggests that the drift among Jews toward increasing liberalism may be short lived. According to Pew, Orthodox Jews have 4.1 children per adult woman, while the remainder of Jews have fewer than 1.9.

Orthodox Jews thus will double in size within a generation, while the remaining Jewish population will remain stable or shrink slightly. Is Sanders the future of the Jewish people? I think not.

Falls Church

An unhappy reality

Aaron Freedman rejoices that Bernie Sanders is an example of today’s American Jew. He is correct, but is this really something to be happy
about? Do we really want to see Judaism descend into near oblivion by high assimilation rates to be replaced, as Freedman says, by
social justice and what I believe is a pseudo-Jewish identity based on ethnicity and culture? Is this what Judaism is all about? What about a religious Judaism that has been a blueprint for Western civilization and a model for Christianity (and, to some extent, Islam) below the
theological level?


And let us say, ‘amen’

I don’t know the future, but I hope and believe there will always be
American Jews who believe in Judaism and support the State of

Silver Spring

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  1. I believe Melvin Farmer—in his succinct letter to the editor—got it right. Despite where we might place ourselves on the religious or political spectrum, we are all “in the same boat.”
    We would be well served to heed his advice.)?


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