Whose voices should we listen to?
Warren Manison and Stanley Orman’s Sept. 24 letters expressed shock by your publication of Rabbi Joshua Runyan’s “Why Trump’s not getting this Orthodox vote: He’s neither good for the Jews, nor for Judaism” (Voices, Sept. 17).
I am not Orthodox, and I do agree with the letter writers that it makes sense to listen to other voices. But whose voices? Last week, I heard the enthusiastic voices of Proud Boys, white nationalists and QAnon believers in support of President Trump. And I listened to the president’s evasion when asked to disavow that support.
I find it difficult to ignore the voices of those who have worked as Trump appointees, such as former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and former National Security Adviser John Bolton. And Republican leaders including former President George W. Bush and the last two Republican presidential nominees, Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) and the late Sen. John McCain, who might have been expected to support any Republican president.
But there is one quiet, considered voice I heard recently — and it is nobody famous.
I am persuaded by the straightforward, scientific consensus that has emerged since the second month of the coronavirus pandemic. That masks and social distancing are, at least for now, our best protection against the deadly virus. This is different from the president’s position challenging the consensus by example, by tweet and with his rallies.
So the voice that continues to resonate with me is that of a caring local doctor I overheard talking to a patient. He said, “I tell my patients if they ask, it would be unconscionable for me to vote for a man who continues to put the health of my family and patients at serious risk.”
Soros is giving to the wrong Jews
Regarding “George Soros is a leading target of anti-Semitism. These Jews openly criticize them anyway” (Sept. 10): Just because Soros is a leading target of anti-Semitism, is no reason he should be immune to criticism from Jews.
Anti-Semites see Soros as a Jew. While Soros is of Jewish heritage, he has minimal or no involvement in Judaism as a religion or with the organized Jewish community. As a high-profile, very wealthy person, Soros’ lack of Jewish involvement is one reason why some Jews criticize him. Also, he gives a minimal amount to mainstream Jewish causes. Instead he contributes to groups that many Jews regard as anti-Israel.
The end result is that anti-Semites may direct their animus at George Soros, but the mainstream Jewish community doesn’t benefit from Soros’ philanthropic largesse.
Perhaps if he were to contribute generously to mainstream Jewish organizations such as Jewish federations and day schools, he would mute much of the criticism directed at him from within the Jewish community.
You can’t get ethnic studies right
Regarding “Getting ethnic studies right” (Editorial, Oct. 1): The whole concept of ethnicity training is wrong. On Yom Kippur God is judging individuals. Ethnicity training is judging groups: which group is good, and which is bad, which narratives are told and which aren’t. Is Islam a religion of peace or are Islamic wars and conquests since Mohammed a truer reflection of Islam? The same is true of Christians, the followers of the “prince of peace.” The problem is not merely the people developing the training, but ethnicity training.
People should be judged as people. My ethnicity beliefs: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And Hillel’s rule: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary, go and learn it. That’s what the organizers should learn and teach and what everyone should live by.