Letters, Sept. 24, 2015


The importance of not working on Yom Kippur

The article in the Sept. 17 issue on Sandy Koufax sitting out Yom Kippur which fell on the opening game of the 1965 World Series brought back a powerful memory (“Why Sandy Koufax siting out a World Series game still matters 50 years later,” WJW).

I received a harsh lecture a few years later by a fellow, but wiser, Jewish colleague, Lillian K., when I showed up for work on Yom Kippur. We both were employed by a large social service organization … we were the only Jews. Never very religious myself, nor brought up that way, I often did not stay home on Yom Kippur. When she found out I had worked on that most important holiday, she read me the riot act. Her point was simple: It does not matter how you feel about being a religious or a non-religious Jew. By working on Yom Kippur, you are sending a message of disrespect of your faith to non-Jews at the workplace. If you don’t respect your own faith by your act of working on this most sacred of days, how can you expect others to respect it?

Her lesson had a profound impact on me from that moment on. In the past 40-plus years, I’ve not gone to work but once during a crisis on that holy day. Thank you, Sandy, and thank you, Lillian, for that powerful, life-changing lesson on one’s responsibility … just being Jewish.



How to renew U.S.-Israel partnership

Reps. Steve Israel and Sandy Levin have written an insightful analysis on how the United States and Israel should move on, now that the Iran nuclear deal has passed Congress (“Two Jewish lawmakers ask: Where do we go from here,” WJW, Sept. 17).  To borrow a colloquial expression, the United States owes Israel big time.

Although I fully agree with the authors’ commitment to strengthening the “robust U.S. investment” in Israel’s security and economic partnership, the defense and intelligence agencies of both countries must also address the dangerous gaps that the agreement has left unfilled.

Since Iran will receive a large infusion of new cash, military interdiction operations must be significantly increased to stop additional arms shipments to Hamas and Hezbollah. Since U.S. officials and members of Congress have been denied access to the documents of side agreements between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran, American and Israeli intelligence agencies must robustly monitor all interactions between the inspectors and the Iranians.

If Iran is suspected to have built even one nuclear weapon, the U.S. military must not only be prepared to use all of its assets, but also be prepared to do so long before the 24-day review process that is required under the agreement is completed.

Actions such as closing these gaps, in addition to the authors’ commitment to Israel’s “qualitative military edge and strength in the region remain steadfast” will ensure that the U.S.-Israel partnership becomes stronger than ever.


From Washington Jewish Week.com:

Freundel doesn’t get it

The rabbi still doesn’t get that he violated the rights of women. (“Rabbi Freundel apologizes; must he be forgiven,” WJW, Sept. 17). Where in his apology does he use the term “women?”


Practices should ensure mikvah privacy

What I find creepy about this is that the mikvah attendant should not be seeing the person naked (“For transgender Jews, ritual bath is fraught with questions about inclusion,” WJW, Aug. 13). Traditional Jewish conversion practices ensure the converts’ privacy. A sheet is used to keep the person covered. The person steps into the water and allows the sheet to float on the water and create a curtain on top of the water, only the person’s head is exposed. They dip and the rabbis only see the head submerge and come up. This is why male rabbis in the Orthodox world can witness a woman convert at the mikvah. If handled correctly, a person should never expose any of their body to the witness.


Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here