The assimilation boogeyman, again
In response to “Make aliyah or disappear” (Israel Harel, Opinion, November 2).
Israel Harel repeats the canard that Jews, particularly those in the U.S., must either make aliyah or assimilate, as if no other options exist. Jews can also stay in the U.S. and be Jewish. Yes, some American Jews assimilate completely. But many don’t. How many generations must remain Jewish to prove this? Case in point: My ancestors immigrated to the United States in the 1880s and 1890s. Today, almost all of their grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren are practicing (non-Orthodox) Jews. Yes, a few assimilated along the way. A few even made aliyah! Why would future generations necessarily be any different? Yet that is what Harel and his ilk claim.
Furthermore, he has the gumption to say, “Only in Israel is it possible to live your lives at any point on the Jewish spectrum, and especially on the secular end, without assimilating.” Even were this statement true, it neglects to mention that only outside of Israel do Jews “on the secular end” have full civil rights. American Jews can be legally married by a Reform, Conservative or Reconstructions rabbi, or by a judge. Israel Jews can’t. Gee, I wonder why all the American Jews won’t make aliyah.
We made aliyah, but Israel made yeridah
We made aliyah from free countries 70 years ago in order to be Jews in our own free state, and, to quote Habonim’s slogan, “To build and be built.”
Today I am in a dark place and see only a few beacons of light, among whom are our president, mayor of Tel Aviv, Benny Begin, Amos Oz and the like.
We have a quasi-fascist goverment, a prime minister who is under investigation and jails filled with corrupt politicians and tycoons, without going into other problems.
Is this the place that should attract other Jews, such as those from Pittsburgh, whose entire community of neighbors have shown solidarity?
Canceling my visit to Israel
When the only official support for President Trump at the Pittsburgh synagogue was the Israeli ambassador, yet Trump’s support for right-wing hate groups has emboldened anti-Semitism in the U.S., I lost my appetite to visit Israel. I’m canceling my month-long visit. I feel as though Israel has let us American Jews down. Shame!
Insensitivity and hypocrisy from Chief Rabbinate
One cannot fail to notice the insensitivity of the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox establishment – the Chief Rabbinate – in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy in Pittsburgh. The only thing that this corrupt institution of sanctimonious watchdogs of Orthodox Judaism have achieved is the division of the Jewish people. The chief rabbi of Israel does not recognize their places of worship as synagogues. What are they then? Something frivolous? The Pittsburgh Muslim community and the U.S. Muslim community in general showed greater sympathy, love and empathy than the Orthodox establishment of Israel.
The representative of Israel’s coalition government, Cabinet Minister Naftali Bennett, is also part of the Israel’s Orthodox establishment that does not recognize Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism. He spoke of the unity of the Jewish people in this sad loss. Such hypocrisy! It takes a tragedy to talk about Jewish unity when there is so much ostracism towards these non-Orthodox Jewish congregations. The chances of these congregations being recognized as Jewish are virtually zero in Israel.
Shimon Z. Klein
Grateful at least for Bibi’s reluctance
In response to “Netanyahu, man of peace” (Gideon Levy, Opinion, November 4).
I am always in awe of the whole (especially U.S.) media, and a lot of people who just totally blame Hamas for everything. I remember in the war of 2014, a Jewish general actually praising Hamas for what they were trying to do to defend themselves, amidst the planes and the bombings that went on. He said that if the roles were reversed, they (Israel) and most other countries would do the same, after all they have no Iron Domes, and no planes, and nothing to defend themselves with. I also know that if Hamas disappeared tomorrow, the settlements and occupation would not automatically reverse themselves at all. Netanyahu knows his extremists very well, he knows how rabid they are. He remembers Rabin and what happened clearly, since he was a part of the incitement that led to Rabin’s demise. He is surrounded by extremists.
Right now in the U.S., since the Pittsburgh tragedy, some politicians are considering a “gag order” in which any condemnation of Israel labels you an instant anti-Semite and would be against the law. So much for free speech. So much for a real solution. Israel and the U.S. have real problems, a president who says that if the “caravan of migrants” starts throwing rocks, the military can shoot at them. While the left-wing media is having a fit (which is understandable), no one mentions that this is what the IDF has been doing for years to Palestinians when they throw rocks. As for those other limited fireworks that land in empty fields, no one can dispute the difference in the means of fighting (planes versus fireworks). I am grateful that Bibi is reluctant to start another “war” of nothing but killings of more and more Palestinians. I wish he would take the next steps, which might entail the removal of certain members of his cabinet.
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