LETTERS

LETTERS _LEAVING THE UN_ To the Editor: Professor Dershowitz has raised a serious question in a thoughtful manner. "Should America leave the UN?" (January, 1976) His prescription is, however, at...

...Charles S. Levy, Professor Lloyd Setleis, Dean Wurzweiler School of Social Work New York City ISRAELI POUCY AND AMERICAN JEWS To the Editor: Rabbi Henry Seigman's central premise ("For Zion's Sake," January, 1976) that current Israeli policy results in serious political, public opinion and moral weakness a weakness which could become catastrophic is one with which I completely agree...
...Perhaps in the future the Jewish community will have a corps of citizens committed and knowledgeable enough to be entrusted with that delicate task...
...There is nothing wrong with the machinery of the United Nations...
...I will certainly not dispute his observation that UN agencies do much good and stir "appreciation and reverence" in much of the world...
...Our Association has in the past offered practical suggestions for UN reform...
...The purpose of the school is to raise the values of the milieu, and our day school graduates have done just that by contributing to the growth of Jewish education, the spread of Jewish identity, and the guarantee of the survival of Jewish communities...
...It is extremely urgent that distinctions between institutions and practitioners be kept clearly in mind when plans for action are considered and evaluations of performances are made...
...It's about time enthusiasts of the movement such as Dr...
...That Israel must for these reasons come forward with an initiative for an overall settlement which would include the possibility of full territorial return and peaceful coexistence, and consequently regain the political and public opinion offensives, is something Israeli leaders must be told over and over again...
...Synagogues in many communities have opposed federation-sponsored adult education programs, Jewish cultural events, and other federation-sponsored programs designed to enrich the Jewish life of the community...
...The disunity of the six existing congregations in 1789-1790 is therefore even greater than one is led to believe by Professor Jick's account, since there was a gap of 19 months between the address of the Savannah congregation and the joint address of Manuel Josephson (which omitted the Newport congregation...
...They are distressed by the abuses perpetrated in the General Assembly on this and other occasions...
...Ordination from HUC, the Seminary...
...Only if a government selects some key elements and massively publicizes them will more than a few Foreign Ministry officials ever see a General Assembly text...
...The greater part of the private, non-federation support for the school comes from non-Orthodox Jews...
...It remains a stubborn fact of Jewish history that the segment of Orthodoxy Cont...
...But like the prescription "meyah v'esrim," they define a laudable objective but give us no hint on how to achieve it...
...The attitudes of the other democracies may seem regrettable and wrong...
...Reform will not be easily and quickly achieved but it will surely come about, simply because a properly functioning Parliament of Man is indispensable...
...They are no less sensitive than we to the cynicism of charging Zionists with being racists...
...His thesis is based on the Jewish belief that education of the young is the responsibility of the entire community...
...Neusner's own article on the subject in The Jewish Parent...
...The United States government should not only continue its membership in the United Nations...
...I too have worried that the Zionism resolution could stimulate anti-Semitism, but I do not really expect that it will...
...But the wives of rabbis, like their husbands, are diverse, human, and cover a wide range from "giggly" to "brilliant...
...Edna Aizenberg Jamaica Estates, N.Y...
...To the Editor: Henry Siegman's treatment of the religious dimensions involved in the return of occupied territories does injustice to the Gush Emunim faction...
...Right now, the federations are poorly equipped to undertake the kind of curriculum review and general supervision of the schools that Neusner calls for...
...It has enriched me...
...it should redouble its efforts to convince other nations of the validity of its position...
...The federation was told in flat terms to stay out that Jewish education is solely the province of the synagogue and that the educations currently being offered were the best of all possible educations...
...Rabbi Hertzberg's call for support of synagogue Hebrew schools by federations is not the first such call, but it is deserving of comment...
...Does this mean that federation social workers and Jewish community center workers do not share with rabbis and Jewish educators both concern and responsibility for the collective aspirations of the Jewish group...
...Join hands with the synagogue...
...Can it tell the shul to skip the new chandeliers and use the money for an additional teacher...
...There is not, however, any official or popular reverence for Assembly resolutions, either in the Third World, where most of the good works are done, or elsewhere...
...But in highlighting an atypical fake (We know that news is not made when a dog bites a man or when a rabbi's wife keeps kosher but only when the man bites the dog or the rebbitzin sautes ham) Ms...
...There are, in fact, sincere women who "share the joys and burdens of the rabbinic life" without keeping kosher...
...Not all federations are free of taint, either...
...those aspirations...
...The day schools themselves are looked upon as outsiders...
...It is a mistake, and a disruption of systematic effort, to attribute functions to institutions and services which they were neither created, nor are equipped, to perform...
...Federations have the responsibility for ensuring that the community's funds are well spent...
...Ronald Gruen Dallas, Tex...
...By a combination of trends including, most importantly, the weakening of divisions between our three "faiths...
...We will have further suggestions in the future...
...What the resolution does underline is the need for leaders on both sides of this vote to give serious thought to changes in attitudes and procedures designed to avoid similar harmful abuses...
...And why not...
...David Ebner New York City _HURA!_ To the Editor: Ruth Wisse's "Hura...
...While the sisterhood plans a fashion show, Cont...
...on page 6 FEDERATION BETTERATION To the Editor: Jacob Neusner raises a critical question in "A House is Not a Home" (December, 1975): How does a day school of admittedly Orthodox content and direction relate to a community that is largely Conservative, Reform and unaffiliated...
...Nevertheless, it must be recognized that they have something different to contribute to the realization of...
...The average, concerned Jew has no vested interest in emphasizing the differences...
...George Washington was not inaugurated in 1790 but on April 30, 1789...
...The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 673:1) points out that using olive oil is a "mitzvah min hamuvchar" a preferable way to perform the mitzvah...
...To the Editor: Professor Dershowitz seems to feel that the United States can make everything better by leaving the United Nations and working through some unnamed "multinational organizations" in the humanitarian fields...
...James F. Leonard President United Nations Assn...
...They are no less hostile to anti-Semitism, but they have evaluated the probable consequences less emotionally than we and I believe more accurately...
...Neusner were to lend his considerable talents and his standing to bridging the distances that still separate many of these schools from much of our communities, rather than to present suggestions that could have the opposite effect...
...One need only read the synagogue bulletins to discern that too often the emphasis is placed on activity for Jews rather than on Jewish activity...
...Nonetheless, Joan Behrmann's initial portrait of the reb-bitzin ("Rabbis' Wives: The Case of the Shrinking Pedestal," December, 1975) as a giggly suburban idiot (her teaching career notwithstanding)was a bit too much...
...But are the young gush members, struggling for a Jewish Yehudah and Samaria in defiance of yet another Kissinger machination, idolaters...
...of the U.S.A...
...I suspect that their assumptions stem from too little exposure to the wide range of synagogues and the wide range of federations in our country today...
...And there are differences among institutions and services with respect to how they do what they do as well as what they do...
...Amram Blau died on July 5, 1974...
...Such activity would therefore contribute little to the efforts we should be making to remedy the ills of which Dr...
...However, I am appalled at his designation of Torah u'M'sorah as the proponents of "Brooklyn Orthodoxy" when he knows that in hundreds of towns, large and small, we have been concerned about the non-observant and have served the community...
...Rabbi Ira A. Korff Chaplain, City of Boston Cont...
...The case of Dallas, Texas, may be a typical example of this anomalous support...
...I do not believe this is desirable...
...To that very end, we published Dr...
...Therefore the address from the Savannah Congregation to Washington was dated May 6, 1789...
...The last time we made calculations it was around 97 cents per student, per year...
...But the treatment of Soviet Jews does not get either better or worse because of a vote in the General Assembly...
...Jews with Jewish interests and concerns are often attracted to federations rather than synagogues...
...An effective portrait need not gloss over defects and there is much to say for the shrinking pedestal...
...The effect in the Soviet Union might be feared, though the UN does little there and is certainly not revered...
...This is hardly unreasonable in light of the history of the Jewish community and in light of the reasons for the emergence of Jewish communal services...
...instead, he reacts with pragmatic wisdom to the dangers that threaten our survival...
...January, 1976) His prescription is, however, at fault in two important respects: he does not propose a practical course of action...
...Joseph Reuben Place withheld by request To the Editor: The critiques of the federation movement and some Jewish communal services, which appeared in the recent issue of moment, merit some commentary...
...A government could, of course, give wide distribution to the text of the Zionism resolution, but except in some Arab countries I do not believe this has happened or will happen...
...But the methods for effecting such support will surely cause more synagogue-federation conflict...
...Some practitioners in Jewish communal service whose particular competence is required in relation to the needs of individual Jews are in fact bound by ideologies which put a particular premium on the way they deal with people...
...pressure, while allowing the Arab states and the Palestinians to refuse any real concessions...
...Helen Ackerman _FAN MAIL_ To the Editor: Mollie Linker and editors Sydelle Kramer and Jenny Masur ("Our People," January, 1976), have captured a sweetness of yesterday that warms a modern heart...
...Indeed, that is one of our prime responsibilities as American Jews concerned with Israel's future...
...but they see the gravest consequence as a lessening of the effectiveness of the Assembly in performing its several functions...
...This may be regrettable, but it is a fact...
...This fictional sequence is not unknown in some American communities...
...Dershowitz and of your readers in this enterprise...
...The unsuccessful negotiations for a "joint address" are described in detail, together with the texts of all the addresses and Washington's replies, in my A Documentary History of the Jews in the United States 1654-1875...
...And the most striking of all the changes the new kind of federation is drawing unprecedented community participation, giving credence to the hypothesis that the Jewish community wants more Jewish life...
...Just as a rabbi, in addressing his efforts towards the divine mission of the Jews, nevertheless needs a particular sensitivity to his congregants, the federation and the center worker needs sensitivity to those he works with even when this requires him to deem-phasize the agency goals in order to reckon with the state of mind, the weaknesses, the preoccupations, the crises, etc...
...The difficulty is a confusion of the roles of Jewish institutions and Jewish communal servants...
...to make Israel aware of how things look from outside the limiting confines of the State itself...
...Today, we have educated members of the laity, often with intensive and extensive Jewish backgrounds...
...on page 14 Letters Continued most committed to the demands of the Halachah was the staunchest opponent of political Zionism...
...I admire Ms...
...The partial success of a joint address by four congregations marks the beginning of the search for cooperation in the American Jewish community that is still incomplete rather than, as Professor Jick seems to see it, the inauguration of "a pattern of divisiveness and provincialism...
...of those with whom he is dealing along the route to the realization of the agency's goals...
...TJiat the American Jewish community to date can rightly be accused of "mindless dogmatism" and "irrational unwillingness to look at new realities" is a clear indication of how we as a community have so far failed in this responsibility...
...Siegman's own zealotry is still not exhausted he proposes what is surely a unique argument against the gush: ". . . it is not at all clear that k'dushat Erelz Yisrael requires . . . sovereignty...
...They must realize that an enriched Jewish community derives its strength and its knowledge from many sources...
...I would guess that Neusner's "Brooklyn Orthodoxy" designation for these schools misses the mark, and may reflect his limited acquaintance with the 500-odd Torah u'M'sorah schools across the country...
...contingency plans...
...This is sorretimes an obscured point, but it is of ti : essence of Jewish ethics not to overlook it...
...Ida Cohen Selavan Pittsburgh, Pa...
...Finally, one cannot be but amazed at Rabbi Siegman's assertion that Amram Blau "to this day refuses to recognize Jewish sovereignty over any part of Israel...
...Certainly, but synagogues and rabbis must realize that they do not have a monopoly on Judaism...
...Rabbi Dresner's description of lavish bar mitzvah celebrations touches only part of the synagogue's problem in one synagogue, an appropriation for new books for the Hebrew school was shelved in favor of refurbishing the "kiddush salon...
...Neusner's enthusiasm for the growing concern by federations over the last few years for Jewish education generally and day schools particularly...
...To such non-Orthodox Jews, the Orthodoxy of the Torah u'M'sorah school is of less moment than the fact that, as a rule, it is the only Jewish day school around...
...Most synagogues see themselves in competition with federations...
...there is a good deal wrong with its misuse...
...But the trend is clearly toward Jewish federations rather than federations of Jews...
...To be effective as a deterrent, this will require practical plans as well as a convincing public posture...
...In my community, the federation tried to bring the synagogues together to self-evaluate and improve their Hebrew schools...
...Many federations find synagogues implacably antagonistic to Jewish programs conducted by "outsiders...
...But I was disappointed to see that not one oil menorah was used...
...They would not expect us to follow through on a threat to withdraw, and they would go all out to dissuade us if we seemed to be serious...
...But Torah u'M'sorah has not yet been granted the privilege of being part of the important CJFWF Committees on Education...
...Mark A. Bruzonsky Washington, D.C...
...No, it does not...
...Gayle Herman Chicago, 111...
...When the capital was moved from New York to Philadelphia, Manuel Josephson, on December 13, 1790, presented Washington with the address you print from the congregations of Philadelphia, New York, Richmond and Charleston...
...The second trend explaining the local acceptance of an Orthodox day school was articulated by Neusner himself in a recent lecture in Dallas...
...We would welcome the support and assistance of Dr...
...YU and/or smicha does not guarantee wisdom, leadership, or knowledge of community organization...
...more important, he does not analyze correctly the link between General Assembly actions and the "real world...
...Although we must be prepared to effect such plans if the need arises, we should also understand that a deterrent might be successful when it is not used, and a failure when it is...
...In an indirect way, the day school staff provides models to community members as well as to the students, as they live a "normal" American life and yet retain a Jewish flavor, content, and commitment...
...Have we reached such a stage of cynicism that devotion to an ideal equals sacrifice to an idol...
...Thank you for publishing this Russian folk story...
...they give money to synagogues but do not attend them...
...Joan Behrmann replies: As the story on rabbis' wives indicates, we all have our stereotypes about how rebbitzins should be...
...The synagogues have shown either no interest or downright hostility to the local day school and even to the local Jewish community center...
...The result of this state of affairs has been a strengthening of the federation...
...How can this situation be explained...
...And the Mishnah B'rurah in footnote #4 says that olive oil is the best thing to use since the original miracle occurred with olive oil...
...Israel is thousands of miles away, but the day school is around the corner, subtly conditioning the Jewish texture of the community...
...They do not imagine that this one resolution can detonate a shattering chain reaction around the world when so many other resolutions good and bad have fizzled out without even reaching the inside pages of the New York Times...
...I'm thinking here of the zeal which non-religious may share with religious functionaries and manifest regarding the plight of the Jewish community or Jewish religion, which may lead to insensitive if not abusive or doctrinaire treatment of Jewish persons...
...From a practical point of view, this makes sense, since it would hardly serve well or durably to preserve the structure of Jewish life and neglect relatively the individuals who are on hand, and will hopefully be fruitful and multiplying...
...I am certain that it is not a serious possibility...
...But I think the problem lies not in the Halachah but in Rabbi Siegman's casuistic mistreatment of it...
...To the Editor: Let me say at the outset that I share Dr...
...That both articles were penned by rabbis both distinguished by their many calls for Jewish values in the life of Jews may be significant...
...He suggests that we and other democratic countries should prepare to withdraw from the UN, while continuing its important humanitarian work outside the UN structure...
...The current reaction and delay approach definitely promotes continual U.S...
...This requires that the federations examine and evaluate congregational schools, an operation that will not make synagogues very happy...
...At most the Zionism resolution could provide the Soviet Government with some marginal additional pretext for actions it had decided to take anyway...
...Then, when Washington visited Newport, Rhode Island, its congregation presented him with an address on August 17, 1790...
...Of the four presidents who have served in the local Torah u'M'sorah day school since its founding, three were active members of the large Conservative synagogue...
...The other members of the UN would be even less impressed than our allies by U.S...
...Neusner's biased statements contribute to this prejudice...
...Survival, like bread, is by itself not enough...
...Neusner stop looking down on us "Brooklyn Orthodox" as second-class citizens...
...Joseph Kaminetsky National Society for Hebrew Day Schools New York City To the Editor: There is an implicit assumption in the Dresner and Hertzberg articles ("The Dais and The Pulpit," "The House of Study," December, 1975) that significant contributions to Jewish life (in contrast to the life of Jews) can come only from the synagogue, that federations are only fund-raising social groups, and that Torah comes only in a Torah mantle...
...The halachic issue is therefore spurious...
...Dershowitz rightly complains...
...And, does the federation have the right or the skills to tell the temple that its curriculum devotes too much attention to the holidays and not enough to tanachl Dresner and Hertzberg were certainly provocative...
...Behrmann has gone beyond journalistic technique and probably done much disservice to the many sincere women who share with their husbands the joys and burdens of the rabbinic life...
...He remarked on the vicarious nature of much that is "Jewish" in the life of American Jews: they support Israel but will not settle there...
...That almost none of the children continued their Jewish educations past Bar or Bat Mitzvah or Confirmation seemed to matter not at all to the synagogues...
...The weekly testimonial dinners, the fund-raising affairs, the Jewish hospitals without kashrut these are not uncommon...
...The issue is not the concerns and needs which are identified by Rabbi Dresner and others, for there can hardly be any dispute over the support required for Jewish education or the alarm about the prospective disintegration of the Jewish people and their traditions and values...
...What makes these Jews support such a school, even if its Orthodoxy is of the more palatable "Yeshiva University" variety...
...And whatever one may think of the politics of Amram Blau, who to this day refuses to recognize Jewish sovereignty over any part of Israel, his loyalty to the Halachah surely is no less than that of the Miz-rachi...
...WASHINGTON ADDRESS To the Editor: It may be of no great moment, but Professor Leon Jick is careless with his dates in the December (1975) "Recollections/George Washington and Jewish Unity...
...Dershowitz's more basic error...
...On the other hand, institutions and services that perform functions which they were created to perform, and that emerged in response to identified needs and concerns, may be neglecting services which are also required and which, in the spirit of Jewish tradition, are equally exalted...
...attention for they can lead us to what I consider Dr...
...Today it is around $8...
...Dershowitz argues that the good works of the UN impart moral authority to the pronouncements of the General Assembly...
...And, in many cases, there is competition...
...Hura...
...Finally, Dr...
...December, 1975) was so great I read it in its entirety to my Yiddish class...
...Estelle Linzer, Chairman United Nations Association of New York To the Editor: Professor Dershowitz has propounded the dilemma for even the most admiring supporter of international cooperation: What should one's attitude be towards an institution that produces benefits in many different spheres and yet also takes action with which one disagrees...
...ILLUMINATION_ To the Editor: Your pictures of various menorahs lit for each successive night of Chanu-kah was a nice touch to your December issue...
...If the canons of halachic reasoning allow a likening of the positions of Amram Blau's Neturei Karta and Gush Emunim, then, indeed, the halachic issue is spurious...
...If rabbi, educator, social worker and every other practitioner in Jewish communal service were to do his own job well, each in his own allocated way, both Jews and their community would be more likely not only to survive but to enjoy a rich, healthy, wholesome and Jewish life...
...The giving of funds by the local federation to this school is a practical reflection of a positive interaction between the school and the community...
...Kramer and Ms...
...Many a reader will surely retain this caricature as the image of the rabbi's wife, while Anne, the good amateur, Janet in the light blue jeans, and brilliant Hannah fade from his mind...
...You should also have been more careful in your choice of menorahs, since those with the sham-mes on the same level as the other candles, or with the eight candles not in a straight line, are pasul unacceptable...
...The hundreds of resolutions in tens of thousands of words which are adopted every year by the Assembly are never seen by most of the people of these countries...
...They may not know Halachah or the N'viim as well as the rabbis, but they are not unfamiliar with them, and in addition, they may be more familiar than the rabbis with the alphabet soup of NJCRAC, LCBC, ADL, AJC, etc...
...Aren't the benefactors interested in these values...
...As they all took out their homework she discovered that she had done all 20 sentences instead of the first five which I had assigned...
...I am well aware of the need for the powerful opening, that first shock of words which will capture the reader's attention and entice him to stay on with an article...
...Masur for not tampering with Mollie's language and leaving her grammar poetic...
...In Western Europe and most of the Third World, the Zionism resolution got scant press attention and has had little impact on public attitudes...
...The Torah u'M'sorah movement is the one group that had the imagination, commitment, faith and persistence to launch this system of schools, not only in the big Jewish centers, but in such unlikely sites as Dallas and Albuquerque...
...In the meantime, it would better serve the interests of the community if Dr...
...The present board of directors of the school has Orthodox, Conservative and Reform members...
...Both current reality and Jewish tradition suggest that equal attention be paid to the needs of Jewish persons as individual human beings and the interests of the Jews as a group...
...To claim that our day schools "have nothing to do with the values and understanding of their financial benefactors" is absurd...
...What governments does he think we would be cooperating with in those vaguely defined associations...
...Neusner makes the statement (with which I agree) that "accountability would insure that Jews and Jewish organizations who want to be counted as part of the community be prepared to operate from within the community, not outside it...
...frequently, the brightest and most capable leadership is in the federations...
...Rabbi Siegman characterizes the "religious zealotry" of the gush as "idolatry...
...And in the Arab countries I do not believe the plight of the few remaining Jews will be significantly worsened by this development...
...Why should these practitioners, who work hard to acquire their skills and professional values, duplicate the efforts of the more clearly religiously oriented practitioners, when they can complement those efforts...
...Neither is there one standard mold into which all rebbitzins fit...
...Just as I finished one of my students walked in, a bit flustered and breathless...
...Since the intertwinement of the institution's parts rules out sectional adherence (although both Israel and the Arab states have attempted selective employment of UN resolutions ), does one sacrifice the whole for a part or attempt to modify the part in order to preserve the essential contributions of the whole...
...Should a federation tell a synagogue that it is not spending enough of its own money on education...
...They should, however, be given careful We reserve the right to edit letters to conform to our space requirements...
...This skeptical analysis is basically that of our allies...
...The support of day schools could have contributed to this syndrome except for one major difference...
...Professor Dershowitz has furnished a viable proposal by suggesting plans for shifting our support away from the United Nations...
...None of our major allies would join in meaningful "contingency" planning for a withdrawal...
...The entire class chorused, "Un ich shtey do mit dem gevashenem haldz...
...Morris U. Schappes New York City _TRAIF_ To the Editor: Simmering the bacon, indeed...
...on page 8 the brotherhood plans a sports night, and the board of trustees wrestles with plans for a dinner dance or a raffle, the federation may conduct a seminar .on the problems of the Jewish parent, conduct an Ulpan, or draw 300 people to hear a lecture on Jewish ethics...
...The irony, of course, of this whole "controversy" is that the "Brooklyn Orthodoxy" schools get a mere pittance from federation...
...The school has a slow, low-key but persistent influence...
...If we did actually withdraw from the Assembly, they would expect us to sulk outside while they carried on the effort from within, and then to come back through some face-saving arrangement with nothing to show for the whole affair...
...Would they be any different from those with whom we deal now...
...Synagogues have thwarted federation programs to persuade people to attend Shabbat services...

Vol. 1 • March 1976 • No. 8


 
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