Saturday, December 31, 2005

Letter in the Jewish Week

This is how the vast majority of non-orthodox Jews look (or don't look) at the Torah:

Jewish Week:

Concerning the discussion among Conservative rabbis at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s biennial regarding halacha and how it affects gay and lesbian rabbinical students (“Conservative Leaders Call for New Openness,” Dec. 9), you should be aware that this discrimination is directed toward congregants as well. My partner and I have been refused a family membership at our local Conservative synagogue.
Conservative Jews who are not religious fundamentalists, who are politically liberal in terms of civil rights for others but have a problem with gays and lesbians, are being permitted to use the Torah for political purposes.
These Conservative Jews who are not influenced in their daily lives by halacha are now quoting Leviticus. To quote Leviticus as a reason to discriminate is simply abuse of the Torah.
No one should be allowed to wrap themselves in the Torah in order to justify discrimination.
My suggestion to the Conservative movement is to put away the Torah and start to have a serious discussion about what it means to be created in God’s image.
As Oscar Wilde said, “Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people we personally dislike.”
Claire Eisenstadt
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 7:35 PM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is how the vast majority of non-orthodox Jews look (or don't look) at the Torah:"

No they don't, and I'm a long time kiruv product, working in the professional world, with many non-orthodox friends, business colleagues, and obviously, family members.

The vast majority of our fellow Jews are nice people who just don't know better, that's all. Tinok sh'nishba. They also very graciously give tzedakah to many mosdos, including Lakewood.

I confess, I just don't get you. On the one hand, you've got this blog, which indicates some degree of openness on your part to thoughtfully discuss the issues of the day, but on the other hand, comments like this indicate a very narrow, rigid worldview.

You would do better to offer for comment a letter from Morton Avigdor in the same Jewish Week issue addressing metzitzah b'peh. Avigdor is a former in-house lawyer for Aguda, although he does not so identify himself. In my opinion, the viewpoints in the letter are just plain wrong. He suggests that the Health Commissioner's recent letter to parents warning about MBP violates the Constitution (Freedom of Religion). Nobody is seriously saying this. The Government can regulate any health practice, period. Can the Government, through its Building Department, regulate the construction of a church or synagogue? Of course.

MBP has nothing to do with the Constitution. The argument between the opposing sides is the degree of risk that MBP presents. This is a medical argument, not a legal argument.

But I suspect Avigdor knows this. Yet, he is attempting to mislead, and thereby sway public opinion.

From one letter, should all non-orthodox Jews conclude that all orthodox Jews are inclined toward presenting twisted argument? Gee, I hope not.

For that matter, should all non-orthodox Jews conclude that all orthodox Jews are g'navim, when they read the latest headline about an orthodox Jew being accused or convicted for some type of fraud? Like selling soy oil, and claiming it is shemen zayis?

Really, you can do a lot better.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous observer said...

I think the letter makes a good point, although, of course, I am opposed to what the letter writer stands for. In other words, if they ignore other prohibitions blithely, why are they suddenly so concerned about that one?

If most non-orthodox are like that - I think the above poster makes a good point. One could argue that the letter writer is not typical and is an activist (perhaps that could be said about letter writers in general) for that cause.

8:09 PM  

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