Retiring Rabbi: He’s on to Something
I found your cover story on retiring Rabbi Seymour Rosenbloom fascinating (“Retiring Rabbi Says It’s Time for a ‘New Vision,’ ” Oct. 24). Here is a Conservative rabbi espousing social and political thoughts I would believe more in keeping with Reform Judaism. His view that eventually there will be only liberal and Orthodox Judaism may be considered, in some circles, radical, but I think he is on to something.
As a Reform Jew, I have been uncomfortable in Reform temples for some time as I see what I consider a shift of Reform towards Conservatism. I see more Hebrew being introduced into the service, which most can read but few understand; a shift to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and away from Confirmations; cantors and cantorial soloists conducting more of the services in place of rabbis; and Reform temples referred to as synagogues. There is nothing wrong with any of this, if that is what people want, but it is a shift — if only a subtle one — away from Reform.
Now Rabbi Rosenbloom finds Conservatism too confining and not in keeping with the way Jews think and conduct their lives. Liberal Judaism combining Conservative with Reform might be a perfect solution to those who feel uncomfortable in either one.
I agree with the rabbi that there is no reason to be pessimistic about Judaism and that change is healthy and may be the future.
Ralph D. Bloch, Warrington
Palestinians Will Never Recognize Israel
Opinion writer Ben Cohen is correct to observe that the Palestinians are engaged in a “war against Israel’s legitimacy” and that therefore Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is an indispensable element in achieving a future peace (“Why Netanyahu Is Right to Insist on Recognition,” Oct. 17).
He is right, because non-recognition of Israel is a core element of the Palestinian position when Palestinians actually discuss it among themselves.
That’s why Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a Ramallah rally in March 2009 that “I do not accept the Jewish state, call it what you will.”
That’s why the P.A. claims to recognize Israel internationally but insists that none of its constituent factions, including Abbas’ own Fatah, need ever do so. As Abbas put it in 2006, “It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel.”
That’s why Muhammad Dahlan, former commander of Fatah forces in Gaza, has candidly said on P.A. TV, “The Fatah movement does not recognize Israel, even today.”
Statements like these — and there are many more –– expose the falsity of the claim made across international governments and the media that the Palestinians have accepted Israel’s legitimacy and permanence.
Morton A. Klein, National president Zionist Organization of America, New York, N.Y.