Letters week of May 23, 2013


One reader insists that Jewish holidays are popular only if they feature food and gifts while two others argue over the merits of Chabad.


Holidays Are Popular If They Feature Food
In response to Rabbi Winokur’s opinion piece, “Shavuot: No Matter What, It Will Never Be a Popular Holiday” in the May 9 Exponent, I have realized that the most celebrated Jewish holidays are those that involve good foods and presents. For example, more people are going to celebrate Chanukah rather than Yom Kippur.
This allows one to infer that Judaism is becoming less prominent in an increasingly secular society. Shuls are becoming crowded with those who primarily attend for the purpose of “shmoozing” with their friends and other irrelevant topics.
Furthermore, the only holidays being celebrated in Judaism — and other religions — are based on convenience rather than faith.
Jacob Scharf | Bala Cynwyd
Attack on Chabad Was Unfair and Unwarra​nted
As a Jew who is a member of Conservative Judaism, I was appalled at the letter by Maurice Feldman, “Chabad Got Far Too Much Play in Inside,” in the May 16 Exponent, that unfairly and falsely attacked the Chabad movement. Not being satisfied with comparing Chabad to radical Islam (I don’t seem to remember a member of Chabad flying planes into a building or being a suicide bomber), he even criticized Chabad for holding events for the community that are free.
After insisting that attendees at these Chabad events and services are there for the food and drink, he then accused Chabad of using these free events to denigrate other streams of Judaism. 
Other comments that Feldman makes are equally untrue and inflammatory. For example, he accused Chabad of mistaking “mysticism for spirituality” and having their religion revolve around biblical interpretation, not Torah. In essence, his letter delegitimizes Chabad and by extension Orthodox Judaism. Thus, he does exactly what he accuses Chabad of doing.
Various Jewish organizations report an alarming increase in anti-Semitism around the world, especially in Europe. In addition, various Christian denominations — such as the Presbyterians and Quakers — have unfairly attacked Israel.
With these attacks on Judaism and Israel by anti-Semites of the left and the right, denying the contributions and making untrue and spiteful accusations against any stream of Judaism is simply unacceptable and plays right into the hands of those who would harm us.
Philip Weinstein | Richboro
Article on Chabad Was Spot On in Its Criticism
Maurice Feldman was spot on in noting in his May 16 letter that “Chabad Got Far Too Much Play in Inside.”
The sad fact is that Chabad-Lubavitch is no fan of Zionism or of the current Jewish state. To wit: Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the Lubavitcher rebbe, forbade his followers from singing “Hatikvah”; and, when the bodies of their shlichim were flown to Israel after the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, Chabad protested when the coffins of the deceased were wrapped in the Israeli flag.
In addition, in the name of “Jewish unity,” Chabad solicits funding from non-observant Jews and then turns around and stabs them in the back. Thus, Rabbi Schneerson was the behind-the-scenes mastermind of the Israeli Knesset’s 1989 “Who Is a Jew?” legislation and campaign aimed at delegitimizing the Reform and Conservative movements.
Rachmiel Gottlieb | Pikesville, Md.


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