Letters, the Week of March 10, 2016

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Readers discuss the Conservative movement, JSPAN and presidential candidates.

Why Take an Orthodox Approach?
In the guise of presenting a Point-Counterpoint on the future of Conservative Judaism (Op-Ed, March 3), you did your readers a great disservice by allowing one side of the debate to be presented by two Orthodox rabbis who openly show their disdain for the core beliefs that are embraced enthusiastically by almost all Conservative Jews I know.
Notwithstanding Rabbis Menken and Lerner’s disdain for these principles, I, for one, am proud of the Conservative movement’s attitude toward same-sex marriage, acceptance of many different visions of God and welcoming approach toward intermarried congregants. What journalistic value does it serve for the Exponent to print a critique of the Conservative movement’s efforts to stay relevant, written by rabbis who apparently believe that my rabbi has “abandoned a commitment to Jewish substance,” and who have the chutzpah to proclaim that, “in order to find people who take Judaism seriously, you pray with the Orthodox”?
I am happy these rabbis and their congregants have found an approach to Judaism that works well for them. I don’t know why they, in turn, can’t abandon their condescending attitude to the 90 percent of Jews who don’t share their zeal for calcified piety; or why the Exponent thinks its readers should care what these rabbis think of how Conservatives make our shared religion relevant in the 21st century.
 Richie Feder | Mt. Airy
Standing Strong on Reproductive Rights
Since its founding in 2003, Jewish Social Policy Action Network (JSPAN) has been in the forefront of the Jewish community in supporting the right to reproductive freedom and protecting religious liberty. Sometimes we take the lead by filing amicus briefs in the Supreme Court, as we did in the Hobby Lobby case, arguing that private corporations should not be able to claim a religious right to deny their employees access to reproductive health care services. Other times, we work in coalition with Jewish and non-Jewish groups.
Recently JSPAN joined with the Anti-Defamation League in asking the Supreme Court to uphold the provision in the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate that requires a religious institution opposed to contraception to sign a waiver stating such, after which employees can receive it through third parties. In Zubik v. Burwell, petitioners claim that merely signing a waiver violates the signers’ religious tenets, and is thus unconstitutional according to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). JSPAN heartily agrees with the ADL that signing the waiver does not pass RFRA’s “substantial burden” test. Moreover, finding for the petitioners would prevent employees who favor the use of contraceptives from exercising their own freedom of religion. Joining us were Bend the Arc, Keshet, National Council of Jewish Women and Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.
Rabbi George Stern | Executive Director 
Rabbi Seymour Rosenbloom | President
Politics: The Final Frontier
I am appalled by the degree of 2016 presidential election partisan politization that the Jewish Exponent has seemingly embraced, extending even into culture commentary.
In the article, “Rabbi’s Lecture Series Links ‘Star Trek’ to Jewish Values” (Feb. 25), the evil inclination is defined as “brash and forceful” — a transparent swipe at Donald Trump and Chris Christie; while the good inclination is described as “uneasy and soft-spoken” — an obvious plug for Dr. Ben Carson.
Unacceptable!
Evan Handelman | Horsham

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