Letters | Donald Trump, Synagogues and Veganism

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Trump Is Not an Anti-Semite

Myron Bassman falsely and absurdly claims President Donald Trump is an anti-Semite (Kvetch ’N’ Kvell, Aug. 15).

Trump has moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem; recognized the Golan Heights as sovereign Jewish land; threw the Jew-hating Israelophobic terrorist PLO out of their Washington offices; ended all aid to the anti-Israel Palestinian Authority, UN Human Rights Council and UNRWA; stopped promoting a dangerous, terrorist Palestinian state; appointed strong supporters of Israel like U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Ambassador David Friedman, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Chief John Bolton and Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.

Trump has also repeatedly condemned anti-Semitism, white supremacists, the KKK and neo-Nazis. He visited the Pittsburgh synagogue where the anti-Semitic massacre took place and invited to the White House the Chabad rabbi whose synagogue endured an attack. And he proudly talks about his Orthodox Jewish daughter and grandchildren.

Twice, Trump was the grand marshal of the NYC Israel Day Parade.

President Trump is the opposite of an anti-Semite. He loves Jewish people and the Jewish state. He has been the greatest president for the Jewish state of Israel ever.

Morton A. Klein, national president, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) | Merion

Op-Ed Emphasizes Synagogues’ Lifelong Value

Max Weisman’s Aug. 8 piece, “Why Millennials Are Opting Out of Synagogue,” ironically epitomizes the undeniable role shuls play in raising Jewish children into adults who continue to connect to the rituals and teachings of Judaism in their adulthood.

Weisman shares that he doesn’t currently attend synagogue but maintains a strong sense of Jewish identity and even observes some Jewish rituals. He did, however, attend synagogue growing up.

Although I don’t know Weisman, I am almost certain that if it weren’t for his synagogue-based upbringing, he wouldn’t be as connected to his Judaism as he is now. Acknowledging this fact is key to appreciating the lifelong value synagogues have on shaping Jewish people who are connected to their Judaism.

As a believer in synagogues, I view Weisman’s situation as a testimony not to the failure, but to the success of the synagogue. The paramount aim of a synagogue should be to support people in living meaningful lives through the framework of the precious tradition we call “Judaism.”

To that end, I urge Weisman to continue to live his life in the manner that feels most Jewishly meaningful to him, even if that doesn’t include attending synagogue. Yet, I have one request: Mr. Weisman: If/when you and your wife decide to have a child, please, join a synagogue and involve your child in institutional Jewish life. He or she may one day decide that, like you, synagogue involvement isn’t the most meaningful expression of his or her Judaism.

Yet every Jewish child deserves a shul-based upbringing, because, as exemplified by your personal story, and despite popular belief, synagogues remain effective, dare I say essential, in raising people who care about and live Judaism.

Julian Brenman | Lower Merion

Unconscious Bias?

It is a bit ironic (and, perhaps, a poor layout choice) that the end of “Veganism is a core Jewish Value” on Aug. 29 is in the column that abuts the page whose first entry is a recipe for lamb burgers. Someone’s unconscious reaction to veganism?

Linda Fein | Philadelphia

1 COMMENT

  1. I guess Klein was napping for the last several decades to have missed all the things Trump has said and done that are anti-Semitic and racist.  What Trump has actually done is try to leverage us and Israel as a wedge issue in U.S. politics. Trump’s positions on Israel do not stem from love of the Jewish people. His  desire is only to keep his evangelical followers.  President Trump is creating an environment in which anti-Semitism is growing and flourishing. As examples:

    “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump said at a news conference.

    Trump’s refusal during the campaign to condemn outright David Duke.

    Trump’s reference in a speech to a group of American Jewish Republicans that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “your prime minister.”

    Trump told us there were “very fine” people among neo-Nazi marchers chanting “Jews will not replace us!” 

    Trump had told a gaggle of reporters he thought liberal Jews, roughly 75% of whom support Democrats, are “stupid and disloyal.”

    Trump tweeted approval of a racist conspiracy-monger’s assertion that Trump should be treated as the Jews’ Messiah.

    Trump had a known neo-Nazi on his staff:  Sebastian Gorka.

    And then there is his racism, as seen in  his remarks about sh-thole countries, telling people of colour to go back to their native lands (never mind most were born in the USA), the Muslim travel ban, kidnapping children of Latino families seeking asylum, trying to deny non-US sick children health care after they volunteered to be used to develop new drugs that benefited US children.  In 1973 the US Justice Department found Trump guilty of racial bias at his family’s real-estate company. According to multiple reliable reports, when Trump and his first wife came to his New Jersey casinos, the bosses would order all the black staff off the floor. In the early 1990s, Trump attempted to block the building of new casinos in Connecticut and New York that could cut into his casino operations in Atlantic City, in an effort to modify legislation that had given Native American tribes the right to own and operate casinos, stating “They don’t look like Indians to me.”  Let’s not forget “birther-ism” against President Obama.

    There is a reason that American Jews overwhelmingly voted against Trump. Jewish values include opposition to racism in all forms, a concern for the poor and the stranger, and a reverence for the rule of law.  Trump, our infantile, uninformed, incurious, addled, inattentive,  president, who doesn’t know what a Jew is, and frankly knows nothing of Christian values, treats everyone – no matter their affiliation – with absolute and utter disdain.  

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