Letters | Speaking Out and Unity


American Jews Must Speak Out

Recently, in response to the passage by Israel’s Knesset of the so-called Nation-State Bill, responses to the bill from the American Jewish community have been mixed (“We Do Need to Talk, But Don’t Expect Consensus,” July 26). Many high-ranking American Jewish leaders have objected to different aspects of the bill, while others defend it. It is fair to say that the strident arguments on both sides have taken on lives of their own.

Adding his voice to the fray, Exponent editor-in-chief Joshua Runyan’s column portrays correctly some of the issues being debated. He then uses his column to scold American Jews for weighing in on the issues that concern us. He further suggests that, since Israel is a democracy, those wishing to weigh in on issues in Israel should move there and vote: “That’s how democracies work,” he stated. Otherwise, he implied, we have no right to protest.

To make his point, Runyan seems to taunt the 80 percent of Americans who are against the iron-clad control of marriages and divorces in Israel by the Chief Rabbinate. Part of that control involves preventing and/or refusing to recognize marriages or divorces performed in Israel by non-Orthodox rabbis. Of course, 80 percent of American Jews, all non-Orthodox and some Orthodox Jews would like to know that whether here or there, their rabbis and religious status would be recognized throughout the Jewish world.

Israel is a democracy and we should expect this from Israel as well. In fact, as things stand today, Israel is the only westernized country that sanctions by law discrimination against certain (non-Orthodox) Jews and their forms of religious expression.

American Jews are not asking, nor should they ask, for a say in matters of security. But when it comes to the Jewish nature of the state of Israel, when it comes to issues of discrimination against American Jews and when it comes to the status of democracy and religious freedom in Israel, American Jews not only have the right but the obligation to speak out against the injustices and inequities we perceive.

Rabbi Neil Cooper | Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, Wynnewood

Jewish Success Rooted in Unity

I am disturbed by the tone among letters to the editor of the Exponent (“Dog Whistles Are Real,” Aug. 9). It’s great that so many Jews are active in the political process of our country. We clearly don’t all agree with which political party/philosophy is best for the country and the state of Israel.

Some people feel that Israel is important but they feel the future of this country might be more important. And others feel that Israel is so important that they feel that is their first allegiance.

But I implore those with strong opinions to soften the tone of their discourse. For the most part I have seen few (or zero) people who have been swayed by someone from the other side.

We are a small people. We cannot afford to be split.

Think about the effect a posting will have on the Jewish community. Will it serve to divide or unite? Let’s spend time listening to each other, instead of trying to convince each other.

We will be much stronger if we are together. A generation ago, the Jewish community worked together to help free Soviet Jews. We were successful because we were together.

Bernie Dishler | Elkins Park


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here