Letters: Taking Sides, Other Options, Wrong Focus

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Closeup of letters on writing desk at home
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One Side Only
In response to “Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer Attended Cease-Fire Gathering and March for Israel Rally,” (Nov. 30), I see only one side — the side that has to eradicate evil. The Allies were that side in World War II, and Israel is on that side now.

My sympathy is for the victims of the Oct. 7 massacre, the hostages, the Israelis who have been living in terror from rockets fired from Gaza and from Lebanon, for all those innocent Israelis injured and murdered in terror attacks throughout the years and to the brave IDF men and women who have been wounded and killed in this righteous cause. That’s where my sympathy ends.

Zachary Margolies, Philadelphia


Another Option
The Israeli-Palestinean conflict does not have to be war, does not have to end in death (“Israel-Hamas War Resumes as Truce Ends After 7 Days,” online Dec. 1).

One way to go forward: We Jews can read Arab writers. Sayed Kashua and Ghassan Kanafani are two good writers, and the other side can read ours, perhaps a book that describes the destruction of the Second Temple and our expulsion from the Promised Land by the Romans, and maybe “Night” and “Dawn” by Elie Wiesel or maybe Israeli writers in David Grossman or Amos Oz.

We will each learn the story of the other, how the other has a legitimate claim to the same land. We each know our own story; we each need to know the orher story, so that each side can develop compassion and understanding not just for ourselves but also for the other.

And then, both sides can lay down their weapons and sit down at a table and draw a map that each side can live with, in peace.

David Broida, Bryn Mawr

Out of Focus
I am writing in response to “Congregation Kol Emet Celebrates 10 Years With Rabbi Anna Boswell Levy” published on Nov. 16.

Your choice to focus this story on Boswell-Levy’s gender, parenting and age did a disservice to her, her congregation, and to Jewish women leaders and rabbis everywhere. It was both offensive and dismissive of Boswell-Levy’s true accomplishments.

Would you choose to include gender as a primary factor in a male rabbi’s hiring? Would you repeatedly include man or male as a descriptor in a story about a male rabbi? Would you include comments about conflicts between synagogue programing and the bedtimes of a male rabbi’s children? By doing so, you exhibited your belief that a women rabbi successfully leading a congregation for 10 years is both novel and remarkable. It is not.

Women have been ordained as rabbis since 1972. Fifty-one years later, some of our most prominent leaders — in congregations, on campuses, in federations, and heading Jewish movements — are women.

In choosing to focus on these points, you missed the opportunity to focus on Boswell-Levy’s real accomplishments. She has served on the national boards of T’ruah and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. She serves on the Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia’s executive committee. She has served the needs of her congregation with wisdom, grace, creativity and compassion. She is not Kol Emet’s “woman rabbi.” She is their rabbi. Period.

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, CEO of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

1 COMMENT

  1. Mr. Broida, it’s time to put down the rose colored glasses. The Oct. 7 massacre was not caused by a lack of compassion and understanding by anyone, especially not by the moral cretins of Hamas. When you decapitate, burn alive babies and the elderly while raping and torturing innocent women, you’ve just destroyed the illusion of being called human and worthy of negotiating with. The seed of the Oct. 7 savagery were planted in the Hamas run schools, media and culture which demonized Israelis and Jews and encouraged their extermination. Your well intentioned but naive solution of reading Arab authors is part of the problem not part of the solution.

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