Home Opinions Letters Week of April 21, 2016

Week of April 21, 2016

Letters to the Editor THE CJN PHOTO
Letters to the Editor THE CJN PHOTO

Gaza doctor replies

I just read the article, “Rights museum criticized for featuring Palestinian doctor.” It was sad to see an academic judge without knowing and that The CJN gave him a stage. I expect The CJN to spread tolerance, truth, kindness and wisdom. There is enough hatred and suffering for all.

I would like to invite Haskel Greenfield to attend my lecture and have a sincere and authentic dialogue about what can be done to have Palestinians and Israelis living together as equal citizens and being free in independent states.

Izzeldin Abuelaish, MD



Talking about the elephant

It’s so nice to see Canadian Jewish and Muslim women engaging with each other in such a friendly, non-threatening way (“The state of Jewish-Muslim dialogue in Canada”). If only women in, say, Israel and Palestine could take a page from this group and involve themselves in creative movement and discussions about empowerment, there could finally be a true and lasting peace.

Just kidding, of course. In the real world of the Middle East, Israel must continually assert its right to exist in the face of Arab/Muslim rejectionism, a state of affairs that has its origin in Islam’s sacred texts, which record the prophet Muhammad’s “Jewish problem.”

I have no objection to Barbara Landau and her group shmoozing like crazy and dancing up a storm. I do, however, object to the idea that it will lead to anything of value in the larger scheme. How could it when everyone is deftly avoiding the ever-present elephant in the room: the Jews’ sovereignty over their ancient, ancestral homeland and the Islamic belief that once a land has been conquered for Allah, there’s no going back?

Mindy G. Alter



The courage of Rabbi Cardozo

As co-ordinators of the David Cardozo Academy Think Tank in Jerusalem, we know Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo well, though we do not agree with all of his views (such disagreement is something he himself encourages). We are some of the people who “relieve Rabbi Cardozo’s religious loneliness,” as Rabbi Dow Marmur wrote, (“A timid hero”).

While we appreciated Rabbi Marmur’s call against isolationism and for uniting to take action, in Rabbi Cardozo’s case, throwing in his lot with the progressive movements would be inauthentic to his beliefs and undermine his goals. Rabbi Cardozo’s commitment to Halachah is total and traditional in a way that other movements, even perhaps the Conservative movement’s, are not.

This remains a fundamental and unbridgeable difference, even when he pushes for changes in Halachah. Though he is absolutely willing to learn from all denominations (and religions) in order to create a more humane, moral and authentically Jewish Halachah, joining forces with people who reject the Orthodox community’s mechanisms for halachic change does not accomplish his stated goals.

Rabbi Marmur claims that Orthodoxy is not for Rabbi Cardozo. But since Rabbi Cardozo is trying to wrest Halachah away from those responsible for its stagnation, who are undoubtedly Orthodox Jews, his message must in large measure be aimed at these groups. In his view, the only way to wrest a stagnated Orthodoxy away from the Orthodox in order to rejuvenate it and return it to its authentic state is by disturbing it from within, broadcasting to those willing to listen and to whom the message is relevant. It is not Rabbi Marmur’s congregants (we assume) who end up having to recite by rote prayers hundreds of years old, for fear of tinkering with established liturgy, or who struggle with the laws around drinking wine poured by a non-Jew!

Rabbi Cardozo’s mission is to provide a bold voice calling for Orthodox Judaism to become the most elevated, thrilling and noble path that it can be. He consistently points to aspects that are based on fear and diasporic thinking and will not let us rest in our comfortable, routine Orthodox lives, calling us to think more, do more, and be more.

In light of Rabbi Cardozo’s willingness to stand his ground, at personal cost, Rabbi Marmur’s musings about his “timidity” and “insecurity” astonished us.

Yael Unterman, Yael Valier

David Cardozo Academy Think Tank