The status of the Kotel
Norma Baumel Joseph states that the Kotel is “not a synagogue” (We won’t stop until we have equal rights at the Kotel) and therefore, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the legal administrator, has no authority to issue guidelines that restrict women from praying with a Torah there.
The Kotel is indeed a synagogue where services are held every day of the year, and there is a regulation, enacted in 2010, that does prohibit women from bringing a Torah to the Kotel Plaza, so Rabbi Rabinowitz’s ruling is consistent with the law.
Jews and Christmas
Michael Taube’s column (Jews and Christmas: enjoy the holiday) is very troubling.
Maintaining strong Jewish identities within our community is crucial for our community’s future, and threats to this future abound, with the high costs of Jewish education and the rising rates of intermarriage. For Jewish communities to thrive in the future, Jewish children must be raised in a Jewish environment with an understanding of who they are. Jews who choose to celebrate Christmas (or any other non-Jewish holiday) in their homes are confusing their children and putting their Jewish identities at risk.
During this season, Canadian Jews cannot help but be immersed in the “Christmas spirit” because it surrounds us in many places. We can appreciate the beauty of decorations in the malls and on the homes of neighbours, and we can enjoy the music of the season on the radio, but Christmas celebrates a significant event for Christians, and it is not our holiday.
Joanne R. Fisher
Jews and Christmas II
I have no problem with Michael Taube being irreligious, agnostic, atheist or whatever religious title he bestows upon himself. But to flaunt his utter love for Christmas, almost in the same breath as his disdain for Chanukah, has no place in the pages of The CJN.
I grew up in Montreal among Christian friends and have many today, especially in the Armenian community. I have had many of them over for Pesach seders, Shabbat dinners and Rosh Hashanah celebrations. The respect we have for each other’s holidays and traditions is mutual.
I have been buying Christmas gifts for my Christian friends for as long as I can remember. I have enjoyed listening to Christmas music for as long as I remember. I love seeing the Christmas decorations and enjoy going to Christmas parties whenever I am invited.
But my wife and I do not celebrate Christmas as a holiday in our home.
We don’t flaunt it above our own holidays and traditions – no trees, pagan or otherwise, no wreaths, no presents for Jewish friends or family members etc.
Taube needs reminding that the word Christmas means “Christ’s Mass.”
Resigning in the year 5776
Kol hakavod to the Beth Tzedec choir for resigning under pressure to affirm their Jewish identity (Renowned Beth Tzedec choir resigns en masse).
This act of maintaining solidarity with their non-Jewish colleagues speaks volumes for the choir as individuals and reflects a very poor, outdated judgment on the part of the authorities who proposed this. We are living in Canada in the 21st century (or 5776, if you prefer), not in some medieval ghetto.