Wish you all well over the fast!

PO Box 34296, London NW5 1YW • letters@thejngroup.com

Clarifying the board’s position on yachad

Dear Sir,

Kind though it was for your correspondents to commend me for voting against admitting Yachad to the Board of Deputies (Letters, 18 December), I ought to comment on a few points so your readers get a fair and accurate picture. The Board has not ‘tried to remove’ anyone who opposed Yachad’s admission. There is no such power in the Board’s rules and if there had been any attempt to do such a thing, I think I would have heard about it. I was not the only deputy to vote against Yachad, although I was the only honorary officer to do so. The vote needed a two-thirds majority to pass, and only just succeeded by a few votes. More than 50 deputies voted against. What is noteworthy is that most of the speakers who supported Yachad’s admission made it clear that they disagreed with its views. Their support was based instead on the argument for the Board to be inclusive. It is a respectable argument, even though I took a different view on the issue in question. The Board is broadly based and reflects the spectrum of views across our community. That is what gives it its democratic legitimacy to speak on the community’s behalf. No other body can claim this. So while your correspondents refer to ‘Marx-worshipping deputies’, I can confirm from my close knowledge of the Board as its vice president that while I know of some deputies with left-leaning views, I doubt that any are Marxists and I have never heard anyone express such a political viewpoint. Rather it is true that they represent the same range of views found not only in our community, but also of course across the Jewish world and in Israel itself. One thing is absolutely clear: deputies care passionately about the peace and security of Israel, though they may differ, sometimes vigorously, about which policy is most likely to bring it about. Just like in Israel.

Jonathan Arkush Vice President, Board of Deputies

Assimilation can only destroy us

Dear Sir,

It appears we are destroying ourselves by adapting to our own desires and disregarding our original commandments in order to satisfy personal feelings. Is it not clearly commanded that we should not have physical relations with the same sex which amounts to sodomy? Is it also commanded that ‘thou shall not give thy sons to their daughters for they will turn them against Me?’ We modify these commands to suit our own desires. We have been reduced drastically by the Holocaust. We were supposed to dwell as a nation and not to assimilate. Assimilation can only destroy us. By respecting others and not to be consumed by other nations is how it was meant to be. Yet we now destroy our destiny by allowing religious union to same-sex couples and glory in marriage with gentiles. We of course should respect other denominations, but should also not sacrifice our own precious heritage. We may not have been able to evade the Holocaust, but we can, however painful it may be to regard our heritage and not succumb to our emotions. We will then survive and not be absorbed by the nations. It is written that in the nations shall we know no ease. Survival is in our own hands. Nothing could be clearer. Why destroy ourselves?

Jeffrey Kwintner, Edgware

Don’t force gay culture on us all

Dear Sir,

David Baker’s letter (Jewish News, 24 December) is objectionable in that he wishes to keep gay issues ‘in our faces’. If he is gay, that’s his business, but please don’t force this culture on everyone. He then goes on with a salacious distortion of the Torah by arguing that how does “to go forth and multiply” apply to gays? The answer is quite clear – it doesn’t. As a traditional Jew who belongs to an Orthodox Synagogue, my view is that gays should belong to Liberal or Reform Synagogues, which readily accept their unorthodox practices. Please don’t expect Orthodox congregations to cave in to fashionable social pressures to accept the unacceptable.

Anthony Spencer, Shenley

The power to spur on others

Dear Sir,

Inviting your Jewish News readers to nominate deserving young candidates in Forty Under 40 and Twenty-Five Under 25 can only strengthen the self-esteem of the young nominees. There is nothing more powerful to spur one to succeed than the knowledge of what is expected of us. May I wish Andrew Gilbert, chairman of the panel, much joy and satisfaction in his important assignment.

Bettine le Beau, North Finchley