Anti-semitism has strangely given us a sense of unity and strength

Councillor Brian Gordon’s opinion piece [read here] carried with it the unfortunate arrogance that circulates among “the Orthodox” of all religions and not just our own. It illustrates a lack of understanding between belief, faith and concept and is to be deplored.

While the love of Torah has indeed been the mainstay of the continuation of Judaism since the dispersion, it has been anti-Semitism that has, strangely, brought us to where we now are.

Without the anti-Semitism of the past 2,000 years, the Jewish people would have virtually ceased to be and might only be represented in the UK as a minor Orthodox sect.

Malcolm Factor, Enfield

It was the worst of Times

Vanessa Feltz was wrong in her reaction to Kevin Myers’ loathsome column in the Irish Sunday Times. His piece was not simply anti-Semitic – it was pure religious bigotry.

The Sunday Times cannot get away just with the dismissal of the journalist whose outrageous comments on Jewish women BBC presenters got into print.

As Baroness Ruth Deech said on Radio 5 Live, it requires a serious investigation into how it passed through the editing process. Those responsible are arguably more culpable than an irresponsible columnist and deserve serious admonition and some education. As Lady Deech said, anti-Semitism on campus has been given a patina of respectability by allowing, if not encouraging, reasonable criticism of the Israeli government to slip into overt anti-Semitism. Also, the Chakrabarti Report by the Labour Party was a whitewash, allowing Mr Corbyn to hide behind a bland ‘I disapprove of all racism’ mantra. Anti-Semitism is not racist. It is religious bigotry which, along with Islamaphobia, needs tackling vigorously. That such views can be expressed, let alone held, by a Sunday Times writer beggars belief.

Barry Hyman, Bushey Heath

 

It’s hail to the chief – a much-needed leader in these very difficult times

All respect to Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis in his demonstration of inclusivity in the Rabbi Joseph Dweck case. He is a much-needed leader in difficult times who shows strength and purpose in very tricky matters.

Margaret Leverton, By email

Laura’s wrong on pay

There has been much misinformed comment (mostly from women) about the BBC gender pay gap. Those whose jobs are the same, with the same experience and same hours, receive the same salary. But top earners have individual contracts – so their salaries are not comparable.

Laura Marks [Read here] suggests “many Jewish communal organisations will breathe a sigh of relief” that they do not have to disclose their pay gaps (because they have fewer than 250 employees). But the figures would be meaningless because they reflect a different occupation mix for men and women. The same applies to Ms Marks’ reference to Jewish organisations. No belittling of WIZO – but is Ms Marks seriously suggesting its CEO should be paid the same as the Chief Rabbi?

Jonathan Hoffman, Arkley

Beware the bullies

Jenni Frazer [27 July] raises important points resulting from the open letter from strictly-Orthodox rabbis condemning JW3. I fear the authors have their tails up after the Chief Rabbi’s decision to reprimand and punish Rabbi Dweck by removing him as Dayan on the Sephardi Beth Din, having to submit the contents of any public shiurim for review and preventing him taking up summer residence scholarship in the US.

As with most bullies, if you let them get away with it, they become emboldened not only to continue tormenting others but to demand more and more. Our community has enough problems from the outside world without creating internal ones.

Mike Hinden, By email

Your editorial jarred alongside charedim letter

Your editorial complaining about the rabbinical call for a boycott of JW3 sat uneasily with the letter opposite from Jose Martin which you printed prominently in bold [27 July] calling for similar action against the Charedim. Evidently journalists do not take the Hippocratic Oath.

Jose slags off the community, ignoring the wealth of kindness, charity, scholarship and attention to moral lifestyle and focusing instead on some minority deviations. Jose paints a picture of a community like Henry Ford – rejecting anything not in black is nonsense.

I frequently dress in blue to no ill effect though perhaps we are all black and blue after this intemperate lambasting. To publish this unbalanced letter laced with streicheren overtones as if it is a sober dispassionate analysis was a grave journalistic error.

Geoffrey Niman, Stamford Hill

A disgraceful reaction

I heard Rabbi Joseph Dweck speak at an annual Chevra dinner. My impression was that he was articulate, well informed and made a very good impression on the audience, including me.

The rights or wrongs of Rabbi Dweck’s recent comments on homosexuality are another matter.

He is entitled to voice his opinions in an honest way and I feel the majority of those who read his articles are of the same opinion.

The reaction from some of the rabbinate, in particular Rabbi Bassous, was disgraceful. He could have voiced his opinion in a far more diplomatic fashion. He has caused rifts between some
communities by his comments.

Harold Lautenberg, By email