Keep bds leaders out

To boycott or ostracise Israel seems to be the topic of the day. It is a debate with deep and dirty associations. As early as 1922 there was an attempted Arab boycott of anything Jewish owned or produced in Mandatory Palestine, to undermine the League of Nations’ proposed Jewish national home in Biblical Israel, known at that point as Palestine or South Syria.

The current manifestation is the Boycott, Divest and Sanction Movement. It supports the right of millions of Arabs to return to pre-1948 homes, moving Israel toward being a Muslim-majority state.

Israel is 25 percent Arab and could reach 50 percent. BDS is based on the premise that Israel should be dismantled. Should the Knesset not have the right to vote to ban official BDS leaders from entering Israel?

Joseph Feld, By email

Brian gordon’s zeal would have been out of place even in the 18th century

Brian Gordon may be an elected Barnet councillor, but as far as I am aware he is not an elected spokesman for the United Synagogue.

He makes generalisations about women and the place of women in the United Synagogue (Jewish News, 23 March) but I wonder if he would be prepared to share the research on which he bases his stated conviction that “the overwhelming majority of women within the U.S. are content with their position in Judaism”?

Many statements in his article are just not true, and Jewish News should not publish drivel which misrepresents the position of many women in the United Synagogue.

These women are educated, capable, and want to be part of their communities in a spiritual way which is within halacha.

They are more than capable of thinking for themselves. If only more rabbis entered into dialogue with them, some of these issues would be able to be resolved.

As for their joining a different part of the community, I am convinced it is Mr Gordon who should be re-thinking where he belongs.

It’s probably somewhere back in the 18th century, though I doubt they would accept him, as he would be considered an Epicurus – too full of reforming zeal.

Flo Kaufmann, By email

These responses appal me

I was appalled by the bigoted responses (Jewish News, 16 March) to my letter on Chareidim on aircraft.

Though there are many respected halachic authorities who rule that Jews are permitted on a plane to sit next to a member of the opposite sex who is not a relative, even when this unintentionally causes physical contact, not everyone agrees.

Clive Pollard’s claim that “airlines should give options for seating by gender is beyond comprehension” betrays the blinkered world view he attributes to Chareidim, as does Herbert Goldberg’s description of them as “odious and arrogant bullies”. The latter’s description of me as an “apologist for religious extremism” seems to imply I approve of those who “create havoc and turmoil [which] is upsetting for other passengers”.

I also deprecate this unruly behaviour, but recognise that some people find it uncomfortable to sit next to members of the opposite sex.

I therefore can see no reason why airlines should not be able to find a way to accommodate their feelings.

Martin Stern, Salford

Shul that stands tall

My wife and I were truly flattered you included our picture in the photo gallery of Purim celebrations, but also disappointed you missed the opportunity to recognise one of the smallest of the United Synagogues.

Enfield and Winchmore Hill Synagogue punches well above its weight. The community celebrated Purim in a truly unique setting and, probably for the first time, at the British Museum. Rabbi Dr Rafi Zarum, dean of the LSJS, then led us to the Ancient Persia room to give the gloss on the Purim story. Our congregation now knows Purim is much more than a fancy dress day.

Rabbi Y Sufrin, Enfield and Winchmore Hill Shul

Five-star answer to kosher cruises

David Segel recommends specifically kosher cruises (Jewish News, 26 March).

However, if one uses a five-star cruise company, kosher food is available and a prayer room with candles, kosher wine and challot for kiddush as well as prayer books.

On one cruise, we had a rabbi and on another the chef ordered a new small oven for us.

We continue to cruise and continue to enjoy it.

Mike De Haan, N14

Reading about the proper place for women in Judaism validates my role in the community

I was pleased to read councillor Brian Gordon’s column in your newspaper about the proper place for women within the United Synagogue (Jewish News, 24 March).

We have been bombarded with contrarian brainwashing for many years within the United Synagogue about fashionably competing with the Reform Movement.

Rabbis can do as they please, but please leave the kehillas out of the picture. This is actually stripping our futures and connection to Judaism away. The rabbis are strong and know who they are. We are weaker, so such moves have dangerous side effects. So thanks for being so open as to print articles from the likes of Brian Gordon and Rabbi Y Y Rubenstein. I for one need to grow in my Judaism. These people validate being within the US community.

Chaim Scott, Finchley