We should sever ties with charedim
In response to Izzy Posen’s column on leaving the Stamford Hill strictly-Orthodox community, allow me to comment on the narcissistic nature of the Charedi world (Jewish News, 13 July).
It makes me sad to think of my children’s childhood in the areas when nearly everyone would happily greet you in the street with either “Shabbat Shalom” or “Good Shabbos”. Today the children are taught that saying “please and thank you” is “Goyish” and even greeting someone who is different is tantamount to speaking to a “goy”.
Gone are the days when, if you did look slightly different, there was at least a modicum of respect for new adherents for choosing to take on the mantle of frumkeit and all that it requires. Nowdays unless one speaks Yiddish, wears black and is educated in a Charedi institution, they are treated as an apostate.
The rabbonim and rebbes in the schools and shuls promulgate fears and anxieties in the children as they grow up.
Parents reinforce the fears, so successive generations grow ever-more fearful of other community members in case they are seen to be behaving differently or not sticking to the minutiae of the law.
Izzy Posen is correct. Anyone with the appreciation for and love of the hidden beauty of Torah should sever all ties with this ever-growing menace.
Jose Martin, By email
Reject Charedi statement on torah law and you cease to be an orthodox Jew
Izzy Posen, who has quit the Charedi world, fails to understand modern Orthodoxy when he advises a secular split from Charedim.
Both share commitment to the Torah, differing only in the degree to which they integrate.
Any organisation rejecting a Charedi statement on Torah law ceases to be Orthodox.
Charedi protesters are pushing against an open door, an example being the current Rabbi Joseph Dweck affair.
Geoffrey Niman, Stamford Hill
Extreme views should not prevail
Brian Gordon’s Orthodoxy may be admirable, but neither he or the Israeli government can impose it on its citizens (Jewish News, 20 July).
As I understand it, there is no halachic prohibition on women laying tefillin (there is no halachic obligation).
Mr Gordon not only wants to impose halacha on an unwilling population, he wishes to extend his prohibitions to conduct that is religiously permitted.
Such an extreme view should not prevail.
R Rowen, By email
History of women at Wall
I take issue with Geoffrey Niman’s claim that “detailed Torah rules [leave] no room for ‘liberal’ thinking” in relation to the decision to cancel a permanent space for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall.
His claim does Judaism a severe injustice. As I understand it, the Kotel was not a part of the Temple itself, but was a retaining wall of the Temple compound.
I have no idea whether members of the Sanhedrin, had they foreseen the destruction of the Temple, would have ordained that no woman should ever pray at this wall. It may even be that before the destruction, women could approach all sections of it freely.
Marylou Grimberg, By email
Torah law is fundamental
I commend your critique of Katie Hopkins’ [pictured] association with Holocaust denier Peter Sweden (jewishnews.co.uk, 20 July).
Ms Hopkins is continually given a media platform to spout her diatribes, which usually refers to “other” people as outsiders, cockroaches, feral, etc, and paid a lot of money.
Why are universities inviting such an individual to give speeches, when you consider the greats of the past speaking at the university? We have dumbed down by courting her in our top institutions. Strange times.
Ian Kay, Wembley
Orthodox: it’s time to finally Take note
While Mr Niman takes the well-trodden blinkered path of those who state opinion without any facts to back up their position, Mr Stern throws in a few facts when they suit him. But they don’t prove him right (Jewish News, 13 July).
Mr Stern mocks the 100 or so “Women of the Wall”, who turn out to make their stand against the strictly-Orthodox monopoly at the Kotel and praises the Orthodox girls and women who hiss, spit and shout at those wanting to hold a Jewish prayer meeting in comfortable manner.
Just 20 percent of Israelis consider themselves Orthodox. In Israel, the salaries of the Orthodox rabbinate are paid by the state. Those who besmirch more than half the world’s Jews as “not authentic” should worry. There may come the day when they are on the outside looking in.
Adrian Needlestone, By email
CAA figures are no surprise
Are we supposed to be shocked by the Campaign Against Antisemitism figures that anti-Semitic crime has surged to 44.5 percent, yet there were only 15 prosecutions last year?
Clearly the CPS (which claims they are prosecuting more hate crimes but just fewer anti-Semitic ones) are living in the same world as Jeremy Corbyn and Shami Chakrabarti.
Let’s also not forget about Ken Livingstone, found guilty of all three charges for his vile comments, but since kicked into the long grass to be quietly forgotten. Meanwhile, the Labour leader publicly opposes anti-Semitism only when mentioned alongside other forms of racism, when no other forms exist in his party.
Russell Ballen, By email