Thanks for including my quote in the article (“Locals react to rejection of Western Wall compromise: Charedim have ‘third grade understanding’ of theology,” June 29). Unfortunately, the sub-head “Charedim have ‘third grade understanding’ of theology” does much to make a point.
It needlessly belittles an entire class of people, not just Charedim (whatever that means), but all Orthodox and traditional Jews all over the world, who choose to pray with a mechitza both in their respective places of residence or at the Kotel.
Rabbi Mendel Bogomilsky
I was not aware that so many assimilated American Jews were so passionate over ancient Jewish holy sites.
Do they actually think about the Kotel whenever they eat their cheeseburgers at McDonald’s or their pepperoni pizzas at Domino’s on Shabbat?
Everyone is allowed space to pray at the Kotel at Robinson’s Arch, and has been for more than a decade. The big dust-up obviously cannot be a religious issue; it is a matter of religion being used as a pretext to advance a political agenda, an agenda that could not exist if the issues were truly over religious differences.
I share Rabbi Mendel Bogomilsky’s concerns over the internecine factions now playing out among Jews. It is unfortunate that too much politicization has occurred in Israel over too many issues. The normal operating procedures of the Knesset, always highly politicized, offer little hope for providing leadership in crafting a workable solution to issues where nobody ever can, or will be, 100 percent pleased. But any true leadership must place real values of Jewish faith and Torah ahead of the “politically correct” agenda du jour.
Kenneth H. Ryesky
Petach Tikva, Israel
I find it both misleading and disingenuous to create the impression that there is no egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall. In a JTA article, Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks stated, “Neither side should exaggerate on the issue. Each side has a place to pray — and therefore we must not think of victory or defeat.” Wise words from a wise man.
It is troubling that NJJN creates an imbalance of opinion by quoting the rabbinic leader of the Reform movement, and from local leadership, 10 Reform and Conservative rabbis, one open-Orthodox rabbi, and one Chabad rabbi. The use of the terminology “third-grade understanding of theology” does little toward promoting understanding or compromise.