The Zionist ideal

It seems that Dr. Lippe is at it again.

In his response (“Knives and guns,” Dec. 11) to our most recent column (“ Strength and consciousness together can combat terror,” Dec. 4) Dr. Lippe puts words in our mouths.

He implies that we have written a column whose intent was to justify Arab violence. That simply is not the case. We clearly and specifically say that “There is no cause that can justify the murder of innocents, and no good end can be promoted by such deeds.” But just in case he missed that sentence we repeat the same conviction in the very next paragraph when we say “…these random attacks cannot be justified by any cause.” He then goes on through a short recapping of Arab violence and asks what justification there is for it.

We offer no justifications. We only suggest reasons for the violence. One should not confuse for a moment that reasons make actions justifiable, but without understanding and recognizing that there are reasons, we cannot begin to move toward solving this ongoing cycle of violence. Dr. Lippe thinks we can stop this violence with a take-no-prisoners attitude. “Attack a Jew and surrender your life is the only normal Jewish response acceptable” according to the doctor. We disagree. Suicide attackers expect to die. Fear will not defeat the Jewish state, but it will not stop the attackers either.

Dr. Lippe it is clear that we don’t agree politically about the best solutions for the situation in a land we all love. We are willing to continue this conversation with him either personally or in print but we will not accept his attacks on our right to voice our opinion about the Jewish homeland, its policies and its vision, as Jews and as Zionists.

To your question about which side we are on, let us make it perfectly clear. We are on the side of a Jewish state, as envisioned by its founders and described in the Declaration of Establishment “in the vision of the Jewish prophets.” Anything else is neither Jewish nor just.

Dr. Mark Gold

Hiam Simon

Women and Judaism

As a response to Reform Judaism, Orthodox Judaism was born. What does Orthodoxy represent? It follows halacha that was determined by the sages who lived shortly after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 C.E.

The Judaism that unfortunately depended on the Temple was no more. Rabbis took the reins and kept Judaism alive. They did so by deciding to make Judaism reflect their version of what it should be. Besides a new halacha, they decided which books would be included in the collection of sacred books. It is interesting that the books of the Maccabees were omitted, and we celebrate Chanukah to commemorate that group’s deed. Their thoughts and decisions have been honored by Jewish practice until the Reform movement began.

There was no philosophy of Judaism for that involves thought , irreverent thought at times. Women see things differently than men and therefore their approach is needed. Women from Deborah to this day have been leaders of Jews. They have served God in keeping Judaism alive and thriving. The backbone of the Jewish family always has been the mother, especially in rearing the young. Her wisdom was not learned from books but from her very nature.

It is time we recognized that women are as smart as men. God has no gender, even though the men decided God was a male. When Moses asked God to state God’s name, the reply was “ I will be who I will be.” God never assumed a male or female identity. God is one. God made the one being into two. Remember, there are animals that can reproduce themselves by themselves. Females complement males physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Both male and female have been equipped by God to be leaders in teaching and leading others in fulfilling our role as Jews who believe in the one God to whom both men and women swore allegiance at Mount Sinai.

Shel Haas
Fort Lee