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Yasher koach, Dr. Wahrman

When Dr. Miryam Wahrman approached me, 20 years ago, about writing for the Jewish Standard, I was faced with a dilemma — and an opportunity (“Reflections of two decades as a science correspondent,” March 24). She was so gifted, in so many ways, and so knowledgeable about science and Judaism, I did not know how best to use her talents. And then it came to me: We had “beats” at the time. Various reporters were assigned to follow women’s issues, education, and the like. Why not a science beat? Surely science was, and would continue to be, and still is big news, an important part of life to which Jewish newspapers were (and, sadly, still are) largely inattentive. The Standard would be different, I decided, and named her science correspondent.

That was one of the wisest acts of my tenure as editor. Her understanding of the issues has helped to inform readers of this newspaper, many of whom were not “science enthusiasts” (as she terms me) but were drawn to learn more by her powers of observation, through a Jewish lens, and the invigorating clarity of her writing.

Yasher koach, Dr. Wahrman — and yasher koach to the Standard for its continued commitment to its readers.

Rebecca Kaplan Boroson
Editor Emerita, The Jewish Standard
Woodstock, N.Y.

Orthodox and gay?

The views expressed by both Steven Goldstein and Paul Frazer demonstrate why I do not feel comfortable with either position regarding gays and Judaism.

First of all, contrary to the views expressed by Steven Goldstein (“How to make a Jewish activist,” March 9). Orthodox Judaism, including Chabad, cannot condone gay relationships, including intimacy, and remain Orthodox. It can and should remain courteous and it can encourage such individuals to keep kosher and Shabbat as well as being understanding of same sex attraction. But it can accept gay relationships as okay without rejecting halacha. The refusal of Steven Goldstein to accept this point acts as a form of intolerance towards political incorrect points of views.

Secondly, the problem of the letter of Paul Frazer (“Doesn’t like ‘gay lifestyle,’” March 24) is what happens when Steven Goldstein rejects his call to abandon the “gay lifestyle.” Do we deny him entry into an Orthodox synagogue? Do we deny others who reject kashrut and Shabbat entry into an Orthodox synagogue? The Lubavitcher rebbe advocated however far away non-observant Jews should be engaged. Other parts of the Orthodox world have agreed with this point of view. Indeed, outside of certain metropolitan areas, Orthodox synagogues cannot exist without members who do not observe kashrut and Shabbat.

There is a limit to this inclusion in that it cannot violate the core belief of Orthodox Judaism. It cannot offer couples or family membership to gay or intermarried couples. In short, there must be a balance between inclusion and core beliefs. Unfortunately, neither Mr. Goldstein or Mr. Fraser seem to understand that.

Alan Mark Levin
Fair Lawn

Morally valid priorities

I am (for the most part) a “conservative” in my political beliefs. As such, I generally support smaller government, capping spending, reduction of the burgeoning national debt etc.

However, I strongly believe that pursuit of these worthy goals must not be done at the expense of vulnerable, elderly, children, the poor, the sick, and the disabled. These are helpless citizens. Targeting them in order to balance the budget is a moral absurdity. We should be frugal, but we must hold to our cherished moral traditions.

We must recognize morally valid priorities.

Jerrold Terdiman MD
Woodcliff Lake

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