Can’t we agree on anything?
For 37 years we have maintained membership in our spiritual and social base, Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, and have endeavored to ignore, with success, most of the petty controversies and ignominious political flare-ups that have arisen over those years.
But today I came home from Shacharis (morning prayers) nauseated, and I was forced to give serious consideration to terminating our membership. Can’t we Jews agree on anything?
Why on the very date, called Yom Hazikaron (Day of Remembrance), on which the State of Israel officially remembers the courageous heroes and heroines who sacrificed their lives defending the State and the Jewish people, are we one of the very few shuls singing Hallel (joyous psalms of praise and thanksgiving recited on holidays) and celebrating with a Kiddush (reception) of food and drink? If the state and the chief rabbinate of Israel have decided on the correct date for universally mourning and recognizing our brave sisters and brothers, children and parents, who are we to make our own isolated determination as to the more appropriate date?
Yes, I know that certain well recognized, highly respected American rabbinic scholars have supported this errant conclusion, and though I am quite distant from being a halachic scholar, I still ask: Whatever happened to the prohibition of “lo titgodedu,” which proscribes creating factions among Jews (Parashat Re’eh/Deut 14:1), and which the Rambam (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, “Laws of Idolatry,” 12:14) claimed is to prevent the religious discord and social dissent that precipitate disunity and internecine conflict?
Well, Bnai Yeshurun’s relatively isolated decision to observe Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, on the day that the rest of the Jewish world observes Yom Hazikaron is just that — divisive, fractious, and insensitive. And, for those of you who consider yourselves sage and are sharpening your pencils in order to refute the above with a Rashi or whoever’s opposing view, don’t bother, because nothing you can say can possibly negate the visceral sadness and frustration Bnai Yeshurun’s actions evoke.
The water’s fine
The “we” cited by Steven Rothman lost the election (“We demand that Trump stop threatening our drinking water,” April 28). Therefore, there is a different voice in the country. By citing the N.Y. Times, the Washington Post, and the Sierra Club, Mr. Rothman shows his liberal bias. The only drinking water referred to involves coal-mining areas in the country. The states involved have the responsibility and the authority to control clean water in their water sources.
Coal presently is being exported to China and is to be used in bringing back steel production to our country. Windmills and solar panels will never have the capacity to provide adequate electricity for industry and other human uses. It is interesting that no one has mentioned that atomic energy supplied by atomic fusion could solve our energy problems without any danger to our health. Power from three atomic submarines could fulfill the energy requirements of a city the size of Tacoma, Washington! The EPA exceeded the authority granted by Congress and President Trump corrected this assumption of power. There will be pure water, despite Mr. Rothman’s pessimism!