Letters to the Editor: Reconsidering Jewish Values
The Cruelest Cut
“Medicine: Cutting the AIDS Risk” (December issue) offers a one-sided view of a controversial issue.
According to the American Medical Association, the most cost-effective and least invasive method of preventing HIV infection is using condoms. In any case, advocates of infant circumcision in Africa routinely avoid mentioning the harm of circumcision: extreme pain and trauma, behavioral and neurological changes in infants, disrupted bonding with the mother, loss of an important body part, reduced sexual pleasure and potential psychological problems.
For these reasons, and the view that circumcision conflicts with significant Jewish laws and values, it has been reported that a growing number of Jews are forgoing circumcision.
Jewish Circumcision Resource Center
All Being Equal
Thank you for your President’s Column in the November issue. Zionism and Judaism are inseparable. When I was growing up, all my father ever spoke of was Zionism, as if Zionism was more important than Judaism.
Now, a new generation seems to want to apologize for being Jewish. I frequently ask these people if they have ever been to Israel. The answer never surprises me.
The creation of the State of Israel helped my father to take his place as a proud Jew. In this day and age, I have come to understand how my father felt.
Who’s Not a Jew?
The article “Oops, You’re Not Jewish” (November issue) is a sad example of anti-Semitism from within the tent. Arrogant rabbis evidence their personal prejudices and bigotries and we—who are not good enough for them—send our financial support to nondiscriminatory organizations. Ciao, Israel.
I was delighted to read “Letter from Atlanta: Big Draw, Fading Drawl” (November issue), but I need to correct one piece of information. The Greenfield Hebrew Academy of Atlanta is not modern Orthodox. The oldest Jewish day school in Atlanta, it is not affiliated with any movement. There is a modern Orthodox day school and an Orthodox day school as well as several Jewish high schools.
There is a phenomenon unique to Israeli society even more inspiring than the mekhinot you featured in the October issue (“Israeli Life: Idealism From Below”) called shnat sherut. The participants are also high school graduates who defer Army service, but these youth spend the entire year volunteering.
About 20 of these volunteers spend the year alongside Young Judaea Year Course participants from the United States, Canada and Britain and, in so doing, not only fulfill the ideal of assisting the needy but also forge the bonds of Jewish peoplehood with their diaspora peers.
director, Young Judaea Israel
In “The Arts: An Exhibit in Search of Justice” (November issue), we incorrectly identified the owner of The New York Times. The owner was American-born Adolph Ochs, the son of German Jewish immigrants.
In “Profile: Najem Wali” (November issue), Acadian should have been spelled Akkadian.
The correct title of Nancy Larner’s children’s book, reviewed in the December issue, is A Mouse in the Rabbi’s Study (Song Sparrow Press).