RE­FORM’S BEN­E­FITS

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT&ANALYSIS -

Rabbi Alex Chap­per draws the wrong con­clu­sion when he sug­gests that the Re­form Move­ment is pre­sid­ing over the death of Ju­daism ( Let­ters, Novem­ber 16). Surely that priv­i­lege lies with those who dis­par­age the claims of loyal, prac­tis­ing, pa­tri­lin­eal Jews on ac­count of an out­dated and du­bi­ous rul­ing. Had he been at my syn­a­gogue to see the bar­mitz­vah of a wheel­chair-bound 18-year-old, he might have thought again as to where the blame lies. The young man, turned back on to his Jewish roots by Mac­cabi, had been of­fi­cially con­verted af­ter study, worked for his bar­mitz­vah from a large-print text and is now in Is­rael for a year. By Ortho­dox cri­te­ria, he counts for noth­ing. Barry Hy­man Pri­ory View, Bushey Heath

I work in a Ro­man Catholic school, be­fore which my col­leagues’ only ex­pe­ri­ences of Jews were those who re­fused to in­te­grate into so­ci­ety. I have now man­aged to por­tray a pos­i­tive im­age of Ju­daism, which does more to pre­vent an­ti­semitism than in­tol­er­ant and nar­row-minded views like those shown by the rabbi. The “death of Ju­daism” would only be caused by big­oted, “pi­ous” peo­ple, who refuse to ac­cept mod­ern Jewry as valid. Jen­nifer Blus­ton Jenb111@hot­mail.com

Some­times it can be hard work plow­ing through your let­ters page. The rest of the JC paints a di­verse, dy­namic pic­ture of An­glo-Jewry in all its rich va­ri­ety; we are rightly por­trayed as a bright, en­gaged and en­gag­ing mi­nor­ity. Turn to the mid­dle of the pa­per, and we have a com­pletely dif­fer­ent tone.

Last week we were treated to a let­ter from a rabbi, no less, who ba­si­cally said he wanted to os­tracise all Re­form Jews as self-hat­ing apos­tates. I didn’t re­alise that there were so many Jews in Bri­tain that we could af­ford to have a com­mu­nity leader make such a breath­tak­ing, ex­clu­sion­ary com­ment in our na­tional news­pa­per.

Still, at least it is good news for the fig­ures on an­ti­semitic at­tacks. Af­ter all, a hefty pro­por­tion of this sad in­crease in hate crime pre­sum­ably isn’t ac­tu­ally at­tacks on Jews at all, ac­cord­ing to the rabbi. Mike Katz Gla­dys Road, Lon­don NW6

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