Letters Sept. 14, 2017

Disagreement with op-ed

It is a shanda to read the op-ed article by Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman (“Why rabbis like me oppose Israel’s ban on boycott, divestment and sanctions activists,” Voices, Sept. 7). She is outraged that Israel would deny certain non-governmental organizations from entering Israel, stifling her version of a legitimate debate. She states with pride that 230 rabbis and cantors have joined with her, not mentioning this represents perhaps 5 percent of the total in the country.

One can disagree with Israeli policy, privately, but to publicly believe that two very insidious organizations — Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine — should be allowed to peddle their anti-Israel programs in Israel and in the West Bank, is, if not naïve, dangerous. Both strongly support BDS, label Israel as apartheid, accuse Israel of racism against Palestinians and of occupying supposed Palestinian land, accuse Israel of imposing a siege on Gaza and advocate dividing Jerusalem.

She states that young Jews are appalled by Israel’s harsh policies toward the Palestinian people and how Palestinians are suffering in Gaza from shortages of electricity, food, water, etc. She does not even speculate that perhaps young Jews are not informed about Israeli largesse in providing sustenance and electricity to Gaza even in the face of Hamas attacks on the power plant in Ashdod nor the terrorist attacks that killed innocent Israelis.

How many recognize the centrality of Israel and Jerusalem to Judaism? How many young Jews know there have been five previous attempts at a two-state solution, all rejected by the Arabs? Or that Judea and Samaria, now called the West Bank, was invaded by Jordan in 1948, destroying every Jewish community and killing or driving out all Jews? Or that many of these destroyed communities, now pejoratively called settlements, were re-established starting in 1967?

WARREN MANISON

Potomac

Many different paths lead to Jewish Studio

We are grateful to the Washington Jewish Week for coverage of the Jewish Studio’s most recent offering, Shaboom (“What makes a boomer service different,” Aug. 31). Jewish Studio events offer

a unique opportunity for connection and those of us who participate are delighted to explore the meaning of being Jewish in the second half of our lives.

While some of the participants might have been part of the awakening in the 1960s, as alluded to in the article, many participants formed their Jewish identities in the 1970s and 1980s with participation in Jewish youth groups, human rights activism on behalf of Soviet Jewry, or attending a Jewish summer camp. Some of us have been and continue to be active in local synagogues, the Federation, Jewish community centers and other Jewish community organizations. In addition, others of us, have come to Judaism as adults.

The Jewish Studio has created an opportunity for participants to continue to grow spiritually. Through programs and services, it invites us to find deeper meaning in Jewish practices. It encourages us to address questions about what makes our life meaningful and how Judaism in all its forms can enhance our life experience. What we get most from participating in the Jewish Studio’s events is the challenge to take the inner journey, experience renewed joy in Jewish practices and explore a Judaism that builds on the foundation of what we created in the first half of our lives.

We hope that future coverage of the Jewish Studio will, encourage others in our community to participate, to reconnect if they have abandoned Jewish affiliation, or to re-engage if Jewish rituals have lost meaning in their lives. It provides a unique niche within the community landscape of Jewish programming. These qualities of the Jewish Studio are the important takeaways from its offerings.

ELLEN AND DAVID
WAGHELSTEIN

Rockville

BDS goals would destroy Israel

In the letter entitled “BDS itself is not anti-Semitic” (Letters, Aug. 31) Martin Mould wrote that he supports “BDS and its stated goal of ending the occupation.” It is critical to understand that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement’s goals are far more insidious than this.

I am saddened that many BDS supporters do not recognize that at its core BDS is about the destruction of the State of Israel.

Any rudimentary analysis of the BDS charter and statements by their leaders clearly bears this out. The BDS charter calls for the “right of return of Palestinian refugees.” Palestinian refugees are treated differently than all other refugees in the world in that descendants of the original refugees are also considered Palestinian refugees. As a result, there are between five million and six million Palestinian refugees, so a blanket return of these refugees would effectively erase a Jewish democratic state.

The denial of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their ancestral homeland after 2,000 years of exile is anti-Semitic.

TED BENJAMIN

Oakton

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