Advice For Seminaries


Regarding the May 6 article, “Alienation From Israel Hitting Liberal Seminaries,” the basic problem as I see it lies in the reluctance to separate a robust support for Israel as a viable state from supporting the politics of various governments of Israel.

One can be for settlements or against, for mixed prayers at the Western Wall or against, or for the way the Palestinians are treated or against, but that should not in any way affect the support for Israel as a state any more than the conflicts in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan undermined that of the U.S.

Perhaps what the liberal seminaries should do for their students is organize symposia with Israelis who are proud to be Israelis but also critical of the current government.

Let’s find out those aspects of Israel that we can all support regardless of the government’s policies. The seminaries would be well advised to point out to their future rabbis that for all its imperfections, some glaring, Israel is a democracy and, in part, if the Orthodox establishment is running the show, it’s because most Israelis associate religion with the Orthodox version, regardless of whether they practice it or not, and the number of Reform and Conservative Jews in Israel is very small.

New Jersey City University