We enjoyed Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “From a Sephardic Scholar, An Enlightened Approach.” (Jan. 10). However, we were saddened that you included a parenthetical critique of our community as an example of a place where, in your understanding, Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews are “far apart and sometimes distrustful” of one another. To be sure, diversity of culture and traditions poses its challenges and we still have much work to do in this regard. However, we believe that our congregation has made great strides toward collaboration and trust among Jews of different backgrounds.
At our Conservative synagogue, Temple Israel of Great Neck, Jews who hail from places that include Lodz, Tehran, Baghdad, Havana and Johannesburg routinely pray, learn and perform acts of chesed together. Men and women chant Torah and Haftorah using melodies from throughout the Jewish world. Members of all backgrounds drive into Manhattan several times a year to deliver food and clothing to the needy and march together up Fifth Avenue in support of the State of Israel. Our experience has been that the challenges of diversity, met with sensitivity and an open heart, can yield creative outcomes that benefit everyone.
President Temple Israel of Great Neck