To the Editor:
Congratulations to all who contributed to the historic breakthrough in support of New Jersey’s “Secure Schools for All Children Act” (A4288). Although this bill is limited to provide up to $25 per child for security improvements at nonpublic schools, it clearly demonstrates that community efforts can overcome all obstacles.
These very same efforts can be increased and magnified in support of school vouchers for every child in New Jersey, and restore “the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” The NJ Parental Rights and Property Tax Reduction Act (A1785) will also reduce property taxes based on the enormous savings to be accrued by children transferring from deficient and overpriced public schools to low-cost nonpublic schools.
Every New Jerseyan can contribute to this urgently needed transformation of our educational and legal system by respectfully and persistently prevailing on the 112 New Jersey legislators (call 800-792-8630) who have yet to uphold their oath of office by supporting this critical legislation.
Alliance for Free Choice in Education
226 Sussex Ave.
Morristown, NJ 07960
An Open Letter to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Pro-Israel Organizations
Dear Rabbi Boteach,
Thank you so much for your repeated and ongoing dedication to the Jewish people, Jewish values, and to the well-being of the State of Israel.
The recent biased editorial in the New York Times reviewing the UN report is not the only evidence for the NYT’s anti-Israel bias. The Times’s anti-Israel bias has been noted and confirmed in numbers time and again, and has been openly criticized for that by the Netanyahu administration. In light of these facts it would seem sound for you to stop taking full-page ads in the NYT whose cost can be upwards of $100,000, which ultimately help fund this anti-Israel activity.
It does not make any sense for you, and major pro-Israel organizations, to be taking pro-Israel ads in the NYT, thereby supporting an anti-Israel publication. The beauty of a free-market democracy is that when we find ideas or products objectionable we are able to go elsewhere and support those whom we like.
I look forward to seeing this change from you and other major pro-Israel organizations.
Rabbi Elchanan Poupko
Fellow, the Institute for Advanced Research in Jewish Law, Yeshiva University
To the Editor:
As an act of protest I have not paid my dues to the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), and have now allowed my membership to lapse. I have chosen to leave the RCA foremost because of its attitude towards Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT), the rabbinical school I founded years ago. YCT rabbis are powerfully impacting Orthodoxy and the larger Jewish world in synagogues, Hillels, day schools, chaplaincies and national organizations. If YCT rabbis – with YCT semikha only – cannot join the RCA, neither can I be part of this rabbinical group.
Thankfully, there is an alternative to the RCA, the International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF) which Rabbi Marc Angel and I co-founded years ago. I will be devoting full attention to this extraordinary rabbinic organization. If one is seeking out the positions of an Orthodoxy which is modern and open, I suggest turning to the IRF.
Rabbi Avi Weiss
To the Editor:
Yesterday Rabbi Weiss officially declared his exit from the Rabbinical Council of America. Upon hearing of Rabbi Weiss’s announcement, I asked the leadership of the RCA to publicly address his concerns. They have refused.
By the end of this week, I plan to officially resign from the Rabbinical Council of America, having served in the past on the Executive Committee and having been a member for nearly 20 years.
I had been contemplating leaving the RCA for over a year. The RCA’s refusal to admit YCT musmakhim, with close to 100 rabbis serving in the field, almost all of whom are engaged in avodat hakodesh, is reason enough for my decision, but it is only a symptom of a much larger problem. Despite efforts by some members and leaders of the RCA, in recent years the organization has focused on finding ways to exclude rather than include. Moreover, members who should have been censured for rejectionist behavior and abuse of rabbinic power are tolerated for too long until a scandal finally breaks.
The RCA was once a groundbreaking organization devoted to bringing in contemporary Orthodox rabbis whom other, older organizations, specifically Agudas Harabanim, rejected because RCA rabbis were too modern and open to the world. It now appears to be an organization devoted primarily to patrolling its borders.
I urge the Rabbinical Council of America to return to its roots and be true to the values that once guided it.
Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School