AJN Letters: Responses to Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz – March 30 2012

30 Mar 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

Letters to the editor should be no more than 250 words and may be edited for length and content. Only letters sent to letters@jewishnews.net.au will be considered for publication. Please supply an address and daytime phone number for verification.

Method not message is wrong on bullying

I FOUND the parallel that letter writer Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz (AJN 23/03) made between opposing the specific homophobia anti-bullying program being promoted by Safe Schools Victoria to “tacitly encouraging the vilification of others” (i.e. homosexuals) to be obscene in the extreme.

Even the biggest critics of this antibullying program were abundantly clear about their opposition to homophobic bullying.

It is the methodology of the specific program in question that has justifiably drawn criticism from some rabbis and concerned members of the community. Entering into a discussion about samesex marriage with kindergarten children, as this program would have us do, is plainly and simply inappropriate.

Moreover, Mr Meyerowit-Katz believes that those rabbis who are opposed to the implementation of this program are adhering to a “medieval idea of morality” and that should they persist in this mentality, they will “only continue to stand there scratching their heads as shul attendance continues to plummet”.

With the deepest of respect, falling shul attendance has nil to do with rabbinic attitudes to current issues and everything to do with the increasing secularisation of our community whereby communal prayer is no longer appealing.

Caulfield North, Vic

A morality tale for boosting attendance

WE should all be grateful to Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz (AJN 23/03).

He bemoans what he perceives to be the persecution of homosexuals, and then proceeds to offer us the panacea for declining synagogue attendances.

“In advocating that Jews adhere to a medieval idea of morality” he writes, “certain members of the Orthodox rabbinate are tragically out of step with the modern world. Should this mentality persist, they will only continue to stand there scratching their heads as shul attendances continue to plummet”.

So, to be clear, his message is that promoting and practising immorality is the way to get those “bums on seats” in our congregations?

By the way, I think he is also historically inaccurate in implying that homosexuality is a new phenomenon of this modern world that those rabbis are so “out of step” with. It was rampant in many civilisations such as ancient Greece and Sodom. So it is just as “medieval” a concept as morality. Go figure!

Caulfield North, Vic

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