Wednesday, April 13th, 2011...1:29 pm

Letters to the Editor: April 15, 2011

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Bush league kosher

We are happy to learn of the interest shown by Target Field in making kosher hot dogs available at Twins ballgames. We are less excited to learn that a local Conservative rabbi has chosen to undertake the project in a way that alienates a sizable percentage of the kosher-consuming population, without members of Minneapolis’ Orthodox rabbinic community being consulted and included.

While we all want to embrace initiatives that expand kosher options, the act of choosing kosher fundamentally remains a means of growing spiritually and moving closer to God. Adding options at the cost of lowering religious standards defeats the very purpose of expanding kosher venues.

Cities such as Baltimore, New York, Miami and Washington, D.C., have found ways to set up stadium hot dog booths that are not open on Shabbat and Yom Tov, and do not offer brands rejected by more than 90 percent of national kosher certifying agencies.

With goodwill and creativity, we could all be proud of a similar setup arranged here. Otherwise it seems that, in the world of kashrut observance, Minneapolis is about to be relegated to the minor leagues.

Rabbi Chaim Goldberger, Kenesseth Israel Congregation, St. Louis Park

Rabbi Yechezkel Greenberg, Congregation Bais Yisroel, St. Louis Park

Memorial to Jewish chaplains

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) is grateful to have secured the support of Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, as well as Representatives Keith Ellison, Tim Walz and Erik Paulsen, for bipartisan legislation that authorizes a privately funded memorial at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the 13 Jewish American chaplains who perished while on active duty.

This memorial will enable Jewish chaplains to be honored on Chaplains Hill alongside their Christian comrades. The JCRC is extremely proud of our work with the Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School and Chaplain (LTC) John Morris of the Minnesota National Guard to support the brave Minnesotans who sacrifice so much to protect the liberties guaranteed by our Constitution, including the right to worship freely.

Additionally, we look forward to our collaboration with Chaplain Morris and our interfaith partners in holding a joint September 11th memorial commemoration at our State Capitol.

Ethan Roberts, J.D., Director, Twin Cities Jewish Community Government Affairs Program

Wall of separation

It seems to me that current sparring about opening prayers at the Minnesota Legislature defeats the purpose of Sen. Teri Bonoff’s proposal (4-1-11 AJW).

Her suggestion to “require” interfaith prayers in the chamber does not achieve separation of church and state. Forbidding public prayer in the House and Senate would keep religion out of government. Let’s keep prayer in the home and in houses of worship.

Senator Bonoff should be proposing true separation of religion from the legislative process.

Fred M. B. Amram, Minneapolis

(The author is the Morse Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Creativity and Communication at the University of Minnesota.)

Vilifying Israel

Recently, the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) directed Israel to remove the Tomb of Rachel and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron from the list of religious sites, claiming that because there are mosques in or near those places, they are to be considered Palestinian religious sites.

This is in line with the oft-recited Palestinian charge that the Western Wall has no connection to the Jewish people.

Unfortunately, to this attempt to erase our very history, the Palestinians are joined by the Israeli extreme left and some academics, including Carlo Strenger, professor of psychology at Tel Aviv University. In his article “Israel’s problem is the settlements, not J Street” (4-1-11 AJW), he blames the Netanyahu government for the “‘Judaization’ of Jerusalem.”

This is pure vilification under the guise of “clarity of thought and an honest approach” — Strenger’s words of advice for J Street.

With friends like these, you don’t need enemies.

Max Goodman, St. Paul

More on AIPAC event

Alan Chazin’s letter regarding the March 22 AIPAC speaker at Beth El Synagogue seems to describe events differently from what I and others experienced (4-1-11 AJW).

Ambassador Marc Ginsberg gave a very interesting talk, followed by many questions, even though there was one questioner who was unwilling to relinquish the floor to others when the answer was not to his liking. (He was invited to continue a personal dialogue afterwards.)

I came to hear an interesting speaker and to learn; perhaps Chazin came with a need to have his preconceived views confirmed, and therefore was unhappy.

Gloria Alexander, Plymouth

Rachmones for the needy

Reactionaries of both parties are using budget problems as a vile excuse to overturn decades of progress in making our country a more humane place to live. The weak and defenseless, the voiceless poor, the infirm and aged, those who value reason and intellect, are under vicious attack.

Jews who choose to align themselves with these radicals: You ought to hang your heads in shame as you slither back into the dark corners of a perverse ideology that cares little for the plight of millions.

Monroe Levie, Edina

(American Jewish World, 4.15.11)

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