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July 11, 2003 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-07-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


llimrii tgeldl t to
e reserve
rtezds leya the
fre r j elcetttleertstedts1 atBrteel \aittle , tios a rti cl
er h:Zs s. generally are limited
one letter per 4-6 week period, space permitting.
Letters must contain the name, address and title of the writer, and a daytime
telephone number. Original copies must be hand signed. Mail to the Jewish News
at 29200 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 110, Southfield, MI 48034;
fax to (248) 304-8885; or e-mail to: rsklar@thejewishnews.com

Torah Does Not
Validate Humanists

I commend the editors of the Jewish
News on the perfect timing they
showed in presenting a rather lengthy
feature story on the lifelong achieve-
ments of Rabbi Sherwin Wine, the
founder of Humanistic Judaism ("The
Power Of Man," July 4, page 37), in
conjunction with the reading of the
Torah portion of Korach, about the first
Jewish humanist.
Korach goes down in Jewish history
as the first Jewish apostate to engage in
open rebellion against the Almighty,
claiming that the people themselves
possessed holiness (Numbers 16.3) "For
all of the congregation are holy, every-
one of them; why then do you exalt
yourselves above the assembly?"
Korach challenged Moses and Aaron
with these words. Moses and Aaron
were extremely distraught because they
saw in this nothing less than a rebellion
against God. Moses rebuked Korach for
his temerity and responded to him, "It
is against the Lord that you and your
company have gathered together"
Korach begrudged Moses the posi-
tion of lawgiver and he denied Aaron
the role of high priest, bestowed upon
him by the Lord. He charged them
both with taking these exalted positions
by themselves.
Rabbi Wine is an avowed atheist. His
"religion" is nothing more than narcis-
sism and self-praise. He denies the exis-
tence of the Creator, the authority of
the Torah and the prophets. He dis-
dains prayer and the performance of
the commandments. His achievements
are nothing more than a monument to
rebellion and anarchistic iconoclasm.
Rabbi Jack Goldman
West Bloomfield

`Judaism' Should Be
Dropped From Title

I commend Rabbi Sherwin Wine on
his dedicated years of service to
mankind and his efforts to enhance
human values ("The Power Of Man,"
July 4, page 37). At the same time, I
have difficulty overcoming the discrimi-
natory nature of Rabbi Wine's organi-
zation by his simple use of the word
Judaism in the group's name.
Judaism with no religious basis offers
no justification for its exclftsivity.
Remove God from Judaism, and Jews
become a people claiming superiority

7/1 1



over those not of their social promi-
nence. Other than by divine con-
veyance, what gives Jews the right to
dictate ideals? Religious heritage is a
Jew's only claim over others. Outside of
the dictates of the God-given Torah,
there is no difference between two indi-
viduals. If the Torah is man made, on
what basis could Jews impose their laws
on others? One moral being has no
more rights than another.
People must come to terms with their
beliefs in a divine being. They may
choose to accept or reject their faith.
Changing from religion to social group
just to cover up perplexities with God
only masks those issues instead of
addressing them. If people choose to
turn their backs on a religion that has
been passed down to them, it is not
their place to take that faith away from
others in the name of morals and
Rabbi Wine claims he wishes to rec-
ognize the strong heritage of the Jewish
people. Jews should welcome such sup-
port in the same way as support should
be accepted from any other principled
organization or religion. Still, Rabbi
Wine goes too far by trying to change
Judaism from a religion to t class sys-
tem. Contrary to Rabbi Wine's stated
objectives, such change will wipe away
Jewish heritage and end Jewish exis-
I do not wish to undermine the great
social advances Rabbi Wine has made
in our community and our world. Yet,
I believe Rabbi Wine would better
advance his ideals if he disassociates
himself and his organization from
Judaism, instead structuring it to be an
organization that recognizes the positive
contributions of all religions to
mankind, including the contributions
of Judaism. He should adopt a unique
title to precede his name, leaving use of
the title rabbi to teachers of the Jewish
We can learn much from Rabbi
Wine. Let us do so in a manner that is
not destructive to the longevity and
continuity of our people, the Jewish
Steve Katz

Rabbi Wine Story
Very Well Done

Thanks for an outstanding article about
Humanistic Judaism and Rabbi
Sherwin Wine ("The Power Of Man,"
July 4, page 37).
You were able to cover with accuracy
four decades of challenges and experi-

ences. Congratulations on a job very,
very well done.
It's a pleasure to read and trust a
journalist's reporting of a story and
their attention to detail. Thanks to the
Jewish News and Staff Writer Shelli
Liebman Dorfman for commitment to
integrity, honesty and to celebrating
Norine Green Zimmer
Huntington Woods

More About
Ann Arbor

We were delighted to read the Ann
Arbor Jewish Community profile
("Rising Star," June 27, page 29) and,
although we recognize space limita-
tions, there are a number of points that
should have been included in the arti-
• The role of Carol Amster as execu-
tive director during the formative years
of our Federation, as our community
moved away from all-volunteerism.
• The "joint venture" agreement,
by Rabbi Allan D. Kensky and
I was surprised to fin d myself agreeing
Alicia Karr of the Jewish Resettlement
with Sherwin Wine of the Birmingham
Service in 1980, whereby we in Ann
Temple ("The Power Of Man," July 4,
Arbor, through the Soviet Jewry
page 37).
Absorption Committee, provided some
Indeed, why should kids "be reading
of the necessary services and amenities
something that they don't understand,"
to the New Americans who were arriv-
regardless of whether or not the portion
ing in our communities. It proved to
seems arbitrarily chosen? By the time a
be a mutually beneficial arrangement
child is 12 or 13, she or he should have
for division of services between Detroit
more than a passing familiarity with the
and Ann Arbor.
text of the Torah and its relevance.
• Ann Arbor is the home of the first
It is sad that too many of our chil-
Jewish cemetery in the state of
dren are deprived of an in-depth educa-
Michigan (registered in the name of
Fayge Young the "Jews Society of Ann Arbor"), a
Oak Park fact that has been certified by the
placement of an historical marker at its
site on the grounds of the University of
Michigan Rackham Building.
Helen Aminoff
Ann Arbor

Children Must
Learn Torah


Minyan Blends
Students, Families

I enjoyed your informative and com-
prehensive article about the Ann Arbor
Jewish community ("Rising Star," June
27, page 29).
I would like to correct a point in fact
about the size of the Ann Arbor
Orthodox Minyan (AAOM). We have
33 member families, many affiliated
with the University of Michigan.
Services are held in the Hillel building,
so during the academic year, we are
joined by about 50 students who
belong to the Orthodox Minyan stu-
dent group of Hillel. This blending of
students and families enriches the expe-
rience of both groups.
The AAOM was founded in 1965
and is the second-oldest congregation
in Ann Arbor. We celebrated our 35th
anniversary with a Shabbaton reunion
and were able to send invitations to
more than 500 former students and
faculty who have been part of our
Orthodox community through the
Susan Blitz
Ann Arbor Orthodox Minyan

Rude Guests
In Synagogue

When I read the cover story about
synagogue behavior ("Commanding
Respect," June 13, page 44), at first I
thought it was about adult behavior!
I hope the article was a great "wake
up" call to adults and that they consid-
er their own rude behavior before they
enter the synagogue again.
I attend Congregation Shaarey Zedek
every week that I am in town. My
mother took my sisters and me every
week as I was growing up. Attending
shul is a natural way of life for me.
My three children also went to shul
as they were growing up. They know
how to behave because they came as
babies with picture books and snacks.
My gripe is with adults who come to
Shaarey Zedek for a simchah and their
behavior makes it obvious they are not
regular attendees at any synagogue.
When the Torah goes in the proces-
sional around the shul before being
returned to the Ark, the noise of loud

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