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September 12, 2003 - Image 39

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-12

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How Shallow Can You Get?

New York

r. Laura Schlesinger, one of
America's most listened-to
radio hosts and high-profile
Orthodox Jews, recently dis-
tanced herself from her adopted faith,
saying she no longer finds Judaism ful-
She informed her 12 million listeners
that while she still "considers" herself
Jewish, "my identifying with this entity
and my fulfilling [its] rituals ... has
Of her conversion to Orthodox
Judaism, Schlesinger said: "I felt that I
was putting out a tremendous amount
toward that end and not feeling a
return, not feeling connected, not feel-
ing that inspired."
But she really turned the knife when
she praised Christians at the expense of
"By and large, the faxes from
Christians have been very loving, very
supportive. From my own religion, I
have either gotten nothing, which is 99
percent of it, or two of the nastiest let-
ters I have gotten in a long time. I


Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is a nationally
syndicated radio host on the Talk
America Network. This column first
appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

guess that's my point — I don't get
much back. Not much warmth coming
She added that she was envious of
the Christian faith and hinted at
embracing it: "I have envied all my
Christian friends who really, universally,
deeply feel loved by God."
Dr. Laura's repudiation of Judaism
must be one of the shallowest renuncia-
tions of personal faith in human histo-
ry. It is surely unworthy of America's
self-styled "moral advocate."

Twisted Logic

Here is what shook Elie Wiesen faith,
as lined with bone-chilling emotion in
his book IVight•
"Never shall I forget the little faces of
the children, whose bodies I saw turned
into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent
blue sky. Never shall I forget those
flames which consumed my faith forev-
er. Never shall I forget those moments
which murdered my God and my soul
and turned my dreams to dust."
Had Dr. Laura witnessed such hor-
rors, I could be sympathetic to her
abandonment of the God of Israel.
Had she been Oriah Pass, whose baby
daughter was shot dead by a Palestinian
sniper in Hebron, whose father was

axed in the head by an Arab
human god — blond locks and
while walking to pray and
all — who once walked the
whose twin sister was stabbed
earth and can appear to them
outside the Machpelah Cave, I
in flowing robes at any
could understand her feeling
Likewise, Jesus is so much
But to give up Judaism
less complicated than the
because you don't feel suffi-
Jewish God, promising a place
ciently appreciated by the
in eternity through a simple act
Jewish community?
of faith rather than the much
Perhaps the good doctor,
more demanding life of right-
famous for telling people to
Commnentary eousness that the God of Isaiah.
stop whining and get on with
their moral obligations, needs
But for all my admiration of
to be reminded that religion is not a
Christianity, I would rather rot in hell
popularity contest.
than go to a heaven I hadn't earned.
Lord knows, if failing to be embraced How special could heaven be if you
by the Jewish community is a criterion
attain it through belief unmatched by
for abandoning Judaism, Moses should
moral courage?
never have come down from Mount
I'm sorry, Dr. Laura, if Judaism didn't
Sinai, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe
always make you feel spiritual and ful-
should have moved to Israel rather than filled. You see, we Jews conceive of reli-
organizing a global Jewish revival from
gion as challenging rather than calm-
a decrepit neighborhood in Brooklyn.
ing, soul-searing rather than soothing.
To be a Jew is to pray three times a
day even when it bores you to death, to
Bigger Picture
starve in cities where there is no kosher
There is also this larger question: Dr.
food and to go into the army to
Laura's implying that Christians have a
defend your tiny homeland even while
more intimate relationship with God
American kids your age are partying in
than Jews.
I suppose that, on the one hand, she
is right. Christians get to visualize a
BOTEACH on page 42

The Fence Can't Wait

Ramat Gan, Israel
ccording to public opinion
polls, more than 70 percent
of Israelis consistently support
completion of the "fence" to
separate the Palestinian population in
the West Bank regions of Judea and
Samaria from Israeli territory.
Although the majority also supports
the road map, and the latest attempt
to end Palestinian violence through
negotiation, Israelis also have learned
to be realistic. The past three years of
terror have taught us that without fun-
damental and widespread changes in
Palestinian attitudes, the current cease-
fire will end in another round of vio-
lence, perhaps even more deadly than
Palestinian Authority President Yasser
Arafat's post-Oslo terror campaign.


Professor Gerald M. Steinberg is
director, Program on Conflict
Management and Negotiation, Political
Studies, Bar-Ran University. His e-mail
address is gerald@vms.huji.ac.il

Taking these factors into considera-
tion, and realizing that the status quo
is unstable, Israelis recognize that phys-
ical separation — in other words, a
border — provides the most realistic
option for reducing the vulnerability to
attack. Israelis have learned that
pledges of peace, when they are heard,
are ephemeral, but the construction of
a fence has a very visible and immedi-
ate impact. On this basis, construction
of the separation barrier, with electron-
ic sensors, concrete walls and patrol
roads began in June 2002 following
escalating terror attacks. The northern
portion, 128 kilometers long, and
extending to Kfar Saba and around the
Palestinian city of Qalkilya, has already
been completed, as well as portions
surrounding Jerusalem.
As the barrier goes up across the
"seam line" between the two popula-
tions, the sense of increased security is
immediate. Army statistics demon-
strate a sharp decline in infiltration
and terror attacks where the barrier
has been completed, and as in the case

of Lebanon, around Gaza and
Jewish self-determination. If
along the long border with
the efforts to negotiate a two-
Jordan, a security fence and
state solution are again
intensive Israel Defense Forces
blocked by the Palestinians
monitoring of movements on
(precisely to trap Israel in this
the other side are highly effec-
scenario), the alternative is
tive measures in keeping out
separation through unilateral
terrorists. The construction of
action and creation of a de
a barrier to keep out
GERALD M. facto border.
Palestinian bombers is clearly
Israel's best defense against
another and more deadly
Commentary Stoppage Unlikely
round of violence.
Taking these issues into
Support for immediate sepa-
account, the Palestinian cam-
ration is also propelled by recognition
paign (through the U.S and the U.N.)
of the demographic threat to the
is unlikely to stop construction.
Jewish and democratic nature of Israeli However, in Israel, the debate on the
society. As Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
route for the third stage, covering the
Sharon acknowledged, the majority
line between the middle of the coun-
population in a single political entity
try and the northern outskirts of
between the Mediterranean and the
Jerusalem, is continuing.
Jordan River will soon be Palestinian,
The supporters of a "minimalist"
and the Jewish population would
want to keep the fence close to the
become a minority in another Arab
Green Line and to past Prime Minister
and Islamic state, thereby reversing the Ehud Barak's proposed map at the
accomplishments of the Zionist move-
Camp David summit three years ago.
ment and the re-establishment of
STEINBERG on page 42




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