To the Editor,
According to Marcie Lenk, the majority of Israel’s Jewish citizens, regardless of denomination, could agree on the just and compassionate society invoked by Isaiah, and this would serve as an expression of the Jewishness of the state. I find this curious. Is she suggesting that non-Jews are less interested in justice and compassion than Jews? No, in fact she says that most societies now share these values. So what makes them Jewish? Is it that we invented them, as the Scots did haggis, or perfected them, as the French did rudeness? Either way, they would constitute a rather anemic expression of Jewishness.
And would Isaiah have smiled upon his countrymen when, having clothed the naked and fed the hungry, they rode their bikes through Yom Kippur, a cheeseburger in one hand and a girl in the other? Hardly, as Marcie is well-aware.
Another curious point: Marcie writes that Israel shouldn’t be a theocracy because that is unpopular (“rejected by Israel’s founders and rejected by the government and most of the people of the State of Israel”) and illegal (“freedom of religion and freedom from religion must be protected, as is promised in Israel’s Declaration of Independence and in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty”). Yet “the Chief Rabbinate does have too much power in cases of Jewish family law”, which power I assume it has by law and by popular support as expressed through our elected representatives.
So, since laws and votes are good when they support Marcie’s position and bad when they contravene it, I have to assume that at base Marcie dislikes the Chief Rabbinate, and possibly Orthodoxy in general, and that all the rest is just window-dressing.