I sent the letter below to the Jerusalem Post last week. I don’t know if it was published or not, but thought I would share it with Cross-Currents’ readers.
It was surprising – and saddening – to read Dr. Jonathan Schorsch interpret the fact that many haredi children’s media extol ahavat Yisrael as evidence that there must then be a dearth of such love in the Orthodox community. He seems inexplicably bent on seeing the negative.
And it was disappointing to read that he still insists that rejection of Reform or Conservative theologies implies rejection of Jews who affiliate with those movements. I have no doubt that Dr. Schorsch considers some belief-systems to be clearly beyond the Jewish pale – and no doubt, either, that he does not reject Jews who claim to have embraced them.
That said, I thank Dr. Schorsch for accepting my Shabbat invitation. The Shafrans truly look forward to meeting the Schorsches. He can reach me at Agudath Israel – 212 797-9000.
As to the “real question” he poses – whether I would be willing to visit with a non-Orthodox Jew and have what food my kashrut level permits me – the answer is “of course!” I have done that many times, and hope to in the future as well.
Rabbi Avi Shafran
Director of Public Affairs
Agudath Israel of America