My published letter to the editor of the Jewish Press:
Re your most recent criticism of Rabbi Weinreb:
Your Aug. 2 editorial concluded with the following passage from an article that appeared in the Baltimore Jewish Times several years ago on a religious pluralism conference held in Israel:
"A panel of local Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis identified areas thatwe can all agree on, and other areas where we must respect each other`s differences.The Orthodox speaker, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb of Congregation Shomrei Emunah reminded the audience that 'all Jews stood together at Sinai, and for that reason, all Jews are Jews.` He pointed out, however, that 'we heard the Truth differently, and we established movements which institutionalized our differences."
You then observed: "This hardly reflects the notion that Orthodoxy has an exclusive on legitimacy as a 'movement.` In fact, with nothing more, it seems to suggest just the opposite. At the risk of appearing repetitious, we rather think a clarification is in order."
I`m wondering how The Jewish Press could logically come to such a conclusion.The three movements` hearing "the Truth differently" does not imply that all three heard "the Truth" correctly. Nothing in any of Rabbi Weinreb`s words implies anything other than the exclusiveness of Orthodox "legitimacy."
The only clarification The Jewish Press needs is clarity in its own thinking.
(Rabbi) Jay S. Lapidus West Hartford, CT
EDITOR`S RESPONSE: Rabbi Lapidus`s letter is very troubling. He cannot understand, he says, how we "could logically come to such a conclusion" - i.e. that Rabbi Weinreb`s observation "hardly reflects the notion that Orthodoxy has an exclusive on legitimacy as a `movement.`
Indeed, Rabbi Lapidus goes even further and says, "Nothing in any ofRabbi Weinreb`s words implies anything other than the exclusiveness ofOrthodox 'legitimacy.'"
In other words, Rabbi Lapidus is so carried away in his defense of a colleaguethat he allows not even an arguable presumption to be drawn from what would appear to be the plain meaning of Rabbi Weinreb`s statement.
My response to the JP's response: