Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Readers respond

(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

Editorial wrong on Omar
I wanted to respond to the July 9 editorial asserting that Ilhan Omar is a “blight” on the Democratic Party. As a Jewish person actively involved in his congregation who has lived several years of his life in Israel and who is actively involved in U.S. politics today, I politely disagree with this assessment. I felt the editorial itself was very short on details of Omar’s behavior that makes her equivalent to Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, and the examples given were not convincing.

Her condemnation of Israeli behavior, and her assertions about the difficulties of being able to even note the Israeli atrocities the government regularly commits against the indigenous population is not antisemitic. Painting her with such a brush just strengthens her point about how censoriousness our community is toward those who point out our failings.

There is a strong pressure amongst American Jewry to wholly support all decisions made by the Israeli government regarding Palestinian issues. This pressure is to our detriment and it resulted in the needless prolongation of Netanyahu’s corrupt administration since honest debate about how Likud has been handling things has not been possible.

Omar’s voice is a reasonable one. She is doing as all people in her position do: standing up for an oppressed minority. She has never degraded or trivialized Jewish history, but instead highlighted the obvious extremes that Israel has come to, and the conspiracy of silence around them. In listening to her, I feel I am better able to understand my position, and I am grateful for her voice.

Thank you for your excellent publication, though. I do enjoy reading the diversity of the Jewish community you regularly bring to your pages.

Dan Warner

Netflix show misrepresents Orthodox life
Thank you for highlighting some of the major problems with “My Unorthodox Life” (“‘My Unorthodox Life’ typical reality fare,” July 16).

I’m highly disappointed by the choice to air another show depicting the Jewish community in a negative light. I understand that in order to bring in money, Netflix shows need to attract viewers and be entertaining, however it is not entertaining to continuously see people bashing Judaism and the choice to live in a Jewish community.

Both “Unorthodox” and “My Unorthodox Life” focus on very extreme circumstances, where people are extremely unhappy and struggling with their faith. It’s important to consider that in the secular world, there are also extreme circumstances of unhappiness and people feeling the need to “leave the community,” but this doesn’t accurately represent an entire group of people.

It seems that Netflix continuously feels the need to spark controversy over religion, so why not show a Jewish community that is happy? A show depicting Jews who love Torah and who love the way they are raised would spark just as much interest and would show Judaism in a positive light. What some viewers of “Unorthodox” and “My Unorthodox Life” don’t know is that Judaism holds a standard that “a Jew is a Jew is a Jew,” meaning that however you practice, whatever level you are at, and however you express (or don’t express) your Jewish identity, a Jew is a Jew and is accepted as one.

Additionally, Jews are taught not only to accept other Jews, but to accept all people for who they are. There are a huge number of Jews who actually come to the religious world on their own, rather than leaving it. Many Jews do not grow up with a Torah education or parents who demonstrate this type of Jewish lifestyle, yet deep down they crave it and find it on their own. This is what makes Judaism so special: everyone is accepted, regardless of their background, where they came from, or how they were raised. This is the type of show that should be airing, and this is the type of show Netflix could be proud of.

Jews have been discriminated against and brought down for years, and until Netflix (the number one streaming service in the world) takes a stand and shows us differently, it is perpetuating the problem.

I encourage anyone who feels this way to reach out to Netflix via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as live chat on the Netflix website.

Stephanie Birnbaum

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