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Letters week of Nov. 4, 2010
Ad Misconstrues Ruling on Matter of Cremation
The Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement maintains the position that cremation is a practice contrary to Jewish law and tradition, and therefore should be discouraged.
In the event one chooses cremation, a question arises regarding the burial of the ashes. In response to this question, our Committee on Jewish Law and Standards has ruled that, although cremation is contrary to Jewish law, the ashes may be buried in a Jewish cemetery.
Citing this ruling in its full-page ad on Page 10 in the Oct. 28 Jewish Exponent, Roosevelt Memorial Park and its owners implied that the CJLS and, by extension, the Conservative movement accept or condone cremation as a halachic option to traditional burial.
We, the undersigned members of the Rabbinical Assembly of Greater Philadelphia, would like to assure the cemetery and the Jewish community at large of our unanimous and unambiguous stance in favor of traditional Jewish burial practices.
Furthermore, we encourage members of the Jewish community to adhere to these traditional and time-honored practices.
To answer questions about this and other matters of Jewish law, we encourage readers to consult a rabbi.
Rabbi Andrea Merow
Rabbi Neil Cooper
Chair, Goodblatt Institute for Conversion
Rabbi Eric Rosin
Rabbi Eric Cytryn
Rabbi Todd Zeff
Rabbi Adam Wohlberg
Ad Was Not Only Wrong, It Was Highly Offensive
The advertisement placed by David Gordon of Roosevelt Memorial Park suggesting cremation is a disgrace (Oct. 28, Page 10). It promotes the idea that Jews should take one more step away from our faith, traditions and commandments.
Your readers should know that halachah, Jewish law, commands us to bury our dead in the earth. In Genesis 2:7 and 3:19, it is clearly stated that "you will return to the ground for it is from the ground you were taken."
As a child of Holocaust survivors, whose grandfather was forced to work as a Sonderkommando in Auschwitz, burning dead Jewish bodies, I find this ad highly offensive.
University Should Act Against Hate-Filled Man
Lincoln University Professor Kaukab Siddique's inflammatory rhetoric and incitement of violence against Jews and Israel could lead to a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which has recently added Jews as a protected group on college campus (Cover story: "Anti-Israel Views Draw Fire," Oct. 28).
No matter where he speaks, Siddique is recognized as a professor of Lincoln University, a school that receives public funding. While there may not be any Jews attending Lincoln, as a college professor, his hateful and anti-Semitic speeches -- no matter where they are delivered (including on the Internet) -- could incite outbreaks of hatred on college campuses where significant Jewish populations exist.
Lincoln University should be wary of this dangerous possibility, and take steps to stifle Siddique's outrageously hateful and Holocaust-denying remarks.
They could very well put Lincoln's public funding in jeopardy.
Co-president, Zionist Organization of America, Greater Philadelphia District
Watch Your Yiddish Grammar, Reader Warns
It pains me every time I see your advertisement for "Fannie's Favorites" cookbooks because of an error in the Yiddish wording. It says: "And you call yourself a Yidish kokhn?"
Kokhn is a verb meaning "to cook." The correct phrase would be a "yidishe kekhn" for a female cook, or a "yidisher kukher" for a male.
You shouldn't assume that nobody speaks Yiddish anymore. I am 12 years old, and Yiddish is my mameloshn.
Dina Malka Botwinik