Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Letters

The Truth Lies in the Middle

How interestingly ironic that the April 13 editorial section includes Jane Eisner’s piece “Debating Spinoza, Again,” about the classic example in Jewish history of Jewish intolerance and the excommunication of the Portuguese Jewish philosopher residing in Amsterdam in the 16th century, and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s piece about Jewish pluralism presumably because Jews “are not a proselytizing people”( unlike the two other Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Islam) and that the “bonding sense of kinship” among Jews overrides the likes and dislikes of various denominations toward one another within Judaism.

In my opinion, I think the truth lies somewhere in between these extremes of intolerance and tolerance. The ultra-Orthodox are not the paradigms of Jewish tolerance toward other Jews such as Reform Jews, often accusing them of not being Jewish whatsoever. And often some in the Reform world dismiss the quaintness of the Orthodox as an anachronism of medieval vintage. And perhaps the intolerance shown toward Spinoza, for religious and historical reasons, should also be seen as the rare but notable exception to an expansive, tolerating pluralism among most in the Jewish community.

In summary, pluralism is a laudatory ideal and not a reflection of reality.

Alan S. Rosenbaum
Shaker Heights, Ohio

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.