Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Letters

Who Cares?

I rarely find myself disagreeing with Leonard Fein, but in his April 13 column, “American Jews Are Different, Not ‘Partial,’” his criticism of the Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua’s distinction between “complete” and “partial” Jews (that is, between Israelis like Yehoshua and all American Jews) misses the point.

Fein objects that Yehoshua “disrespects” Jews who do not live in Israel — but why should anyone, inside or outside Israel, care whether Yehoshua “respects” him or not? More basic is the mischievous confusion in Yehoshua’s distinction itself. “Complete”? “Partial”? Would Yehoshua feel qualified also to tell us what a complete human being is? A complete parent? Moses must have been “partial” because he never made it to the Holy Land; Yigal Amir is “complete” because although he assassinated Israel’s prime minister, he fulfilled all of Yehoshua’s requirements.

The question we should be asking ourselves is not why Yehoshua believes his standing as a novelist gives him authority to speak thoughtlessly about other matters, but why we should take him seriously when he does.

Berel Lang

Jerusalem

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

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.