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August 20, 2004

History of U.S. Zionism

Kudos on the very interesting August 6 article on the history of the organized American Jewish community (“Hearts Ungovernable”).

The Forward mentions the American Jewish Congress of the World War I, but does not mention the American Jewish Conference of World War II. It met at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York during the summer of 1943. The delegates were elected.

At the conference, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver delivered an unscheduled address that electrified the delegates and the large audience. A resolution in favor of the creation of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine was adopted by all the delegates except the representatives of the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Labor Committee.

Rabbi Stephen Wise was the spokesman of American Zionism until 1943. That year, Chaim Weizmann urged Silver to assume leadership of the American Zionist Council. Wise and Silver were elected co-chairmen, but Silver was forced to resign in 1944. After a bitter fight with Wise and his political allies, Silver was reelected and became the leader and spokesman of the American Zionist Movement. When the report of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine was discussed in 1947, Silver was the head of the Jewish Agency delegation that represented the Jewish people.

Jacques Torczyner

Walnut Creek, Calif.

The writer is a former president of the Zionist Organization of America.

Reject Global Strategy

The idea of a global Jewish strategy that was floated by the Jewish Agency for Israel to promote “closer consultation between Israel and Diaspora Jewish communities on policies that affect each other’s welfare” should be rejected (“A Global Jewish Strategy,” July 30).

Considering the low regard in which Israel is held in virtually all Western democracies, it would be more tactful for an Israeli government agency not to flaunt a close relationship with Jews who are citizens of other countries and who may not wish to be seen as Israel’s yes-men in its treatment of the Palestinians.

The Jewish Agency admits that “Israel’s image and international standing” are tarnished and add “pressures” on Jews of other countries. Would not a wiser Israeli government have avoided this predicament?

Sid Resnick

Hamden, Conn.

Backing Gender Study

The nearly 300 members of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York voted unanimously to underwrite the Rabbinical Assembly’s gender study for two reasons (“Rabbinical Study Finds ‘Alarming’ Pulpit Gender Gap,” August 6): They could empathize with female rabbis getting short shrift, and there were no men around to tell them not to.

Betsy Miller Landis


Sherri Greenbach

Executive Director

Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York

New York, N.Y.

Improve JDate Service

Should JDate’s parent company go public, the company plans to invest money “to enhance and improve the user experience” (“Online Dating Service Flirts With Public Stock Offering,” August 13). It could do so now by fostering greater transparency.

Only paying members can send e-mails or reply to them. (Nonpaying members can respond to instant messages.) But a search or a match list on JDate turns up many people who haven’t logged in for months and presumably are not paying members. Obviously a larger pool makes JDate look better, but the company should do better to purge inactive members.

Norman Oder

Brooklyn, N.Y.

The writer is the founder of, which helps people write online personal ads.

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