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Obsolescent Shibboleths

December 09, 1990

Book reviews are dessert for me and so I always leave them for last, to be read at leisure. I have just read one that is more than a week old, but because it disturbs me on two levels, I am emboldened to write at this late date.

I am speaking of Faye Kellerman's review of "Dancing on Tisha B'Av" by Lev Raphael (Nov. 11).

I quote--"But rejection of the precepts of religion can be morally hazardous." Why, oh why, do some people think that morality and atheism are diametrically opposed? Some of the most moral people I know happen to be atheists; some of the most immoral happen to be deists. The words are not synonymous.

Next--"Mark shows up out of nowhere and is welcomed immediately. Not only can he read the Torah fluently, he is the much needed tenth man for a minyan --a prayer quorum."

Didn't Ms. Kellerman see the contradiction in this? This is a book about religious Jews who are also gay. What hypocrisy--fighting for their rights within the Temple but seeing nothing wrong in a minyan having to be all-male. If one is working toward civil and religious rights, they should be for all, not just for men.

It is sad and frightening when one finds the educated not asking that we rid ourselves of old and tired shibboleths.



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