Hey, JJ! Give the Miamians a break!
I just wrote a letter to JJ Goldberg, who published this editorial in the Forward.
The background is, Temple Israel in Miami, FL, where my dear friend Alan married the Jewish boy of his dreams and agreed to have their local representative, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, speak, but cancelled her appearance at that the last minute because
1) one of their old crotchety donors threatened to leave the congregation if they didn’t give him a rebuttal, and
2) Republicans for Romney threatened to demonstrate and Temple Israel, would have had to hire and coordinate police to manage the melee.
I know synagogue politics, and they can be hairy. So I don’t know why JJ pinned the fate of American liberalism on this poor congregation, instead of showing a little mercy.
So a popular congresswoman’s talk was cancelled at Temple Israel? And you blame the Jews? Why not blame the economy? That’s the real culprit.
I know people at Temple Israel, and I know synagogue politics, and I think that when Wasserman Shultz blames internal politics, you can believe it.
Republicans threatened to bring an Astroturf demonstration which would have needed a police presence, and the temple leadership did not want to deal with it on a holiday weekend. Temple Israel is not a large university like Notre Dame or Georgetown. Calling Temple Israel cowardly when they are progressive and wonderful and reach out to the entire country is just wrong. They have declined in numbers so much they treasure each member. Even the Republican ones.
Many Jews have aligned themselves with Republicans for the sake of Israel. And Republicans, who know how to press their advantage, are trying to bring their politics into synagogues the way they brought them into the evangelical movement. There is going to be some back and forth in this struggle. Temple Israel has hosted plenty of liberal speakers in the past, and they will again. But for one holiday weekend, they took the easy way out and passed on the controversy.
Would you have hired the police for them? Would the Democratic Party?
There are feelings here, and budgets to be balanced.
Shame on you for making an example of Temple Israel.
Author of a memoir called The Girl On the Wall, and working on a novel. Former Synagogue president, gardener, empty nester. Raising bees.
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