Friedman’s master class
I was at the Minneapolis Talmud Torah event honoring Thomas Friedman, and came away with a different impression of what happened (“About People,” 5-27-11 AJW).
There were two people pressing Friedman about Israel; but there were many more who were mesmerized by the extraordinary insight and perspective he brought to understanding the rapidly evolving dynamics in the Middle East.
Friedman was profound and generous (he both donated his time and established an endowment for the school). He spoke far longer and in much greater depth than we expected. We have no affiliation with the school and came specifically to hear him. He responded in great detail to the many thoughtful questions presented throughout the evening, and was quite respectful to all who spoke, including those who few who were more persistent in their grilling.
I know this was a magical evening for me — one that I have since characterized as a rare privilege. So, to see it covered and in such an off-handed way by the American Jewish World, just leaves me stunned. I think you do both the speaker and all those who attended this event — what I consider a foreign affairs “master class” — a profound disservice.
Adela Peskorz, Woodbury
Friedman’s a leftist
Tom Friedman, in his talk at the Minneapolis Talmud Torah dinner, commented that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition is the “most ingrown, brain-dead government” in Israel’s history (“About People,” 5-27-11 AJW).
When some questioned his remarks, Friedman replied, “This is why I don’t speak to Jewish groups.”
This is nothing new about the New York Times columnist. Criticizing Israel and supporting the Palestinians is for Tom Friedman a way of demonstrating his left-wing credentials, and proving that political correctness trumps any ethnic solidarity.
Max C. Goodman, St. Paul
Tom was gracious
I just read the “About People” column in the May 27 issue. I take issue with your characterization of Tom Friedman’s presentation.
Tom was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of Talmud Torah of Minneapolis at its Annual Benefit, not its annual meeting. He was gracious and genial throughout the evening.
When asked questions that might be considered contrary to his views, he was cordial and respectful, unlike the questioner. His comment about not speaking to Jewish groups was clearly made in jest. Anyone who thinks otherwise was looking to pick a fight.
Joel Lavintman, President, Talmud Torah of Minneapolis
Magen Tzedek needed
Regarding the article “Orthodox decry Magen Tzedek” (5-27-11 AJW), kudos to Rabbi Morris Allen and his team for rightfully standing up to the unfair criticism of Magen Tzedek.
According to the articles that have appeared in the AJW and other periodicals, one could easily make the case that the focus of criticism is on the Conservative affiliation of Rabbi Allen.
Clearly, Magen Tzedek has nothing to do with religious labels and everything to do with protecting the consumer. The fact that it took a Conservative rabbi to initiate this concept and carry it through to fruition is a credit to him, and shameful to his Orthodox colleagues for their uncalled for opposition.
Simply put, kosher sans ethics is non-kosher.
Cantor David Nemtzov, Toronto, Canada
(American Jewish World, 6.10.11)