Letter: Jewish Faith

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article about the hatred and violence directed against Reform Jews in Israel by their ultra-Orthodox co- religionists (13 September) will have disturbed and saddened many of your readers, Jew and non-Jew alike.

It is hardly surprising that many secular Jerusalemites are seeking to escape the intolerance of the Orthodox by leaving the city to find homes in areas where they can live as they choose.

The burning of the kindergarten in Mevasseret Zion is, however, rooted in a different problem. It stems from the refusal of the Orthodox to accept the principle of pluralism in Israel, as indeed they refuse to accept it in the Jewish community in the United Kingdom.

Progressive Jews in Israel and elsewhere are not "secular" Jews, they are as deeply committed to their religion and its traditions as are the Orthodox; they simply choose to practise it in a way that synthesises an ancient faith with modernity.

Rabbi Dr CHARLES H MIDDLEBURGH

Director Designate

Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues

London W1

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