Letters to the Editor: ‘A Jewish tragedy’

Matthew S. Chase, University City

Dan Goldberg makes light of his having received Communion at his friend’s Catholic Church on Christmas (Jan. 5). The editors at JTA and the Light, who carried his narrative, seem not to think much of it either. Goldberg, who now fancies himself an expert on all things Jewish and Catholic, even opines that the two religions “aren’t far removed” from each other and have rites and rituals which are “virtually the same.” I cannot speak about Catholicism, but Goldberg’s knowledge of his own faith, Judaism, is pitiful.

The sad reality is that what Goldberg did, regardless of his intentions at the time, represents a Jewish tragedy. For a Jew to participate in the rituals which he describes unquestionably constitutes avodah zarah or ‘foreign worship’, one of the three most severe religious infractions in Judaism. So severe that thousands upon thousands of Jews throughout our history have given their lives al kiddush Hashem, for the sanctification of G-d’s name, rather than perform precisely such rituals.

How ironic that Goldberg’s story appeared on the same page as a commentary lamenting that “too often our best and brightest are so painfully uninformed of the most rudimentary teachings and beliefs of Judaism.”

Being uninformed is unfortunate. Flaunting it is unforgiveable.

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Matthew S. Chase

University City