Times Letter: Mild Retort to Rabbi Heschel Distort

Today in the Times a tepid but still welcome answer to Rothstein's distorted right-wing view of Rabbi Heschel:
Religious and Liberal

To the Editor:

Re “A Rabbi of His Time, With a Charisma That Transcends It” (Connections column, Arts pages, Dec. 24), about Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel:

Edward Rothstein writes that theological politics “tends to eliminate distinctions and is impatient with differences, empathy and argument.” But this is only one approach to theological politics, the approach most often taken by the religious right.

The problem is that the religious right has so dominated theological discourse in our country for the last 25 years that it is easy to forget that religion is not necessarily rigid, conservative or fundamentalist.

The recent centennial of Rabbi Heschel’s birth and the celebration of the birth of the leader of the Christian community serve as important reminders that religious people can be liberal and progressive. And they can be committed, first and foremost, not to the imposition of their own religious beliefs, but to the creation and flourishing of a just society.

Donna Berman
Bloomfield, Conn., Dec. 27, 2007
The writer is a rabbi.

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