The Joy of Torah | Letters | Chicago Reader

The Joy of Torah 

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To the editors:

Although it is not my custom to air religious views in the media, I feel compelled to respond to the article "The Importance of Being Jewish" [August 7]. There were so many misconceptions in the article about Torah Judaism (which the author refers to as Orthodoxy), and I cannot begin to address them all in this brief letter. I must, however, clarify two issues which were attributed to me.

The implication was made that in my view Jewish women are limited to the role of being housewives. Without a doubt, the role of the Jewish woman as homemaker is of the highest priority, and it is essential to the strength and stability of the Jewish family and society. Nevertheless, she is not limited to that role alone. The Orthodox community of Chicago as throughout the world, has in its midst Jewish women, who in addition to being homemakers and raising families, are involved in a wide variety of professions and communal work. Doctors, lawyers, writers, accountants, secretaries, computer analysts are but a few of the professions of Torah observant women.

In fact, my own wife is a college graduate and is constantly active in educational and communal services in addition to raising our own family.

A second point to clarify is the purpose of Migdal Torah--an outreach program for adults with limited or nonexistent Jewish education interested in exploring their heritage. It is not to teach one how to be orthodox, as was expressed in the article. Rather, it is to teach Torah as Torah has been taught for 3500 years. Inevitably, when students learn about Torah and discover its eternal wisdom, beauty, and relevance, many often opt to incorporate part or all of it into their lives. They then find their lives enriched and enhanced contrary to Ms. Levinsohn's portrayal of their becoming stifled and restricted.

It is sad that the author missed out on all the vibrancy, joy, and meaning of Torah living as it is experienced by Jews worldwide rediscovering their roots.

Ahron Levitansky

Chicago

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