In his Dec. 4 letter, “Chabad coverage assailed,” Harvey Rosenblum expresses his displeasure that a comment made by his rabbi in his temple’s bulletin has become the subject of public debate and a Chronicle story, and he asks whether rabbis need to be concerned about what is stated in a sermon.
With the assumption that Mr. Rosenblum is asking whether rabbis must operate with the knowledge that their comments may be publicized, I would say that the answer is yes.
A rabbi’s sermon and a temple bulletin are public information, and that is as it should be. I know of no synagogue which restricts attendance at services, and it would be foolish for a rabbi to conclude that his or her comments will not go any further than their immediate audience, that the rabbi is somehow inoculated from being challenged about what they have said. The goal of many, if not most sermons, in fact, is that the rabbi’s words will have far-ranging impact and be spread beyond those who are in attendance.
I would conclude that if one wishes for there to be no risk that they will be challenged about a certain viewpoint, they should keep it to themselves.
Oren M. Spiegler
Upper St. Clair
No pardon for Pollard
So the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations has called on President Bush to pardon Jonathan Pollard. This ostensibly humanitarian call is misguided and disingenuously overlooks the seriousness of his offenses.
Pollard gave Israel daily satellite photos of the Soviet Union’s order of battle. The Shamir government immediately passed those photos along to the Soviets to demonstrate which Soviet emplacements Israel could target if threatened by the Soviets.
By turning these photos over to Israel, and by extension to the Soviets, Pollard let the Soviets know exactly what the United States knew on a daily basis. More egregiously, the photos informed the Soviets that the United States had spy satellite technology to see through their camouflage. Most dangerously, the photos also included the radio computer codes to direct U.S. spy satellites.
Pollard’s supporters claim that he was trying to help a U.S. ally. In violating his oath of allegiance as a Navy intelligence analyst he endangered the American national interest — and, by extension, Israel’s.
Moreover, Pollard was well paid for his endeavors by his Israeli Embassy handlers. He deserves no clemency.
Elihu D. Davison
Morris Township, N.J.