People Over Property

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I agree with Art Abramson (“Pittsburgh: America 2018,” Nov. 9) and am appalled by Jonathan Tobin’s false moral equivalence between the multicultural left and the white alt-right (“Which Type of Hate Should We Fear Most?” Nov. 9).

Dr. Abramson references various benefits of the Trump administration, principally moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. But, in his opinion, “to most Americans, none of this matters” in light of President Trump’s hateful and fear-mongering rhetoric. He is correct.

Many of those in Orthodox, CUFI and Commentary circles notwithstanding, the fact of the matter is that relocation of the Embassy is not worth the lives of 11 Jews.

On this point of people over property, I proudly stand with the late Joseph B. Soloveitchik, aka “the Rav,” the leading Orthodox thinker of the 20th century.

In sobering comments all the more remarkable for having been made during the period of euphoria after the triumphant 1967 war, the Rav made it clear that when it comes to matters of land, it is the people of Israel who are holy — not cheftza, not soil. The people of Israel — their welfare and well-being, safety and security — take precedent. In his own words, “Our Judaism is not a religion of shrines; that as dear as [even] the Western Wall is, the … lives of Jews are more important.”

And if, in his view, that was the case with the Western Wall, kalwa-chomer (all the more so) as regards a mere secular, “symbolic” diplomatic address such as an embassy.

Am Yisroel Chai.

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