As always. Rabbi Jacob Neusner’s February article (“Letter From Inner Israel: Christmas, That Winter Festival“) is of interest to this hard-shell, pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic. The attempts to secularize the synagogues that Rabbi Neusner discusses could have come from a page out of Call to Action and from various dissenting groups intent on “desacralizing” the parishes and especially the worship of the Catholic Church. Maybe there’s a manual on this out there somewhere. I suspect we are only following the route pioneered by the once mighty “mainline” Protestant denominations—now reduced to the virtual status of sects—over the past 60 years.

One has to laugh at the idea of synagogues appointing “program directors [who would] organize all kinds of activities that fall outside the range of typical synagogue programs.” Neusner adds: “The new programs will promote ‘Jewishness’ for Jews who want togetherness but no Torah.” And they will be run by outside “professionals” who have no real interest in religion, only in “process” and brainwashing. These programs, of course, could fit any denomination, any business—for businesses are just what so many churches have become.

The Jews advocating such programs want to eliminate the authority of the Torah, just as the “cultural Catholics” want to destroy any semblance of authority of the Pope and the Magisterium. And in fact the battle over “authority” is what the end of the 20th century is all about. As a member of a parish that now has 52 committees chasing their respective tails in search of “community,” I’ve begun to think that some “evil conspiracy” is working overtime to make sure that all religions are reduced to the same Orwellian uniformity without a smidgen of divine transcendence.

        —Daniel N. Ehart
Wayne, PA