Riva Gold recently criticized a column I wrote in the Tribune, “A Sketch of My Jewish Identity,” for “including factually incorrect and derogatory assertions about a major religious denomination,” that being the watered-down, self-satisfying, superficial Reform Judaism of my maternal relatives and my “shallow,” extortionist fellow b’nai and b’not mitzvah in Wayne, New Jersey.
Gold argued that I shouldn’t consider them “emblematic of the movement as a whole.”
She claimed I did this in the following line, which I completely forgive her for amputating from its original context: “My mother grew up in the Long Island tradition of Reform Judaism, which essentially reduces religious observance to thrice yearly family gatherings in vague recognition of what ancestors considered major holidays” (the italics being, of course, the parts of my original sentence Gold chose to include in her recent article). It is only Gold’s deliberate mutilation of my sentence that she objects to. Were it what the Tribune published, I would certainly agree with her criticism of both that fine newspaper and its “ever-controversial columnist.”
As a former Daily columnist, I trust your newspaper’s audience is capable of noting on its own that the original sentence implies something distinctly less than the “universalization” Ms. Gold critiqued. To those from Long Island who object, I wholeheartedly apologize – for everything.
I readily admit disrespect toward the half-assed religiosity of those among whom I was reared. However, as my article’s title and narrative form illustrated, I never express it as anything more than my personal opinion, one Tribune readers are free to accept or reject as their various personal experiences implore them to.
Bonne chance with your mitzvoth though, Gold.
Ricky KreitnerU1 Philosophy & Political ScienceTribune columnistFormer Daily columnist