Scientists and Orthodoxy
To the Editor:
There are a number of statements in Erich Isaac’s article on the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists [“The Loneliest Jews of All,” August 1968] with which one can take serious issue. These include the author’s comments on the conservative nature of the Orthodox scientists, the “jealous” defense of the autonomy of the “smaller professional groups” by members of the AOJS, and the one-sidedness of the Association’s “missionary function.” It would seem that the author has generalized rather broadly on the basis of a single evening at an annual dinner.
There is in addition one serious misstatement of fact which must be clearly and unequivocally rejected. As a member of the Association’s Board I can attest that at no time did the Association’s discussions of New York State’s abortion reform bill center on “whether to support the bill or to take no stand at all,” as Mr. Isaac states. The question was, rather, whether the Association’s opposition to significant parts of the reform bill should be publicly expressed or not, in view of the support of the bill by various secular Jewish groups. The Torah view does not, for example, permit abortion because of the possibility of fetal deformity, unless the possibility of such a birth clearly threatens the mother’s life or health.
It is unfortunate that one of COMMENTARY’S rare forays into the world of the Orthodox Jew should be marred by inaccuracies.
Seymour M. Glick, M.D.
Brooklyn, New York