To the editors:
Thank you for running the article on "The Importance of Being Jewish" [August 7]. Florence Levinsohn's article about American Jews seeking more religiosity and becoming more observant is a most interesting subject.
However, some of her assertions are really distortions of what Torah life is all about. May I refer her and your interested readers to New Yorker writer Liz Harris's book Holy Days for a much more accurate picture of Lubavitch Hasidim in particular and observant life in general.
In addition, some of the local university libraries in Chicago have my book, Dynamics of Commitment (1977, University Microfilms, Ann Arbor), a sociological analysis of a group of 40 American men who became observant and were studying in a Lubavitch yeshiva.
My study concluded with a follow-up analysis two years after these men had left yeshiva. Mrs. Levinsohn will be interested to know that in most cases these men were closer to their families than ever before. Three reasons may explain why: they had a Torah life, a Torah wife, and were raising Torah children. (In contrast, many of their cohorts did not marry or did not marry Jews and/or did not have children.)
Dr. Menachem Kovacs