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Responding to the Critics - Conclusions

In our opinion, Dr. Simon’s attack was profoundly wrong and irresponsible for the following reasons:

First, the essence of this debate is highly technical and requires a serious background in statistics and scientific methodology to begin truly to understand. Dr. Simon’s article does not belong in a popular Jewish magazine such as Jewish Action. Doron Witztum and Dr. Rips’ paper was published after proper peer review by professionals with the proper background in science and statistics. It is disturbing that Dr. Simon chose to bypass scientific protocol and present his arguments to a public that cannot be expected to provide its own critical assessment of the extremely complex scientific issues.

Second, the article is needlessly and unjustifiably damaging to Kiruv Rechokim (outreach). Anyone who sincerely holds the entire Kiruv Rechokim effort in high esteem, as Dr. Simon claims he does in his article, would have worked with us - not against us. The Jewish People are currently experiencing a spiritual Holocaust. That is why Aish HaTorah stands at the front of the battle against rampant assimilation and intermarriage. We would have hoped that before anyone decided to publically air grievances with such an organization, potentially casting doubt upon the integrity of all their efforts, at least to have discussed their concerns with us privately. We are convinced that all these concerns could have been addressed fully without causing unnecessary damage. Sadly, Dr. Simon never even made the attempt. Although he mentions meeting with Dr. Rips to discuss his questions, Dr. Rips characterized their meeting as extremely superficial. He was shocked to read Dr. Simon’s later intimation that a thorough discussion of the issues had taken place between them. Dr. Rips later wrote me a letter describing his open-handed offer to Dr. Simon, with whom he proposed “to establish a dialog, and to discuss all questions that he may have in a thorough way, issue by issue, without hurry”. But, unfortunately, “Dr. Simon declined my offer”.

Dr. Simon can now be faithful to the Gemorah he quotes regarding seeking the “Truth”. He knows the appropriate address for his questions and concerns. If Dr. Simon were to engage his considerable gifts in a serious and responsible investigation of the research, Mr. Witztum and Dr. Rips would then welcome and accept his contribution including the potential discovery of a previously invisible flaw, however painful that may be. But readers should understand that, at present, Dr. Simon is shooting from the hip.