Tisha B’Av At The Isaiah Wall
Once again, Jewish Press readers came through!
Despite the 95-degree heat, Jewish Press readers joined our 36th annual public Tisha B’Av Minchah service, held since 1991 at the dramatic Isaiah Wall opposite the UN.
As we prayed, our thoughts focused on our brethren in Israel, Jews in danger worldwide, and the need to heal the rifts in Israeli society and our Jewish communities. Dr. Naftali Moses, father of Mercaz HaRav terror attack victim Avraham David, spoke movingly of his son.
May we soon live in a world where pain and hate are only a memory.
Amcha-Coalition for Jewish Concerns
Rabbi Norman Lamm never disappoints (“Gratitude Is Good for the Soul,” front page essay, July 19). What I found particularly satisfying is that unlike some pulpit rabbis who seize on a subject and focus on one aspect in great depth, Rabbi Lamm seems to be able to address several related aspects in one sermon or essay. In sum, he provides a treasure trove of insights.
Rabbi Elchanan Poupko’s reference to the “famous epistemological joke” about the man looking under the streetlight though he lost his keys in the bushes accurately encapsulates and mocks the fatuous and ultimately futile shuttle diplomacy of our peripatetic secretary of state. (“U.S. Mideast Policy: Looking in All the Wrong Places?” op-ed, July 19).
Mr. Kerry’s enthusiastic piling up of frequent flier miles to regenerate Israeli-Palestinian negotiations – in a region embroiled in violent upheaval with mounting death and injury tolls and hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the massacres – is indicative, as Rabbi Poupko noted, of the administration choosing the “familiar actors” with a well-known script as “the least challenging option.”
The problem is that when only Israel is pressed for concessions, the Palestinians become even more intransigent, confident in the knowledge that the U.S. is empathetic to their spurious claims.
The latest news that Israelis and Palestinians are to meet in Washington with Israel apparently having agreed to at least some Palestinian pre-conditions would seem to indicate that the Palestinians have again succeeded in “moving the goalposts,” thus ensuring that the onus for compromise remains firmly on Israel alone.
The epistemological analogy stands unchallenged by recent fast-moving events.
Israel’s Religious Divide
Re “Hateful Rhetoric, Violent Encounters Roil Israel’s Religious Communities,” front page news story, July 19:
I am aware that there are sharp differences between the National Religious and haredi factions and their supporters. However, I still cannot fathom how they treat each other in public with such contempt and sometimes violence. I still have not gotten over the recent attacks by haredi hooligans on haredi IDF soldiers for the supposed sin of collaborating with the “medinah.”
We are all Jews, religious or non-religious, and I fail to understand how so many of us seem to forget that there is more that unites us than separates us. We should all never forget that whatever our particular persuasion, the world sees us as all the same. If we don’t have each other, we become vulnerable.
Poland And Shechitah
I read of Poland’s efforts to ban kosher slaughter with great foreboding (“Poland Rejects Shechitah,” news brief, July 19). I remember reading that the very first law adopted by the Nazis when they took over the German government was one that effectively banned shechitah. They did it indirectly by mandating that all animals had to be stunned before being slaughtered, which of course is not permitted under Jewish law.
The Polish authorities, who have been under unrelenting pressure from animal rights activists, have to be informed that the rules of Jewish ritual slaughter actually minimizes pain to animals.
Israel Can Protect Itself
Israel continues to demonstrate that left to its own devices it is quite capable of protecting itself from its enemies (“Report: Israeli Air Strike Hit Syrian Missile Warehouse,” news brief, July 19).
For all their bellicosity and grandiose promises of mounting “the mother of all wars,” Israel’s neighbors are weak, unmotivated and driven by irrational hate. While I recognize that may present a different level of challenge, I think the record shows that Israel knows what it is doing.
Obama’s Nixonion Streak
The Jewish Press makes a strong case that President Obama really thinks of himself as a man with a transcendent mission who can bend the rules in fulfilling it (“Obama Unbound,” editorial, July 19).
The niceties of our system of government with its checks and balances and constitutional blueprint for governmental action have little application to him, or so he seems to think, when they get in the way of his doing the “People’s Business.”
Liberals back in the 1970s referred to the Nixon administration as the Imperial Presidency. I think Richard Nixon had nothing on Barack Obama.
Zimmerman Case Decided On Law, Not Emotion
Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer would have been wise to remain silent and not voice his opinions on the George Zimmerman case. His credibility went down the drain when he denigrated his own reputation, torpedoed his political career and humiliated his family with his behavior several years ago.
Spitzer’s claim that the justice system failed and that the jury got it wrong seems to be his way of bringing more attention to himself. This case is not a failure of justice, as Spitzer claims; as a former prosecutor, he knows better. Rather, it is an example of a trial that brought the totality of evidence forward for a jury to consider objectively and fairly, which it did. The verdict and the criminal justice process need to be respected.
This case also was not about race. It was not about Skittles and a drink. It involved two human beings who wound up in an altercation that has had an impact on many lives in profound ways.
Though it is tragic that Trayvon Martin is dead, he played a part in this situation as well. Trayvon could have avoided confrontation by running to his father’s home (which was four minutes away), but he chose to remain in the area.
Undoubtedly Zimmerman did not set out to kill anyone that night, and Trayvon was not the totally innocent victim he has been portrayed to be. He apparently attacked Zimmerman, injuring him and provoking him to shoot in self-defense.
While emotions have run high on this case, it is not one that was decided on emotion but on the evidence presented in a court of law.
Brian J. Goldenfeld
Woodland Hills, CA
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