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Letters To The Editor


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History Repeating?

Prof. Jerold Auerbach’s historical analysis in his brilliant July 26 front-page essay (“Divided Loyalty, Again?”) details the soul-searching dilemmas many prominent Jews experienced over fear of being perceived as harboring dual loyalties during the time the Holocaust was raging in Europe.

Rabbi Stephen Wise’s enabling of FDR’s failure to respond to Jewish need is detailed extensively. However, it is Auerbach’s conclusion that is most heartrending:

“Nearly seventy years after the end of World War II and the birth of Israel, American Jewish liberals still show little regard for the timeless biblical admonition (Devarim 25): ‘Zachor – Remember what Amalek did to you.’”

Helen Freedman
New York, NY

Kerry’s Peace Push

I take strong issue with your mocking tone when discussing Secretary of State Kerry’s efforts to reconvene peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (“John Kerry’s Smoke and Mirrors,” editorial, July 26).

Kerry should be encouraged, not ridiculed. I happen to agree with him that Israel as a Jewish state faces an existential threat from the demographics of Palestinian-Arab population growth and that a peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors is in Israel’s national interest.

But even if I didn’t agree with him, I would never mock someone who sincerely is trying to help Israel. At least I have not heard anyone on the Loony Right accuse him of being a closet Muslim. By the way, that purported closet Muslim in the Oval Office has provided more modern weapons to Israel than any other U.S. president.

In that regard, I do appreciate the fact that The Jewish Press, despite its strong criticism of various aspects of President Obama’s polices, has never descended into the gutter of racism and conspiracy theories embraced by an embarrassingly large number of Orthodox Jews whose hatred of Obama defies reason.

Yisrael Lederer
(Via E-Mail)

Jerusalem Passport Law

Re: “U.S. Court KO’s Jerusalem Passport Law” (news brief, July 26):

I fail to understand why the State Department is so adamant about not allowing U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their place of birth. Even the Palestinians are only claiming Eastern Jerusalem for part of their state. Why then can’t at least those Americans born in Western Jerusalem list Israel as their birthplace?

Moreover, the Palestinians never controlled East Jerusalem. Jordan took control of East Jerusalem in 1948 but held it only for nineteen years, whereas Israel has controlled Eastern Jerusalem since 1967, much more than twice the time Jordan did. Yet people still seem to have a problem identifying Jerusalem with Israel.

Michael Selzer
Jerusalem

Releasing Terrorists

The decision of the Israeli Cabinet to release Arab terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands is immoral and an insult to the memories of their victims who were murdered in cold blood.

It is appalling as it opens the door for more terrorists to be released without any specific reciprocity and makes a complete farce of the Israeli judicial system and, inter alia, that of judicial process anywhere in the free world.

Originally the Jewish people provided the world with a set of moral and ethical guidelines that Jews adhered to for millennia. These have now been overthrown by outside pressure on Israel to capitulate. Is this the price Israel had to pay for a seat at the negotiating table? If it is, what did the PA/PLO have to pay for its ticket?

What is the point of having a judicial system or a military court for terrorists when the decisions reached are not upheld by the political leadership? What is the point of IDF soldiers risking their lives to go after terrorists when the latter will be released before due time?

It is time for Israel to adopt capital punishment for terrorists.

Sidney Levine
Hendon, England

Welcoming Signs

How refreshing to read Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt’s July 19 op-ed “On Orthodox Insularity.” Yes, we have indeed become insular – to the point, as Rabbi Rosenblatt writes, that non-Jews have no idea what our buildings represent.

One other point, relating specifically to Jews who walk by such buildings and what the Hebrew-only messages convey. For those without a yeshiva background or a knowledge of Hebrew, not being able to understand what the sign says is one more painful reminder of the education they missed and that they are somehow “different” from Jews who received a religious education. The message, perhaps unintended, is that the Jew who can’t read the sign is not really welcome, certainly not invited.

Thank God for OU and Young Israel shuls, and for Aish HaTorah, Chabad and other organizations that welcome all Jews, including those who lack “proper” backgrounds, with big English signs that make them feel welcome and invited.

Miriam Fishman
Los Angeles, CA

The Loss Of A Child

The July 19 issue carried a review of the recent book published by OU Press titled “To Mourn a Child.” The tragedy of losing a child at birth is one of those occasions that are most difficult to comprehend. This book deals directly with the ways of the Almighty from a traditional Jewish view.

As a member of the board of NechamaComfort.org, I would like to bring this organization, which is available to all families who need support at that sad time, to the attention of Jewish Press readers.

For further information, please contact its director, Reva Judas, at 201-724-4093.

Rabbi Simcha A. Green
(Via E-Mail)

A People Divided

Sheer Vitriol

I was crying as I read Steve Walz’s July 19 front-page news story on the divisiveness surrounding the selection of the chief rabbis of Israel.

I have no standing to take sides. The issue is the sheer vitriol. Have these great sages forgotten that Tisha B’Av just passed? Have they forgotten that it was precisely this kind of sinas chinam that caused the churban and that this very divisiveness postpones the advent of the Bayis Shlishi?

Our job as Jews is to serve HaKadosh Baruch Hu without ego. May we see the Redemption speedily in our day.

Menachem David
Long Beach, NY

Shame On Us

I fear for the Jewish people.

I fear that despite all the hatred hurled at us over the centuries, we do not learn.

The Beis HaMikdash, the holiest of holies, was destroyed twice and the Jewish people uprooted.

Not too long ago, six million of our people were systematically murdered.

Yet we do not learn from history, nor do we take any level of responsibility.

Hashem has clearly told us that sinat chinam among ourselves is the worst offense against Him.

We are spoiled. God has given us back our biblical homeland, yet we hurl rocks and epithets at each other.

Where is it said that one Jew or person is better or holier than another?

We should all be trembling with fear.

Why did we all just fast and mourn on Tisha B’Av? Why was Jerusalem destroyed? Because of the aforementioned sinat chinam, as well as lashon hara.

Hurling stones at soldiers who defend with their own lives our right to exist, yelling derogatory terms at others, and attacking those wearing knitted kippot would be unheard of if we really feared Hashem’s wrath and His disappointment in his people.

What is the point of learning Torah when so much that is done goes against every tenet in the Torah?

Amalek comes when we fail to honor and respect the law of Hashem, when we feel we can do and act as we please in the name of own sense of righteousness.

Are you not afraid?

We all should be.

Shame on us.

Estelle Lasher
(Via E-Mail)

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