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January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
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Letters To The Editor

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The PM And The Pope (I)

I was pleasantly surprised to see the front page news story last week about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s meeting in the Vatican with Pope Francis, complete with a picture of the event.

I was particularly taken with Mr. Netanyahu’ s decision to present the pope with a copy of the book written by Netanyahu’s father on the Spanish Inquisition.

Francis Levin
(Via E-Mail)

The PM And The Pope (II)

I trust the prime minister of Israel seized on his meeting with the pope to raise the Vatican’s continuing refusal to return looted Jewish artifacts. It is common knowledge that the Vatican has vast stores of these treasures in its possession. A failure to do so would be a signal to the pope that the leader of the Jewish state doesn’t care all that much about the issue.

Esther Feldman
Jerusalem

Human Failings

While reading Rabbi Naphtali Hoff’s gripping front page essay on the Hasmoneans (“A Tragic, Shameful End,” Dec. 6), I got the eerie sensation that alongside the inspiring Divine dimension that pervades Jewish history there are all too often parallel stories of unfortunate human failings – replete with intrigue, blood and gore – of which we should not be proud.

Kenneth Berger
(Via E-Mail)

Jews and The Temple Mount

I am not a rabbi and certainly no expert on Jewish law. However, I do know that the rabbinic prohibition on Jews visiting the Temple Mount will come back to haunt the Jewish people (“Chief Rabbis: “Temple Mount Off Limits for Jews,” news brief, Dec. 6).

The world will take such a ruling as signifying that Jews don’t consider it a part of their heritage.

Yoel Goldberg
(Via E-Mail)

Unnecessary Swipe

Steven Plaut’s tribute to Arik Einstein (“Fly Away Little Bird,” op-ed, Dec. 6) was moving and heartfelt, and as I was in Israel when Einstein died I can attest that his death did indeed touch many factions of Israeli society. From the coverage of the funeral to the non-stop playing of Einstein’s songs, you truly felt Israel had lost a national treasure.

What I am confused about is why, in paying tribute to Einstein, Professor Plaut felt the need to take a swipe at the iconic Israeli performer Yehoram Gaon. Comparing Gaon to Einstein is akin to comparing Bruce Springsteen to Frank Sinatra. One is a singer/songwriter whose strength is being able to express the feelings of the common man in song, the other is a consummate vocalist.

Obviously each performer has is legions of fans, but in an obituary-like tribute, mentioning another performer in a pejorative manner was unnecessary.

Marsha Greenberg Motzen
Englewood, NJ

Dismal Legacy

Many people wonder how the proposed treaty with Iran compares with Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” debacle at Munich.

The most striking similarity is self-evident: the perception of weakness and indecision on the part of those threatened by the aggressor. Hitler saw, quite clearly, the reluctance of the British and French to take action. Similarly, Iran’s leaders see an American president weakened by the fiasco of his signature health care project; a president growing more unpopular by the day.

To any impartial observer it is evident that Obama needs a victory, a major accomplishment, to bolster the glowing legacy he seeks. That’s normal for all presidents, but if the attainment of that legacy endangers the United States and Israel, the Obama legacy will be a dismal one indeed.

Myron Hecker
New City, NY

 

Disputes Rabbi Meiselman On Torah And Science

I am befuddled by Rabbi Moshe Meiselman’s insistence that the Talmudic sages were inerrant in matters of science (“New Book By Rabbi Meiselman on Torah, Chazal and Science” (Nov. 29).

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