Academic Wilderness (I)
In “Wandering in the Academic Wilderness” (front-page essay, March 28), I wrote: “The [Wellesley] College president, evidently terrified of confronting [Tony] Martin, ignored his rants; said nothing about his teaching of scurrilous lies about the role of Jews in the slave trade; and responded with an impassioned plea for polite manners. That Martin was teaching anti-Semitic fabrication as historical fact did not seem to concern her.”
A reader brought to my attention an article in the Harvard Crimson (2/19/94) quoting from a letter from Wellesley President Walsh to alums, parents and “friends” of the college. In it she did criticize Martin’s book The Jewish Onslaught because “it gratuitously attacks individuals and groups at Wellesley College, through innuendo and the application of racial and religious stereotypes.”
My focus was on her internal response at the college. Her letter did not mention Jews or anti-Semitism.
Jerold S. Auerbach
Professor Emeritus of History
Academic Wilderness (II)
Jerold Auerbach’s front-page essay was outstanding, describing painfully and accurately the now legitimized and institutionalized anti-Semitism posing as “anti-Israel” opinion on many college campuses.
Rabbi Pruzansky’s Exchange (I)
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky’s scathing March 28 op-ed article, “My Exchange with an Old Haredi Friend,” should be posted in every shul and yeshiva.
Whereas most Israelis work, pay taxes and serve in the military, a large number of haredim apparently believe that any meaningful labor or national service outside of the study hall is beneath them.
As Rabbi Pruzansky eloquently stated, that ship has sailed. Haredim will need to join with non-haredim and carry their own weight in the future.
Staten Island, NY
Rabbi Pruzansky’s Exchange (II)
I have never been able to put much stock in the argument that those who learn Torah full time in Eretz Yisrael are somehow just as important – if not more so – to the security of Israel as are the soldiers on the front lines.
Do people who make that argument really believe that if there were no IDF in the picture that somehow the young men who sit in yeshiva would be able to repel an Arab attack on the strength of their learning alone?
What happened in Europe during the Holocaust? I know of no incident where Nazi troops or SS thugs overran a yeshiva or beis medrash and, seeing young men engaged in intensive Torah study, ran the other way in fear of the Jew.
I also don’t recall reading anywhere that Moshe or Yehoshua or Dovid HaMelech instructed the Jews to defeat their enemies by sitting and learning Torah. Dovid didn’t kill Goliath by sitting in the study hall; the Maccabees didn’t liberate the Beis HaMikdash by memorizing a few more mishnayos.
I really don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but those are the scenarios that come to mind when I hear people claim that their contributions to Israel’s security as Torah “scholars” somehow trump the self-sacrifice and physical valor of all the young Israelis who wear the uniform of the IDF.
It’s clear from the Torah that there’s a time to sit and learn and a time to take up arms and defend the nation.
The Times And Obama
Re “The Times Rushes to the President’s Rescue” (editorial, March 28):
In its unseemly determination to “rescue” the president from the palpable consequences of his administration’s actions, The New York Times has effectively forfeited any claim that it provides its readers with an impartial and accurate version of the news.