A letter to the editor in last week’s issue mistakenly cited One Israel Fund as one of the pro-boycott groups that have been permitted to march in next month’s Celebrate Israel Parade. The letter should have read New Israel Fund, an entirely different group, of course. One Israel Fund is dedicated to supporting the welfare and safety of the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria as well as Jews who were adversely affected by the 2005 Gaza expulsion. We regret the error.
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Kerry’s ‘Apartheid’ Remark
Secretary of State John Kerry’s “not for publication” comment behind closed doors, warning Israel it risked being labeled an apartheid state, is certainly not in the best interests of either Israel or the U.S. (“Lawmakers Rip Kerry Over ‘Apartheid’ Remark,” news story, May 2).
In the face of criticism for the remark, Kerry predictably fell back on his self-proclaimed “lifetime commitment to Israel’s security.” True or not, it rings hollow in the face of his atrocious comment, which only encouraged anti-Semites, BDS proponents, and Arab leaders.
New City, NY
Thumbs Up To Rabbi Wein
As a history instructor, I found Rabbi Berel Wein’s May 2 op-ed “Why Many Orthodox Jews Can’t Face Up to History” to be a breath of fresh air highlighting a growing divide in Orthodox education. Some of us were taught to regard our sages as humans capable of making mistakes but still deserving of our respect, while others are taught that our sages are perfect in everything they do, incapable of making errors.
I remember attending a Kuf Alef Kislev commemoration in Williamsburg last December that celebrated the liberation of Satmar Rebbe Yoel Teitelbaum, zt”l, from the Bergen-Belsen death camp. Plenty of words were spoken and songs sung about the miraculous rescue and escape, but nothing was said about Rudolf Kastner, the secular Zionist who arranged the rescue.
I felt dismay at the apparent lack of hakarat hatov and revision of history I witnessed that evening. If certain sectors of Orthodoxy could not accept the reality of the Holocaust and Zionism l’hatchila – when they were happening – could they at least reconcile themselves to them bedieved – after the fact?
Fresh Meadows, NY
Thumbs Down To Rabbi Wein
A historian should record facts of history and not resort to sweeping, judgmental statements. And a Torah-observant historian should convey history with an authentic Torah hashkafa rather than the secular mindset reflected in Rabbi Wein’s article.
In the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s letter to a Jewish historian, the Rebbe points to the need for an authentic Jewish history to be written and emphasizes that “it should reflect Jewish history’s essential aspect, namely that it is quite different from the history of other peoples.” He explains this at great length, making the point that our history needs to be viewed through the eyes of Torah.
As Torah Jews, we choose to focus on the good, the miraculous, the strong faith and convictions of the Jewish people, and the Hand of God in every detail of our history.
Our way is not to keep a chair empty at our Seder table on Pesach to remember the Six Million but rather to fill this chair with a Jew who would have otherwise not been at a Seder. This is how we choose to remember and to give meaning and everlasting existence to the Six Million.
It comes down to this: Do we look at Jewish history through the secular lens or through the Torah lens, which highlights the essence of our unique story, the “idyllic fantasy,” in Rabbi Wein’s words? Do we emphasize the body or the soul?