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June 22: It’s in the learning
By JERUSALEM POST READERS
06/21/2012
Jews did learn accountancy and literature, as well as math and medicine. It was this education that financed their continued learning. Many Torah scholars were people with some kind of skill that earned money.
 
It’s in the learning

Sir, – Your editorial, “Diaspora continuity” (June 20), makes some interesting points. You remind us that Orthodox rules, regulations and traditions kept the Jews united and that there is a connection among the Jews of Casablanca, California and Calcutta.

In a news article in the same issue (“Knesset education committee head: Haredi schools need to meet minimum education standards”), one person claims that what kept the Jews “Jewish” was “yeshiva education” and not the study of “accountancy and literature.”

All of this is misleading.

Jews did learn accountancy and literature, as well as math and medicine. It was this education that financed their continued learning. Many Torah scholars were people with some kind of skill that earned money.

Jews were not allowed to own land, and even when we did we had to give it up when we were expelled.

Knowledge, as accountancy and medicine, could be carried out of one country and into another.

AHARON GOLDBERG
Hatzor Haglilit

Recognition

Sir, – Regarding “What does the Orthodox rabbinate have to do to receive recognition?” (Comment & Features, June 20) by Shalom Hammer, the rabbinate has to reinvent itself. It has to join the 21st century and, most important, it has to achieve ethical standards as pointed out in halachic sources.

It cannot continue to view the secular populace as “the enemy” and continue to abusively exploit it at every opportunity.

It has to deal with people turning to it for legislated life-cycle services.

Failure to do so will certainly lead to a loss of the little influence it still has in Israeli life and open wide the doors to streams of Jewish practice that are illegitimate in terms of Halacha, thus causing a serious split in the Jewish nation.

HAIM M. LERNER
Ganei Tikva

Encountering fallacy

Sir, – Gershon Baskin (“Unity, disunity and peace,” Encountering Peace, June 19) perpetuates the fallacy that we are occupiers and that Israel is “carrying out government decisions to take more of their [the Palestinians’] land.”

Since the decisions taken at San Remo have not been superseded or abrogated, settlements anywhere in the Land of Israel cannot be illegal, nor are Judea and Samaria occupied territory.

Just because Johnnycome- lately Arab states refuse to accept the Jewish state and claim the land belongs to them does not make it so.

ELLA BERKOVITS
Haifa

Sir, – Gershon Baskin asserts: “The actions of the Israeli government... clearly signal to the Palestinians that Israel is not ready to talk real peace.” What, then, was the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza? And why did Prime Minister Netanyahu freeze settlements for 10 months? Baskin complains that the Palestinians are literally losing ground because the world has failed to impose a compromise on Israel.

But a leadership truly dedicated to establishing a country for its people would rush to negotiate under such circumstances rather than continue to make maximalist demands as their bargaining position deteriorates.

Baskin argues that “the PA does not have the resources to offer them alternative employment and salaries to support their families.” The Palestinian people receive among the highest per capita assistance of any population in the world. Most of it ($4 billion from 2009-11) comes from the West, while support from Arab nations has steadily declined. But much of it disappears, with no positive impact on the people the aid was meant to benefit.

The unhappy situation in which the Palestinians now find themselves is primarily of their own making and exacerbated by their leaders’ corruption and adamant refusal to come to the bargaining table.

EFRAIM A. COHEN
Zichron Ya’acov
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