(photo credit: REUTERS)
I find it amazing that the new settlement being built is named Amichai (“Work begins on Amichai, first new settlement in 20 years,” June 21).
My children live in Ma’aleh Levona, which overlooks the area. My grandson, who was a paratrooper, went to India on his post-army trip and was murdered there. His name was Amichai.
I find it amazing that he is coming back by being the first new settlement to be built in two decades, and right under his house.
May we continue to build and have only good things going on.MADALYN SCHAEFFER
Jerusalem Ancient gestures
“For better or worse, Israelis and Palestinians are going to have to learn to share the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea.” These are your words in “Kalkilya’s reality” (Editorial, June 20), and they indicate a relationship in perpetuity.
Are we speaking here of antagonists who are somehow in an ethically symmetrical relationship that we should embark on a partnership of learning? It sounds very much like suicide, not learning. In fact, what do we as Jews have to be taught about tolerance, about acceptance of strangers (if they accept our claims to nationhood in our land), about an non-bloodthirsty way of living? Forgive me if I forgo such a learning process with a people whose religious principles forbid that Jews have an independent state in the Jewish homeland, who preach and indoctrinate the concept that it is morally justified to kill Jews, and even praiseworthy.
The position we must begin with is self-respect, not ancient gestures of servility.PAUL RABOFF
Jerusalem Views of wisdom
Elazar Stern (“Separating religion and state,” Observations, June 16) possesses a wisdom that seems to go beyond that of Solomon, king of Israel. Precisely what Solomon declines to do, to cut the baby in half, Stern goes ahead and does.
He presumes to separate Judaism from Halacha. He claims to do so in the name of preserving the Jewish nature of the only Jewish state in the world. He would leave us bereft as a state from the boundary of the Code of Jewish Law. In its place, we would have something he calls the culture and traditions of Judaism.
From where exactly does he think these practices come? Clearly, they come from Halacha.
The early Zionists, David Ben-Gurion particularly, recognized clearly who and what defined Judaism; belief was another matter.
When the founders of the state and secular Israeli Jews in general looked for Judaism, it was to halachic Judaism they turned.
May the Creator of Israel protect the Jewish people and the Jewish nation from Elazar Stern’s wisdom.
JOANNE JACKSON YELENIK
With regard to the comments by reader Samuel Dershowitz (“Stern on separation,” Letters, June 20), my grandparents left central Europe in 1938 and, arriving in Rio de Janeiro, helped found a liberal congregation, now the biggest congregation in Rio, affiliated with the Reform movement.
My three daughters are all active in their respective Conservative congregations in Israel. So there you have it: at least four generations of non-Orthodox Jews. (I have high hopes for my granddaughters, but they are still toddlers). This, while too many of my Orthodox friends here have offspring who have left religion completely.
As for the Pew Report, as any fair observer of Jewish life in the Diaspora would argue, non-Orthodox congregations there include more than one population: a core of committed and serious (and religious!) members, and a large second circle for whom this is their only (even if tenuous) connection to Judaism. If these congregations did not exist, the latter group would not have gone Orthodox; it would have left years ago.
For the Jewish people, assimilation is the great threat of our generation.
Let’s try not to score points by playing this card against each other.HUGO GOTTLIEB