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Sir, - Liviu Librescu, professor of engineering science and mechanics at Virginia Tech, where he saved his students from the mad gunman who sought to slaughter them, is an American hero. His barricading the classroom door as the killer advanced gave students time to escape through the windows. Most of us can only dream of showing such bravery in our darkest moments.
A few years ago I asked my state government to change the name of a local highway tunnel to "Heroes Tunnel" in honor of our brave first responders in the new (to the US, anyway) war on terror. Through their incredible courage, such people show us that there is "light at the end of the tunnel," that life will go on and we all need to do our part.
From now on I will include Mr. Librescu in my thoughts and prayers when I drive through the Heroes Tunnel ("Israeli professor who died a hero to be buried in Ra'anana today," April 19).
Sir, - Re the 300 Jewish children saved by Andree Guelen-Merscovici, I suggest that the families who accepted these little ones are equally heroic, maybe even more. To take a strange child into your family, one who has been separated from his or her parents, is extraordinary. How about giving these 300 gentile families special thanks, perhaps a trip to Israel, with or without a Righteous Gentile ceremony?
As for locating the children's real families, there was at the time a Jewish organization which did exactly that. It also deserves a big thank you ("Belgian 'Righteous Gentile' to receive honorary citizenship," April 22).
Help me find this 'boy'
Sir, - My uncle in the US, Jaap Groot, 80, has only three months to a year to live, according to his doctors.
In 1942, my grandparents in Andijk, Holland, hid a young Jewish boy of around 12. He had escaped from the Westerbork transit camp and was known only as "Ceesie." After a year he moved to another address and finally went to England. His older brother and sister escaped from the Netherlands just in time.
My uncle has one wish before he dies: to know whether "Ceesie" is still alive, and if he is, to meet him. Ceesie's father, Jakob Snijders, worked in Haarlem with the provincial governor in the Noord-Holland Province. Up to 1942 they lived in Haarlem, Schouwtjeslaan, 53 zwart.
I can supply more details about Ceesie's own immediate family. Please, would any readers who have any information email [email protected]
Nope, not serious
Sir, - Jonathan Schorsch protests too much in "Why many Jews might feel the Orthodox do hate them" (April 19). The Orthodox don't hate the Conservative and Reform - we just think they are silly.
By most standards, I am not a model Orthodox Jew. I pick and choose, act secular, sleep in on Shabbat, etc. While I am comfortable with the way I am, I would dread it if I became the model for Jewish practice.
Bastardized forms of Judaism have adapted a gutted practice and pass it off as authentic. You travel on the Sabbath, and that's OK. You eat pork, and that's OK. You condone intermarriage, and that's also OK. In fact, just about anything is OK. Rabbis don't lead or teach; they take orders from congregants and twist and bend to please the majority. And then they tell authentic Jews that they are equal, and want to be taken seriously.
Sorry, Mr. Schorsch, no can do.
'He-who' for Edward VII
Sir, - Here is "the cherished 'He-who' supplication" of the Singer's Authorised Daily Prayer Book, as printed in a 1908 edition in my possession, with punctuation and capitals as they appear:
"He who giveth salvation unto kings and dominion unto princes, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, who delivered his servant David from the hurtful sword, who maketh a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters, - may he bless, guard, protect, and help, exalt, magnify, and highly aggrandize our Sovereign Lord, King EDWARD, our gracious Queen ALEXANDRA, GEORGE Prince of WALES, the Princess of WALES, and all the ROYAL FAMILY.
"May the supreme King of kings in his mercy preserve the King in life, guard him and deliver him from all trouble, sorrow, and hurt. May he make his enemies fall before him; and in whatsoever he undertaketh may he prosper..." The rest is the same as today.
Interestingly, a 1956 Singer's given to me on my seventh birthday by my grandparents doesn't include the Prayer for the State of Israel ("Prayer books and resurrection," Elliot Jager, April 18).
Sir, - Toward the end of his op-ed Elliot Jager mentions the "Rinat Yisrael (Hebrew only)." I have seen this siddur with an English translation, Ashkenazi version. I also don't know what is "funny" about a Jewish prayer book not having a prayer composed by a Protestant theologian.
Not so funny
Sir, - "Stand-up comedy: Still an old boys' club?" (April 10) featured women comedians from past to present. The list was long, but - much to my surprise - you left out the first and probably most important one: Jean Carroll.
Ms. Carroll had her own TV show in 1953. She also starred on The Ed Sullivan Show, having her own segment in the show. She was an inspiration to many comedians who followed her, and to women in general. She is also my great-aunt.