May 4: No disease
We can say that Norman’s genetic predisposition combined with all the separations and losses he suffered, and his presumable lack of a support system, led to his suicide.
Sir, – By calling severe clinical depression a “genetic disease that
Herzl inherited from his grandparents” and using this as the reason for the
heroin addiction and suicides in his family, “On Herzl’s birthday, grandson
honored for first time” (May 2) does a disservice to all those who have
depression in their family.
I can understand the motivation of Jerry
Klinger to get Herzl’s grandson buried, but to say that Stephen Theodore Norman
committed suicide because of a “disease” is to scare everyone who carries a
genetic disposition to depression.
Norman’s mother reportedly was
committed to a sanatorium in his infancy.
He fought in the British army,
suffered major disappointments and the heroin death of his aunt and suicide of
his uncle, and then learned that the rest of his family had been killed in the
Holocaust. Add to this the fact that having a family member who commits suicide
greatly increases the odds of further suicide.
We can say that Norman’s
genetic predisposition combined with all the separations and losses he suffered,
and his presumable lack of a support system, led to his
CHARLOTTE SLOPAK GOLLER
The writer is a clinical
Sir, – Bruce Acks (“Discovering the Palestinian
territories,” Comment & Features, May 2) states that it is illegal for
Israelis to visit Ramallah. The reason is because it it life-threatening to enter
those areas. Even today it is considered a miracle if a Jew accidentally drives
into a Palestinian town and is unharmed.
It does not seem like the
Palestinians are eager to have us tour their areas. In the last number of years,
the army has allowed Jews to go to Joseph’s Tomb only once a month, very late at
night, and only for a few minutes. The reason is in order not to provoke the
Rachel’s tomb near Bethlehem is now unrecognizable amid the tons
of cement that surround it.
There is a reason for all the cement:
Palestinians were shooting at people who came to pray there. Jews are constantly
stoned and harassed even in consensus areas such as Jerusalem’s Mount of
I am sure Acks would not have been as welcome there had he been
walking around in a kippa or had his hosts known he was Jewish.
Sir, – Bruce Acks describes the wonders and warmth of
Palestinian culture by visiting Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem, etc. After all, as
he correctly notes, why travel as far as Meron when you can more easily visit
Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus? He ascribes this behavior to an irrational
It is quite clear that Acks never heard of Police
Mahdat Yosef, who bled to death defending Joseph’s Tomb in October
2000. Nor has he heard of the shooting and murder of Ben Yosef Livnat, who was
trying to visit the tomb in April of last year.
Rabbi Acks, who lives in
Brooklyn, believes that we could all get along were it not for our leaders. He
should explain why the noted writer Yosef Chaim Brenner was murdered almost
exactly 91 years ago in a Muslim-instigated pogrom in Jaffa. After all, there
were no settlements and no security barriers in those days, and the Arabs were
just as friendly.
God for Godless
With regard to “Falling out of love with ‘Hatikva’” (Terra Incognita, May 2),
one wonders if it has ever been suggested that the British change their national
anthem. The word God appears no fewer than three times in an anthem that has
only seven lines, and yet, according to the latest research, the United Kingdom
has the largest number of professed atheists in the European Union!