July 17: Paying their way
The unstated implication is that those haredim who are weeded out must be prepared for life outside the rabbinate.
Paying their way
Sir, – Regarding “Universal service vote delayed by a week”
(July 15) on the issue of haredim and the draft, I am reminded of a Jewish
saying I have heard: “One thousand are taught the aleph-bet; of these, 100 go on
to learn Torah; of these, 10 study Gemara; one only is ordained a
The unstated implication is that those haredim who are weeded out
must be prepared for life outside the rabbinate.
This is not to say they
must be refused the opportunity for full Jewish studies, only that these must be
paid for by the candidates, as is the case for all university students who fail
to qualify for scholarships or stipends.
Sir, – Regarding “Merkel tells Jews, Muslims they will be free to
circumcise” (July 15), it has always astounded me that Jews have chosen to live
in Germany in the post-Holocaust era. There are six million reasons why not
It appears that recent rulings regarding circumcision in that country
have just added another.
Perhaps six million reasons were simply not
Sir, – With regard to “Israel working
on new incentives package for PA” (July 15), in the past Israel has adopted
concessions suggested by the US and the Arabs eagerly accepted them, with no
concessions on their part.
I would hope that with the memory of the late
Yitzhak Shamir still fresh in our memory, Prime Minister Netanyahu will draw the
courage, resolution and strength to first demand a major concession from the
Americans: Release Jonathan Pollard before passing on any more concessions to
Take it and run
Sir, – I’m a big
fan of Woody Allen’s movies, especially the older stuff like Bananas and Take
the Money and Run. But having him make a movie in Israel cannot be good for the
Jews (“Is it time for Woody Allen to make a movie in Israel?,” Arts &
Entertainment, July 15).
Allen is obviously a self-hating Jew with more
neuroses than Dr.
Freud ever dreamed of. That $18 million could be put to
so many better uses in Israel than financing what would certainly be an
Sir, – Is it time for
Woody Allen to make a movie in Israel? Maybe – but it ain’t going to happen.
Why? Because it would be too politically nuanced for Allen, whose convincing
caricature of the typical Jewish nebbish in his entire repertoire of films
expressly reflects contemptuous disdain for his brethren.
This disdain is
further enhanced by the fact that this talented filmmaker has never visited
Israel nor evidently even come close to contemplating such a trip.
Sir, – Danny Danon loves to throw around
the words of the Eritrean ambassador to Israel when it comes to his attempt to
expel all migrants from the country (“Arsonists target African migrants’ J’lem
apartment,” July 13).
Tesfamariam Tekeste said in May that there was no
danger in Eritrea and that migrants could return without fear of
That was a nice, reassuring message, but how much stock would
we put in a similar statement from, say, Bashar Assad? I understand the resolve
of some people to deal with the growing issue of African migrants, but Israel
should never forget that most of its own citizens were once refugees,
Casually throwing people out of the country should not be an easy
Sir, – Nefesh B’Nefesh
celebrated its 10th anniversary with the admission that it failed to
substantially increase aliya from North America (“Nefesh B’Nefesh looks back at
decade of work and the road ahead,” July 13).
With all its good
intentions, what went wrong? It was unsuccessful because it refused to deal with
the main roadblock to increased Western aliya: jobs, jobs and jobs.
truth of the matter is that there are few real jobs for most potential olim from
These immigrants do not compete well for existing jobs
because more-established Israelis know the language better and have personal
connections. So, the only solution is the creation of new jobs for the specific
needs of Western olim.
I am not suggesting a massive government make-work
I am calling for the challenge to be given to Jewish communities
abroad. Diaspora investors can set up technological incubators in Israel for
promising start-ups from their communities.
Industrial parks can allow
Diaspora business people to move some of their own firms’ activities to Israel.
Professionals can establish Israeli branches of their North American law,
accounting and engineering offices. Physicians can set up specialized clinics
for problems in such areas as pain relief and geriatric care.
American Zionists can use their entrepreneurial abilities to develop facilities
for their own communities, and by doing so allow them to partake in the
adventure of building the Jewish country. They can develop educational
facilities here for Jewish-oriented programs for their children.
Jewish community centers can establish sports fields for their members to use
for exercising while in Israel. Art colonies and music groups can be established
for those who are artistic. Let the land overflow with North
American-facilitated bicycle clubs, horse-riding groups and swimming
The dream of large-scale aliya can be achieved if Nefesh
B’Nefesh works toward job creation in partnership with Diaspora communities and
with the active support of the Jewish Agency and government
Sir, – As a Canadian who made aliya back in
1976, Nefesh B’Nefesh was not around and I had to make my own decisions on where
I was going and what I was going to do. Looking back, I made the right
decisions, raising a family, working, etc.
Nefesh B’Nefesh is an
inspiration for all like-minded Western Jews who decide, based on the heart and
not necessarily on the head, to make such an important decision.
heart makes the strongest choice for aliya. It worked for me.
Sir, – Bravo, Greer Fay Cashman! Her
column “Time to stop bad-mouthing haredim and to open a dialogue” (Comment &
Features, July 11) was wonderful.
She said exactly what I think but
expressed it so very well.
I wish everyone could read it.
would learn something.
Annoy the IOC
Sir, – Now
that the Olympic Games are nearly upon us and the International Olympic
Committee has again said no to a moment of silence in memory of the 11 Israel
athletes slain at the 1972 Munich Games, the Israeli delegation needs to be
proactive and remember its murdered comrades.
I suggest that the Israeli
flag used at the opening ceremony be embossed in one corner with 11 subtle Stars
of David. In addition, or alternatively, every Israeli participant should have
11 small Stars of David embossed on his or her hat.
I have no doubt that
this will annoy or even outrage the IOC, but so what! This is an act of
remembrance and we need to honor Israel’s murdered athletes.