Slow is better
Sir, – During the heyday of speed-reading, Woody Allen lambasted
the fad by asking if anyone would want to speed-watch a ballet or speed-listen to
a Beethoven symphony.
What is true for ordinary literature is true a
thousand-fold for Talmud (“A window into the Jewish soul,” July 30), and one can
only pity those 300,000 men who religiously attended the daily 60-minute
speed-davening of Talmud known as Daf Yomi simply because it was the thing to
The Dirshu organization is to be commended for recognizing the
futility of the Daf Yomi program for most people, who can’t possibly retain even
a thimbleful of what they “learned.” In my kollel, consisting of highly
intelligent men, we have completed only five dapim of Baba Kama over the course
of an entire year – devoting five mornings a week to its study.
barely scratched the surface of the text’s meaning and nuances.
means let every Jewish man spend an hour a day immersed in Talmud. But there is
no need to turn Gemara into a race against time. To do so disrespects the text
and defrauds the learner.
A line a day is challenging enough. Or to
borrow some Chinese wisdom, it’s the journey that matters, not the
Jerusalem F for Dershowitz
Sir, – In the articles
on the same page written by MK Danny Danon (“Mitt Romney: A true friend of
Israel,” Comment & Features, July 30) and Alan Dershowitz (“No ‘buyer’s
remorse’ for voting for Obama”), it is Danon who gets it right.
President Barack Obama is a true friend only of the Palestinians, and the reason
he is so magnanimous with his so-called support for Israel is because it is in
the interest of the US. Why? Because we provide the Americans with important
intelligence, test their advanced weaponry in real wars, and are the only
democratic nation in the Middle East they can rely on.
Why does Obama
support the Palestinians and pressure Israel to make concessions? Why does he
pressure Israel to stop building in Judea and Samaria but turn a blind eye to
illegal Arab building there and in east Jerusalem? For the same reason he bowed
down to the Saudi Arabian king.
It’s about time that liberals like
Dershowitz wake up and realize that the Arabs want only one thing, and that is
to push the Jews of Israel into the sea. When he comes to live in Israel he will
have the right to criticize us.CHAIM GINSBERG
Strange that Prof. Dershowitz has suffered no buyer’s remorse when it is
painfully clear that he has purchased a lemon.
Even though he has every
right to cling to the Jewish love affair with liberalism, many of us believe
that the presidential election should include a referendum on the candidate’s
support for Israel. And on this, no matter how Obama wants to reinvent himself
for the campaign, his world view is sorely slanted away from
Having listened to Obama and watched his actions over his first
term, I ,too, believe him – which is precisely why I do not trust him. For
someone who deserves the greatest respect for his tireless efforts in defense of
Israel, Dershowitz needs to reexamine his love affair with the Democratic
I, too, heard Obama’s pledge to “have Israel’s back,” but based on
his actions thus far my concern is that this is where he’ll stick the
Sir, – Alan Dershowitz very
conveniently forgets that following the US veto of the UN resolution on
settlements, Ambassador Susan Rice delivered a scorching diatribe condemning
Israel and its settlement policy.
But that wouldn’t fit his paean to
Sir, – Alan Dershowitz proves once again
that old liberals never die – they just reinvent themselves! His praise of US
President Barack Obama’s “accomplishments” shows the same myopic thinking that
led him to support the rights of American Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois,
only a few decades after the unspeakable Holocaust.SHIFRA HOFFMAN
Sir, – Alan Dershowitz overlooks one central issue relating to US
President Barack Obama. This concerns Jonathan Pollard, toward whom Obama lacks
any humanitarian concern despite the plethora of requests for his
Moreover, Dershowitz does not consider the growing perception of
an anti-Semitic bias against Pollard by Obama.
But more incredulously so,
Dershowitz, an alleged legal scholar, also chooses to neglect the fact that
Pollard was denied basic due process during his judicial
Thus, it would behoove Dershowitz to do some
self-introspection vis-a-vis his enamored state with Obama.IRVING.
Quit whining Sir, – People should quit whining about
Jonathan Pollard. He was a spy and was given a fair trial. He was lucky not to
have been executed.
Pollard violated his oath. The fact that he was
committing espionage for a “friendly power” is no excuse. He was prosecuted for
his actions, not for his religion or political sympathies.BOB ECKSTEIN
Cincinnati, Ohio Top protection
Sir, – Although I am not an expert, I wish to
take issue with Boaz Ganor that “the State of Israel cannot and should not
provide security for even some of its nationals when they are overseas”
(“Questions and lessons from the Burgas bus attack,” Comment & Features,
It is in Israel’s interest to protect Israelis and Jews. It is
in Israel’s heart and basic belief to protect Israelis and Jews.
security forces in other nations will protect Israelis and Jews very well, but
the innate basis for this just isn’t there. Part of the raison d’etre of a
Jewish state is to provide a safe haven for Jews and to be there for Jews who
are in peril (think of the heroic and miraculous rescue at Entebbe).
for one, would like to see Israel involved in security for Israelis and Jews the
No one does it better – except, of course, for
It’s in the Bible Sir, – Regarding “Cruel
cut” (Letters, July 30), reader Alexander Bar-Elan asks: “So who gave the right
to man to mutilate what God created?” Apparently, he is unfamiliar with the Old
Testament, in particular the covenant between God and Abraham. Genesis 17:10-12
says: “This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed
after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised.
And ye shall be
circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant
between me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among
In addition, Bar-Elan’s statement, that a person can be “just as
devout or Jewish” with or without a foreskin, is absolutely absurd. Genesis
17:14: “And the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his
foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my
Look who’s talking Sir, – It was a
little funny to read the disingenuousness in “Obama campaign slams Romney’s
policies ahead of his arrival in Israel” (July 27).
It was disingenuous
because as a one-term senator and candidate for president, Obama had no more
foreign policy experience than Romney does. And funny, because after nearly four
years it’s a strain to think of one area of foreign policy in which Obama can
claim any significant success.