Sir, – Regarding Shimon Glick’s “The indefensible attack on circumcision” (Comment & Features, January 28), in which he extols the benefits of this ancient practice, I have seen several articles urging parents not to do this to a helpless baby, but to wait until the child reaches an age when he can decide for himself.
I wish to say that any older male who is convinced by Glick’s piece (or any school boy who just wants to look like his friends) and decides that he does want to be circumcised will have one regret: that his parents didn’t take care of the matter when he was eight days old.
Sir, – I would like to tell Victor S. Schonfeld (“Circumcision – defending the indefensible” (Comment & Features, January 23) about my experiences with my six sons’ britot (ritual circumcision ceremonies).
They were done by a mohel, a man specially trained to do a circumcision, including how to deal with the pain. They were not done by a doctor, although a doctor can be trained as a mohel. And it did take just a few seconds, if that long. I was instructed each time by the mohel how to take care of the area, and the mohel came the next day to check on the healing process. Of course, one does have to check that the mohel is reliable and properly trained.
The ceremonies were mostly done on time, at eight-days old, when the Torah ordained they should be done, unless in case of jaundice or illness. At eight days the baby has recovered from the process of being born and can handle the procedure. God knew what he was commanding – he created our miraculous bodies.
We Jews consider circumcision a completion of the creation of the child, not a betrayal. We do it not for health reasons – although those are reported a lot – and certainly not because we want to cause pain to our child. We do it because it is what Jews are commanded to do. For millennia this has been the way boys are initiated into the tribe; from the times of Abraham, the patriarch (who underwent ritual circumcision at age 99!), and Isaac, who was the first to have it at eight-days old, Jews have proudly worn this badge of honor.
Their physical integrity is not ruined, rather enhanced. The Greeks did not understand this and banned circumcision, yet we prevailed.
I suggest that Mr. Schonfeld research the true Jewish point of view before continuing to rant about this “brutal anachronism.”
BATYA BERLINGER J
Sir, – Regarding “The idea of Jewish settlements under Palestinian rule is ‘dangerous,’ says Bennett” (January 27), Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett and others cannot have it both ways.
One of the arguments against a Palestinian state is that PA President Mahmoud Abbas wants it judenrein, with no Israeli Jews allowed to live there. So why are they against Jews living under Palestinian rule if all are willing to do so? RUTH SCHUELER Jerusalem Better, not worse Sir, – Susan Hattis Rolef (“Anti-Semitism and the boycott of Israel,” Think About It, January 27) contributes to the vilification of Israel when she asserts that Israel’s existence has affected the lives of Palestinian Arabs “unquestionably mostly for the worse.” This is a canard that demands refutation.
Anyone who remembers the way the Arabs of east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria lived until Israel took over – what they looked like, their rampant illiteracy, their unspeakable standards of public sanitation, their poor health and life expectancy, their nearly non-existent academic and professional aspirations – knows that under Israeli “occupation” they have benefited and thrived beyond their wildest dreams.
Today, the quality of life for all but those who are forced by their own malignant authorities to remain in refugee camps is pretty much on a par with that of Israelis.
Jerusalem Something to teach
Sir, – Yariv Oppenheimer thinks an education day in Israeli schools on Gush Katif is too politicized (“Peace Now director calls on Piron to abolish Gush Katif education day,” January 24).
I am appalled by the narrowness of vision of Peace Now.
Gush Katif is not political. Peace Now is. Gush Katif teaches the greatest of moral lessons. It teaches that a despot can summarily expel 10,000 people.
These people were Jews. The despot who did this to them was Jewish. He did it for no rhyme or reason, just as a personal whim.
The people of Israel allowed this to happen. No provision was made for these refugees.
There could have been a civil war, but the people would not do this to the nation.
Those who lived in Gush Katif did not go there randomly.
The governments of Israel, many of them Labor governments, told them to go and settle there.
Is the Land of Israel safer now? Has the sacrifice of these people made the nation bigger, better or more moral? Are we stronger in love and compassion for one another? These are the lessons we must learn from Gush Katif.TOBY WILLIG
Leave the kids alone
Sir, – In “MKs slam Netanyahu over his son dating a non-Jewish Norwegian woman” (January 27), people are quoted as saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should have set an example for the Jewish people by preventing his son from dating this woman. Don’t these people know that one can give advice to one’s adult children as to what to do, and then they go off and do what they deem is right for them, especially if there is love involved? When I came to Israel in 1952, determined to marry the love of my life, I converted to Judaism and chose Ruth as my new name. The rabbis said it was appropriate and hoped I would follow in the footsteps of Ruth the Moabite, which I think I have. The Jewish People is my people, and I will continue to live in Israel all the days of my life. Surely, I will be buried here.
My contribution to my beloved country of adoption was in my profession as a teacher of classical ballet. I helped bring the Royal Academy of Dancing (London) to Israel and organized the first exams in 1967, with 200 candidates.
Today there are thousands of dance students all over the country taking the RAD exams.
About young Netanyahu, he is all of 23. He is only dating the girl, not marrying her. I suggest we all mind our own business and let them make their own decisions. I ask the press not to hound them, which would make their young lives utterly miserable.
Lastly, the prime minister is not to blame for anything.
Kfar Shmaryahu One less word...
Sir, – With regard to “Himmler love letters to wife surface – in Tel Aviv” (January 26), how can the word “love” even be associated with Heinrich Himmler’s name? Please have someone quickly put those letters back into the vault and throw away the key! CHAYA HEUMAN Ginot Shomron ...and one more Sir, – Your latest Dry Bones cartoon (Observations, January 24) correctly concludes that the reason for the continued imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard is because he is a Jew.
I would add just one word to Yaakov Kirschen’s tactful and scholarly cartoon, and that word would be “Israeli.” It is because he is an Israeli Jew. Don’t shortchange President Obama.LEONARD KAHN