Speck of dirt
Sir, – Every day brings a new story about rabbinic comings, goings
and goings-on (“Dark days for the Chief Rabbinate,” Analysis, June 24 and
“Police question Metzger in bribery, money-laundering probe,” June 21).
don’t know if there is some sort of beat-up taking place, nor whether the
stories have an element of invention and distortion.
But one thing is
clear: in the light of the Talmudic dictum that a talmid haham, a wise scholar,
should not have a speck of dirt on his garment, all of us rabbis have to keep
our noses clean and give nobody the slightest grounds for accusing us of
Every rabbi should be bound by a code of
professional ethics, the formulation of which every rosh yeshiva, seminary head
and rabbinic organization should be involved in.RAYMOND APPLE
The writer is the emeritus rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Sydney, Australia
Sir, – 55 years after my aliya, I am experiencing a sense of deep shame and
Not, heaven forbid, in Israel, with its proud record of
achievements in so many fields, but rather in the narrow-minded and corrupt
leadership of certain sections of the Orthodox establishment.
by Jeremy Sharon on June 21, “Stav rejects criticism from ‘convicted criminals’”
sums up the tragic situation in three short columns.
In the past few
days, I have spoken to several staunch supporters of the Shas party who are
deeply embarrassed by the way their spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has
been manipulated into insulting and even provoking violence against Rabbi David
Stav, referring to him as a “rasha” – an evil person (“Tzohar calls on Shas
leader to repent for comments against Stav,” June 17).
I vouch that
anyone who has met Stav or heard him address diverse audiences, must share my
impression of this worthy rabbi as a caring individual, a man full of compassion
for his fellow Jews and a great communal leader, who richly deserves widespread
support in his bid for the Chief Rabbinate.ASHER CAILINGOLD
Sir, – This week, as we marked the 17th of Tamuz, commemorating the breaking of
the walls of Jerusalem, we should remember that it was also a pervasive internal
rot that led to national destruction.
Israel today, strong against its
external enemies, must reexamine its inner defenses. The actions of the Chief
Rabbinate and its haredi backers are a desecration of the name of God, and have
brought shame and derision on our country.
The day when we will be “a
light unto the nations” has yet to come.FRED GOTTLIEB
The absurdities of the system of two chief rabbis are threefold. First, hassidim
who neither respect nor conform to the powers of the rabbis are instrumental in
Second, the institution of a Sephardi and a separate
Ashkenazi rabbi perpetuates a split in the Israeli people which is fortunately
disappearing and needs no help.
Finally, we have the scandal of a chief
rabbi confined to his house under suspicion of bribery.
The Diaspora has
functioned very well mostly without chief rabbis.
It is time we do away
with this harmful institution.SIDNEY HANDEL
Tel Aviv Eminently fair
– The proportion of keeping 60% of gas and oil revenues found in the State of
Israel and exporting 40% to countries in the world seems eminently fair
(“Government approves keeping 60% of natural gas in Israel,” June 24).
country like Israel must export in order to survive and grow economically.
Exporting oil and gas will make Israel financially independent and give Israel
the monies to enhance the quality of life for all segments of the population. We
are always worried about weaker elements of the population. What a blessing it
will be to know that the budgets of the future will reflect surpluses so that we
can do great things educationally, scientifically and enhance our military
What a blessing has been bestowed upon this remarkable country
Israel! THELMA SUSSWEIN
Sir, – Kol hakavod to our prime minister for
his recommendation that Israel retain 60% of its natural gas for home use.
Furthermore, Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich has also joined the “good guys” by
protesting any decision to export more of our gas. This is a wise decision, and
can only be good for Israel and its future. Yacimovich’s threat to take the
issue to the High Court is an additional step to make sure we do the right
For once, Israel’s leaders on both sides agree that our gas
reserves are too important to our future to be bandied about! Let us hope they
don’t change their minds.LEONARD ZURAKOV
Netanya Private party
How come that no mention is made of the cost to the Israeli taxpayer of the
additional security required for the various events to mark the 90 birthday of
President Shimon Peres (“Poll: Private donors don’t justify Peres party,” June
The ferrying of guests from their hotels to the various events
required additional police escort services, as those in the vicinity experienced
in the constant wailing of police car sirens, even at midnight when the roads
are relatively empty.
Cannot we, the humble folk, be even permitted to a
quiet night’s sleep without having to encounter thoughtless and unnecessary use
of sirens by the police escorts? JUDITH BARNET
Sir, – Having read Gil
Hoffman’s article “Poll: Private donors don’t justify Peres party” I note that
Shimon Peres was actually born on August 2, 1923. I fully agree that our
president, having given and achieved so much for Israel, rightly deserves full
recognition with a gala party, but why two months early? The reason for my
interest is that I was born 19 days later, also 90 years ago, but a lavish
birthday party is certainly not on my list of priorities.
however welcome the president’s opportunity to meet some of my favourite
personalities, for example, a visit from Julian Fellowes who created and wrote
the fabulous TV series Downton Abbey, and maybe I could also invite its star,
Dame Maggie Smith.NORMAN W.COHEN
Sir, – The celebrations
surrounding the 90th birthday of President Shimon Peres have sent an
inspirational message to many citizens of Israel. I hope that this inspiration
will also reach the Israeli business community.
In the contemporary
Israeli job market, job hunting can be a difficult and demeaning task for job
seekers of all ages. In particular, people above the age of 40 are met with
discouraging responses. They are frequently told, unabashedly, that they are
“overqualified” or that the prospective employer was “looking for someone
Years of experience and dedication are often glossed over, as
employers choose younger, less experienced and less “expensive” workers to fill
It’s time for the Israeli business community to keep its doors
wide open to workers of all ages, to encourage businesses to grow, develop and
reap the benefits of youth as well as experience! As the president has shown us,
it is certainly possible to be productive and contribute to society, even at
advanced ages! Rather than rejecting the middle- aged and older workers,
employers should give them encouragement and opportunities! The message to our
youth should be that hard work, experience and devotion are valued and
appreciated by Israeli society, in order to continue to expand the economy and
really build our country.ROBIN M. JACOBOWITZ