Rainy holiday

Sir, – Apropos Rabbi Benny Lau’s take (“Storms disturb Succot in ‘sign of divine anger,’” October 2), here is a thought: God gave us the incredible gift of a day of fasting on Yom Kippur as a vehicle for prayer and repentance, and our minister of interior summarily shortened it an hour by ending Daylight Saving Time just days earlier.

Maybe, just maybe, responding to the spurning of his gift, God said, “You know what? I don’t need you sitting in My succa either.”

Just a thought.

IRVING WIESEN
Jerusalem

Sir, – After Israel moved the clocks back to winter time early, we experienced early winter rains. Coincidence? I suggest that in the future we declare the beginning of winter time on the Saturday night following the prayers for rain, which are said from Simchat Torah at the end of Succot.

YONATAN SILVER
Jerusalem

Christians and Israel

Sir, – I read both “Christian support for Israel – a just cause” and “Christian Zionists back Israel’s risky policy decisions” (Comment & Features, October 2) with curiosity.

David Parsons, author of the first, I know about, but the article by Tristan Sturm puzzled me. Who is this guy and what is he talking about? Halfway through I went to the note at the end of his article and had an “oh yes” moment. Reader, know thy sources.

York University? Site of some of the most vicious boycott, divestment and sanctions activity of the past few years. But why is Sturm attacking Christian Zionists? I guess because so many of his cynical colleagues are attacking Israel that he decided to take on the Christians for a change of topic.

I am thoroughly sick of arrogant left-wing academics leading the shrill condemnations of Israel – especially when they don’t live here and perhaps have never even been here.

And also for accusing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of “itching” to bomb Iran.

What gall! Would Sturm trade places with our prime minister in making the terrible decisions he must make? Not on his life. He is the kind who would run away from here as fast as he could, all the while waving the flag of academic freedom.

My Jewish college granddaughter is taking a course on the Christian bible this semester to better understand the New Testament. Thank goodness it isn’t taught by the likes of Sturm.

JAN GAINES

Netanya

Sir, – David Parsons of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem does an excellent job of explaining the heartfelt Christian support for Israel. This is especially important as other Christians, stuck in replacement theology, are lending their weight to the delegitimization of the Jewish state, whether knowingly or not, and thus to their own downfall.

Parsons, however, falls short when he lays out only one theological perspective on the millennial sufferings of God’s people Israel by referring to “the redemptive purpose behind that affliction... largely inflicted by God for the sake of all other peoples.” His argument in this one regard weakens when we consider that the Nazi and Bolshevik instruments of such suffering started with their natural enemy, the Jews, but did not end before tens of millions of professing Christians also died in the poisoned wake of anti- Semitic totalitarianism. Was such murder also “redemptive?” Indeed, maybe. But then a different theological analogy begs to be posited, one that has our Teacher up in Heaven continuing to test his students on Earth, generation after generation, ever since Adam. He finally gave Jew, Christian and humanist alike an exam that placed the evil of “master race” in all our faces to see if we would recognize it, not make excuses for it or compromise with it. We failed that test and bore the “logical consequences” that followed.

But because Teacher is so supremely good, He gives us all a “remake” – master jihad, an aberration of Islam – to see if we learned anything in class.

We are being tested again to see if we can finally graduate from religious wars to a unifying struggle for our common religious principles – the sanctity of human life and the universality of morality.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has a unique role to play in this struggle.

AARON BRAUNSTEIN
Jerusalem

Flimsy subterfuge


Sir, – The thesis of William Broad (“How to help Iran build a bomb,” Comment & Features, October 2) seems to be that threats of force or, even worse, a military strike will encourage Iran to build a nuclear bomb.

Broad ignores the fact that for the past 10 years, before any threats or talk of military strikes, Iran has been building a bomb. Yes, I know that it was pretending to develop a nuclear program for “peaceful” purposes, but this subterfuge is so flimsy that even a New York Times reporter should be able to see through it.

When a primitive country chooses to establish a nuclear program to develop electricity instead of spending a fraction of that to use the natural gas it has in super abundance, one has to be willfully blind to fail to see what’s going on.

At this point, with their economy in tatters and the rial virtually worthless, the maniacal mullahs are more determined than ever to create the weapon to destroy Israel. It is clear that only a credible threat of force, or an actual preemptive strike, will stop them.

STEPHEN S. COHEN
Ma’aleh Adumim

Not so cynical

Sir, – Post columnist Caroline Glick, very rightly, in my opinion, has termed the world in which we live “cynical.” Yet here is an article about Israeli aid to more than 100 other countries (“It’s the what that matters, not the why,” Succot supplement, September 30).

Cited as one of the aid organizations is Tevel B’Tzedek, founded by Rabbi Micha Odenheimer, who, when queried about his reasons for establishing such an organization, stated that what it means to be “an Israeli and a Jew in the contemporary world” is “engaging, with all the wisdom and empathy we can muster, in creating a more just and beautiful world.”

Now I must admit that I, too, am a cynic, but I have not yet sunk to the depths of cynicism such that I can’t appreciate the thoughts, words and deeds of Odenheimer and any of my coreligionists engaged in similar activities. Helping others, fellow Jews or not, is what we Jews are taught, what our more-than 3,000-year history describes, and in part what Judaism is all about.

All I can say is thank you to Rabbi Odenheimer and to all who are like him in not only providing succor to others but simultaneously strengthening the Jewish soul and providing the most cogent response possible against all those who are intent on delegitimizing the Jewish state, the Jewish people and the Jewish religion.

RICHARD JACOBS
Haifa

Gross betrayal

Sir, – The arguments presented by Yonah Jeremy Bob against appealing Ehud Olmert’s corruption verdict (“A parade of errors?,” Rule of Law, September 28) initially appear to be quite compelling.

Bob cites the waste of resources and additional embarrassment of the state prosecution as the underpinnings of his thesis. The cogency of his arguments, based on additional considerations of legal technicalities, seems to be almost convincing.

However, he goes on to wonder about the wisdom of “toppling a prime minister for ‘breach of public trust’ – the criminal equivalent of jay-walking....”

It must be pointed out that the misdemeanor of the jaywalker affects only the jaywalker, but breach of public trust by an elected official does violence to his office and is a gross betrayal of all those who have elected him.

ZEV CHAMUDOT
Petah Tikva

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