In his head

Sir, – Someone needs to check whether Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is smoking plain tobacco or wacky weed in his Ramallah nargileh. Judging from the crazy and groundless things he says (“Abbas determined to lead ‘battle for recognition’ at UN,” September 19), it’s more likely that he is smoking wacky weed.

The premise on which the PA is pursuing recognition as a non-member state at the United Nations has no basis in reality. The UN General Assembly does not have the power or authority to grant any political entity state sovereignty.

The only state the Palestinians can achieve along these lines is a state of mind.

YONATAN SILVERMAN
Tel Aviv

Deserving soul

Sir, – Haim Hefer, the prolific Israeli songwriter, is gone (“National culture icon Haim Hefer, creator of the ‘soundtrack of the state,’ dies at 86,” September 19). What his songs did over the years was to inspire and raise the spirits of the Israeli population.

It’s interesting that Hefer died on the second day of Rosh Hashana. He was not a religious man. He might have been anti-religious.

Yet it’s not so important what a man thinks of the Almighty. It’s much more important what the Almighty thinks of him! For raising the morale of his people over and over again, God took him (possibly, to Hefer’s eternal astonishment) on the day when the gates of heaven stand open to receive particularly deserving souls.

The whole country in all its varied segments owes a thank you to Haim Hefer for years of beautiful and meaningful songs.

THELMA JACOBSON
Petah Tikva

Views of a holiday

Sir, – Two radically different approaches to Judaism and understanding of our fellow Jews made their way into the September 19 Jerusalem Post.

One was “Sawaddee Pee Mai (‘Happy New Year’ in Thai),” your wonderful article on how Israelis, thirsting for some Jewish content on Rosh Hashana as they spend their vacation in Thailand, find it at Chabad Houses.

There is something special about Chabad, and reporter Sharon Udasin did a fantastic job of describing it. It is easy to be cynical and dismiss many Israeli kids and adults as they explore the world, but Chabad is the expert in allowing them to feel comfortable with their Judaism.

Four pages later you report on one of our chief rabbis and his absurd recommendation that, rather than attend services at a Reform synagogue, one is better advised to remain in his hotel over the holidays (“Non-Orthodox movements slam Amar comments”).

There is nothing more discouraging, less Jewish and uninspiring than a holiday like that. Instead of making practical suggestions, the chief rabbi comes up with a cheap shot against the Reform movement.

It is impossible to understand how a caring, loving and devoted Jew like the chief rabbi can simply castigate other Jews in their religious practices without understanding that the downside of his recommendation is so much worse.

Again he makes the rabbinate in Israel look as if it is totally out of touch with Jews who live in our country and outside of it.

Once a month or so, comments such as this appear. Many of us are torn between laughter and tears.

If there is one message that everyone should learn it is that we are all brothers and sisters.

It is a shame that spitting on fellow Jews, which drives them away, always seems to be the approach of a small but dominant group of Jews. These Jews do more to discourage Jewish observance by people seeking a Jewish life than any other institution.

Providing fodder for secular comedians must be the assignment of some factotum in the chief rabbi’s office.

STEPHEN KOHN
Ra’anana

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