Poke in the eye
Sir, – It would be hard to imagine a more derisive put-down of
4,000 years of Jewish history and religious tradition than your insistence on
publicly accommodating the view of Yom Kippur as “a perfect day for bicycle
riding” (“Riding bicycles on Yom Kippur,” Editorial, September 5).
gift to enemies who loudly and repeatedly assert that our spiritual connections
to this land are a fabrication.
How about “a perfect day” for some
serious introspection for those unable to bear the thought of joining their
compatriots in prayer, meditation and fasting? Kudos to Transportation Minister
Israel Katz for his efforts to disassociate the government from this annual poke
in the eye to Judaism.ZE’EV KIMCHE
Sir, – The phenomenon begs a
different question than the one asked in your editorial: Why has the currency of
Jewish practice become so devalued that youth and adults see Yom Kippur as
nothing more than a great opportunity for unimpeded bike riding? Has Jewish
education in the Jewish homeland become so impoverished that it cannot find
meaningful alternatives for what is called the holiest day of the year? This is
an existential issue that cannot be solved by either a government minister or a
municipality. It requires a massive rethinking of our national goals and our
collective Jewish identity.
Sir, – On the
corner of Allenby and Ahad Ha’am streets in central Tel Aviv there is a large,
underused building with ample parking places for bicycles. It is an excellent
destination for those who wish to leave their cars at home on Yom Kippur and
ride a bike through the streets of Tel Aviv with their kids.
I am referring to is the Tel Aviv Central Synagogue. The family that prays
together stays together.CHAIM FRIEDMAN
Beit Shemesh Galvanizing call
Sir, – Thank you for publishing details regarding the upcoming conference on
Jews from Arab lands (“Gov’t stepping up campaign for rights of Jewish refugees
from Arab countries,” August 28).
All of what Deputy Foreign Minister
Danny Ayalon said took me back to November 1975 when I attended the founding
conference of the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC) in
There was a particularly exciting moment when a telegram was
received from Farouk Kadoumi of the PLO, inviting the Jews to go back. The reply
was harsh and fast: These Jews, who had suffered violent pogroms led by
screaming Muslim mobs and had all their property confiscated, had no desire to
return to the hangings of Iraq or the dungeons of Syria.
conferences were held in London, Washington and Herzliya, and there was enough
testimony to guide the Foreign Ministry in the war of words it was supposed to
wage against Arab propaganda.
But it did nothing.
presumably filed away.
In the same way, the ministry turned aside from
the sterling work done by a former Anglo attorney, Martin Bar- Shalem (Shaw),
who was now living in Israel. This included his involvement in drafting the
personal and communal pro forma compensation claims of Jews from Libya. His
multi-faceted efforts could fill an interesting book.
What is important
now is whether the upcoming conference is just going to be a blast of photo ops,
ignoring all the past accomplishments, or whether it will galvanize the Foreign
Ministry into action and be followed by a real and concerted effort by the
Jerusalem The writer edited
Forgotten Millions – The Modern Exodus of Jews from Arab Lands