Give her a platform

Sir, – MK Ruth Calderon (“Calderon’s Talmud lesson on Knesset floor elicits scorn from haredi news site,” February 15) is apparently damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. The haredi community cannot have it both ways. The Talmud is not its property.

There were, in fact, at least three Jewish enlightenments, and the haredim were no less a party to them.

First, there was the better known humanistic enlightenment, whose adherents were called maskilim. For them, the Talmud was as much a historical text as a legal text.

Then there was the Hassidic enlightenment. For Hassidim the Talmud was also a mystical text.

A third haredi enlightenment occurred in the Polish-Lithuanian community. They, too, were impacted by the gentile Age of Enlightenment. Their response was the expansion of the ethical dimension of the Talmud in what came to be known as Mussar.

Just as governments should strive for political unity, Jews should strive for religious unity.

Calderon should be given a platform by the haredi community.

PAUL BROWN
Kfar Vradim

Until next time

Sir, – Alan Dershowitz (“Did Brooklyn College violate the First Amendment?,” Observations, February 15) quotes a college official as saying the investigation into the eviction of Jewish students at a BDS event will be quick.

The decision, probably coming about three months from now (so much for “quick”), will include an apology and an assurance that it won’t happen again – until next time.

GERALD SCHOR
Ra’anana

Self-loathing

Sir, – Uri Savir’s “Africa” (Savir’s Corner, February 15) states that “Israelis – like most people, if not more so – are very self-centered.”

He then devotes five long columns to the woes of Africa, attacks rich (successful) people, criticizes the US for saving US jobs and praises South Africa – which boycotts Israeli goods and supports Gaza terrorists.

But hang on. No mention that Israelis have built hospitals in Ghana and Equatorial Guinea.

What about Israeli treatments for malaria and research for new cures for the disease? Israel is also eliminating tropical diseases in Ethiopia and fighting hunger in Senegal. It has rescued Ghanaians from a collapsed shopping mall, is producing cardboard wheelchairs for Africa and providing humanitarian aid for Chad.

It is promoting entrepreneurship across Africa, training bankers in Kenya and providing Internet to Mozambique. It is building roads in Nigeria, cleaning up Lake Victoria and even purifying water in South African gold mines.

So Uri, cease your self-loathing and research more about the real work that Israelis are doing in Africa and all over the world.

MICHAEL ORDMAN
Netanya

Not what it seems

Sir, – It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Therefore, a lying picture is worth a thousand lies.

The photo accompanying “Netanyahu’s Palestinian predicament” (Inside Out, February 14) has a caption saying, “The community of Ma’aleh Adumim in the West Bank.” It shows a few houses on a hilltop with desert in the background.

This is, in fact, a picture of but a tiny corner of a thriving city taken from such an angle that anyone looking at it would think she was seeing an isolated outpost in a remote area. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Ma’aleh Adumim is a rapidly growing city 20 minutes from Jerusalem, and is located in the Judean Desert, not the so-called West Bank. The picture is therefore deliberately deceptive.

We expect higher standards from the Post.

STEPHEN COHEN
Ma’aleh Adumim

Listen to Judy

Sir, – Kudos again to Judy Montagu for her latest piece (“On fitness and fatness,” In My Own Write, February 13).

Judy’s columns push her readers to act upon her advice.

A few years ago she wrote an article about single women who unfortunately do not get invited to a Friday night table, and that this was rather devastating for a person who values the Shabbat.

Not even knowing who she was I invited her to spend Shabbat with us. It was a glorious weekend because she was full of energy, wit and vitality. She was truly scintillating as a person and so enhanced our table with aplomb.

Now she has advised New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to shed some pounds. Let’s hope he will act upon her advice.

But that was not her only message. She wrote: “In a society where ‘wrapping’ counts for almost everything and social judgment is harsh, Christie has bucked the trend and won hearts and minds by simply being himself. That’s the message, and its importance can hardly be overstated to the millions of us whose appearance differs from what society has deemed its cherished norm.”

Let’s act upon her advocacy.

JENNY WEIL
Jerusalem

Not the illustrator

Sir, – Thank you for your mention of my picture book, The Purim Superhero (“Kar-Ben releases first LGBT Jewish children’s book,” February 12).

As a former librarian at a Jewish day school I’m especially honored to be featured in such a mainstay of Jewish journalism as The Jerusalem Post. My fond memories of your paper go back to childhood, when I browsed through copies at my grandparents’ apartment to puzzle over the Dry Bones comic strip.

I do have one slight correction.

Your article cites me as the author and illustrator of the book, which is only half accurate.

While I wish I could claim credit for the illustrations, they were created by the talented Mike Byrne.

ELISABETH KUSHNER
Burnaby, British Columbia

A better place

Sir, – With regard to “Agassi reaffirms belief in Better Place” (Business in Brief, February 11), the firm’s electric car has been available for almost a year. For those forward-thinking people who purchased or leased the zero-emission car there is no question: They fell in love with this automobile.

The problem seems to be that the Israeli public has been disheartened by the negative vibes and misunderstanding coming from the inner chambers of company management. It is hard to impress a prospective purchaser when he or she reads of a firm’s chaos and doubt.

There is nothing like driving an all-electric car. It is a smooth, quiet, comfortable drive. The company’s customer care is beyond reproach. The battery replacement stations are very well located and easy to access. The air is cleaner. The oil-producing countries surrounding us can drink their oil.

Then what is wrong? We need a charismatic person to begin a fresh approach. We need a spokesperson to positively spread the message to the waiting public. We need Shai Agassi to reappear and be the torchbearer once again.

It has happened before in very successful companies, and it could happen again with Better Place. Come back, Shai!

SIMMY FRIEDMAN
Modi’in

CORRECTION

In “Loved ones remember Hartman for fearlessness and honesty” (February 12), one of the speakers was incorrectly identified as Elliot Dorff. The speaker’s name was Elliott Yagod.

CLARIFICATION

The authors of “Using documentary as manipulation: The dishonesty of ‘The Gatekeepers’” (Comment & Features, February 14) wish to change “Hamas never appears or comes up in the interviews” to “Hamas’s genocidal ideology never comes up in the interviews.”

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