A woman's place
Sir, After spending one Rosh Hashana relegated, as a woman, to the pavement outside my nearest shul, and the following year's High Holydays in the kitchen (considered the appropriate place for worshipping women) of a more distant but fractionally more welcoming synagogue, I dropped the habit of a lifetime, acquired abroad, of attending shul on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
So much for the "concept of separate sections for women and men... empowering... women" and the "architecture of a synagogue promot[ing] prayer" as Shira Leibowitz Schmidt claimed in "The mehitza that made waves in New Orleans" (September 29).
Incidentally, I doubt if there is the "ubiquitous sexuality in human culture" that Ms. Leibowitz Schmidt so fears even if she herself apparently finds it difficult to remain composed while sitting next to someone else's husband. But if there is, it is possible that seating Jewish singles next to each other could actually do something to help stem "the floodtide of assimilation by intermarriage," rather than the opposite.
New Year blessing
Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the nation and people of Israel a very blessed new year. May this nation hear God and obey His voice.
POOI SIANG SOH
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sir, Iran's threat to cut off oil exports should be taken with a pinch of salt ("Iran threatens to hold back oil sales over sanctions," October 2). Iran is heavily dependent on its oil export earnings to maintain its economy and meet its increasing imports. Secondly, its claim that developing nuclear arms is counter to Islam's teachings is another canard, along with the notion that it values human life (see Bali, Saturday).
Take Bibi back
Sir, With the Likud showdown over, Mr. Sharon's advisers are divided. Some believe he should remain in the Likud, others that the party's rifts can be overcome ("PM wins battle, Likud war goes on," September 27).
With the withdrawal from Gaza a new situation has been created. The unity of our people is now of prime importance. Mr. Sharon should remain in the Likud and invite Binyamin Netanyahu to return as minister of finance.This would be a courageous and compassionate gesture.
In his ungiven speech Mr. Sharon called for unity. His stated policies should lead to wide approval. His appeal for unity is especially appropriate during this Rosh Hashana period. With unity, Israel's potential is immeasurable.
Shame on Shas
Sir, I am appalled that the Shas leadership could even think of joining the Sharon government ("Sharon bidding to be only 3rd PM to complete a full term," September 30). These are the same people who condemned the Gaza expulsion in the strongest terms, and rightly so. To now join this terrible government in exchange for a few more shekels is sheer prostitution.
Good, and not
Sir, The Police Investigations Department's decision not to indict any policemen will be investigated. Good! That is how it should be in a modern state ("Shed light on the PID decision," September 30). But what a pity there is no mechanism to investigate Arab incitement leading to the riots, Palestinian Authority attempts to bring Israeli Arabs into the intifada, or Ehud Barak's decision to avoid investigating either problem. That is not how it should be in a modern state.
Sir, Yossi Klein Halevi's "Letter to a Palestinian neighbor" (September 28) was a masterpiece thoughtful, balanced, fair and mostly truthful. It represented me as a hasidic/haredi dual Israeli/American, as well as the "average" Israeli citizen.
Sir, My reaction to this op-ed was despair. The writer's "pilgrimage from Galilee to Gaza... learning to "venerate its (Muslim) choreography of surrender" reveals a vast dislocation from reality.
The writer need not have left Jerusalem. There he could have read the Koran, together with the Hadith and Shari'a, and learned about the reality in countless books and innumerable Web sites, written mostly by Muslims, testifying to the character and temperament of the Arabs, and of Islam.
The former has been analyzed by Sania Hamady, formerly professor of Human Relations at Miami University, who discusses "the lag in value culture," in "giving up stale ideals... illusions about reality." Hamady asserts that "the Arab has no scruples about lying if by it he obtains his objective... Arab society... is ruthless, stern and pitiless. It worships strength and has no compassion for weakness the Arab is more interested in feelings than facts, in conveying an impression rather than giving a report."
How true this seems when we review the lies that have flooded the world about the US, Israel, the Jews everything, in fact, that does not fit the Arab mind-set.
This mind-set divides the world into two parts: the world under the sway of Islam, and the world of war. Those who inhabit the latter are divided into "infidels," to be destroyed, and "dhimmis" Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians who may continue to practice their religions on condition they pay a "protection tax" and submit to humiliating conditions. Islam is the only remaining religion that still aims at world domination. It seems well on the way to realizing it.
Yossi Klein Halevi proves intelligent people can harbor fantasies when the need for delusion runs deep.
Learn from South Africa
Sir, Gazans had better come to their senses and realize that the sooner they get rid of Hamas, the sooner there will be peace, prosperity and employment ("Israel to relieve pressure on Hamas," October 2). Here in South Africa the Muslim community were very "brave" when the US sent troops to Iraq. Hundreds volunteered to fight the American forces. They were hailed as heroes. Until the first bullet was fired and they came running home with their tails between their legs.
I am sure that there are good people in Gaza who are against the terrorists, and I suggest they take a lesson from South Africa. Send those "brave" Hamas terrorists who are going to defeat Israel to hell.
CHRIS VAN NIEKERK
Filthy to fond
Sir, The article on turning Schaefers Landing into a luxury project (Elsewhere, September 28) was very timely for me because it was there that my mother would take my sister and me for taschlich every Rosh Hashana. It was a terrible place, smelly and filthy, and the small stream into which we cast our sins became more swampy every year. The workers at the brewery there would jeer and catcall, and I was really scared. But after seven decades it has become a fond memory, as has the Williamsburg I felt at home in, and which no longer exists.
Sir, Many thanks to The Jerusalem Post for bringing to our attention the concert at Ein Hod on Friday (Billboard, 30 September).The infectious enthusiasm of the founder, Nissan Cohen, was evident and led to the enjoyment of all those present. The monkey on the organ was a model, but this did not reduce the thrill of listening to "It's a long way to Tipperary" and imagining we were in an East End of London street nearly a century ago.
The Nisco Museum is well worth a visit by both children "hands-on," under the Nissan's direction and adults. However, we hope the museum will soon be adequately signposted.
ROMA AND MELVYN BROOKS
Kids sans dad
Sir, I was very moved by Larry Derfner's ("Legal status quo," September 16). Though I am pro-choice I understand it is a very difficult decision to have an abortion. But are we sure that we want to bring children into this world already starting with a disadvantage of no father? The child of a single mother is often doomed to poverty and emotional problems. Children need both a mother and a father.
The Efrat organization helps the mother in the first year. But who is there to help after that?
Male vs female on 4 wheels
Sir, I have to weigh in on the driving issue. A national actuarial report a few years ago in the US was very clear about two things: The most dangerous segment of drivers was males aged between 16 and 25. However, over a life of driving, women were statistically more dangerous than men.
While the researchers didn't draw any conclusions from that, I thought one was obvious: Young men including me during that age period are over-hyped idiots. We drive demandingly, which means one of two things: We either die, or learn how to drive. Women continue to drive badly, but not terribly, so they never learn emergency conditions. Later in life they're still driving badly while we male survivors have finally learned how to drive.
Sir, On a recent trip to the United States that involved two internal flights New York-Philadelphia and Washington-New York I was taken aside and individually searched, including hand luggage, hat and, of course, shoes; not once, but twice. In addition, my luggage "disappeared" from the airport carousel on two other occasions, only to reappear an hour later each time.
Was this a coincidence or just another manifestation of idiocy on the part of the American security personnel? Did they target me because my electronic tickets were issued in Israel? Or, perhaps, as an elderly, grey-haired granny, maybe I am starting a new trend in security risks.