Sir, - "Talk by McDonald's big cheese triggers flap at health policy conference" (June 15) quoted a public health expert who claimed that McDonald's made its menus less harmful "simply because it didn't want to lose customers, not because it is so concerned about public health." We could just as easily accuse doctors of choosing their profession for money and status and "not because they are so concerned about medicine."
The rabbis teach us that the deed is more important than the intent. Saving a life for the wrong reasons is much better than standing by full of sympathy while someone dies.
Besides, we can never read someone's heart, but we can know what he did.
M. VAN THIJN
'Marrano' is ok...
Sir, - Re your letter from Michael Greengard (June 11) responding to "The Lost Jews" (UpFront, June 1): In a lecture I heard some 10 years ago, Brazilian-born Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn, who has been active among Brazilian descendants of forced converts, said that the anousim of Brazil are not offended by the appellation "marrano" and sometimes include it in the official names of their organizations. The term evolved from the Portuguese verb "to force," which does not, however, negate the Spanish meaning of marrano ("pig").
...but mongrel isn't
Sir, - Irin Carmon's interesting piece should highlight a serious concern for us in Israel. Well-intentioned individuals and organizations are searching the ends of the earth to find "lost" Jews and bring them here. Self-proclaimed Jews from Burma, India and mountainous regions of Asia have suddenly "discovered" the advantage of being thought of as Jews. It helps them to escape the poverty of their lives and receive, upon their aliya, apartments, education and opportunities they could only dream of.
Now Carmon tells of proposals to bring over Marranos from the hinterland of Brazil. We are turning our country into a nation of mongrels rather than a land of chosen thoroughbreds. The so-called "lost" Jews will make of us the "last" Jews.
If one truly wishes to discover lost Jews, one only has to frequent the clubs of Tel Aviv.
Let it all hang out
Sir, - If, as some of your readers evidently feel, ancient Greece created an ideal society and "gay parades" through the streets of Jerusalem are an expression of true democracy, why stop there?
Let us abolish Hanukka, which commemorates Judaism's intolerance of paganism and promiscuity. Let us follow the new Dutch (NVD) trend by enabling male prostitutes, pedophiles, pornographers and sodomites to display their pride in "doing what comes naturally." Let us jettison the Noahide laws, the Ten Commandments and all "outdated" standards of morality.
That will demonstrate the triumph of Canaanite, Egyptian, Greek and Roman "civilization," marking our end, after 4,000 years, as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."
GABRIEL A. SIVAN