(photo credit: REUTERS)
With regard to “Liberal Orthodox rabbis, haredi MK back Bennett on Jewish study” (September 14), Minister of Education Naftali Bennett should be applauded for his recent declaration that Jewish education is of greater importance than science and mathematics studies.
The latter subjects are essential for succeeding in engineering and scientific fields, but one cannot call the process of acquiring them “education.” Their acquisition is mostly a technical act. Education teaches how to live, not merely how to make a living.
English and math will always be deemed a high priority by almost all because they open doors to lucrative vocations. No governmental emphasis need be granted to ensure that students invest their best to excel in these. But without an understanding of what it means to be Jewish, our youth are clueless regarding the meaning of a Jewish state.
The vast majority of Israelis favor a Jewish state over a “state for all of its inhabitants,” yet most secular Jews are largely ignorant about what Judaism is and are enraged by the fact that haredim don’t teach core studies to better prepare their children to be self-supporting. But where is the outcry over the fact that most Israelis are ignorant of rudimentary Jewish principles and what it means to be Jewish, beyond knowing which foods are traditionally eaten on various Jewish holidays? I am close to tears when colleagues boast of children who have merited great prestige in their post-doctoral achievements in the US – where they have intermarried and lost all but a familial connection to Israel. These colleagues can’t understand why I view this as a tragic loss when they feel only pride.
No one is proposing or even desirous of religious coercion; secular Israelis can continue to “celebrate” their Shabbat on the beach. Nor should one suggest that secular Jews are morally bankrupt or lacking in humanistic values.
But before any Jew rejects his Jewish heritage, he ought to know what he is rejecting.
Thanks to academic studies, I’ve enjoyed a decadeslong engineering career, but it is for my Jewish education, which endowed me with a deep meaning and purpose in life, that I am most eternally grateful.
SHARON LINDENBAUM Rehovot Paying terrorists
I was glad to see the op-ed by US Sen. Dan Coats (R-Indiana) calling to cut funding for the Palestinian Authority in a way that is commensurate with what it pays terrorists and their families (“End US aid to Palestinian terrorists,” Comment & Features, September 13).
Concern for the finances of the Palestinian Authority should be no excuse for not cutting the funds. This year’s long financial and vocal support by the PA, a so-called peace partner, for the killers of Jewish men, women and children is reprehensible.
If the Palestinians are uninterested in peace and are the same terrorists as before, why is Israel pressed to retreat from land and compromise with them? Why is US taxpayers’ money going to glorify and encourage the killers of Jewish men, women and children? There’s a difference between the building of Jewish homes and the killing of men, women and children just because they are Jews in the Land of Israel. It is Palestinian indoctrination that directly leads to the killing!
BEN KLEIN New YorkLooking for smoke
In “Largest-ever fines levied in no-smoking enforcement case” (September 13), reporter Judy Siegel notes that the Jerusalem District Court ruling is “likely to serve as a precedent against... Jerusalem’s light rail operator City Pass; the Jerusalem Municipality... and the Health Ministry.”
Regarding the last, we apparently have a minister of health who refuses to enforce anti-smoking regulations and discourages all anti-smoking programs and schemes. I wonder: Does Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman smoke? RAYMOND CANNON Netanya CORRECTION
In “Tango in Paris” (September 15), the Dalai Lama is shown posing with Rabbi Moshe Sebbag of the Grand Synagogue of Paris, and not as stated.