Preach to the guilty
The message from the two chief rabbis on the front-page of the August 4 Jerusalem Post was nothing more than a jumble of platitudes and empty words.
If there was any shred of real decency in the Chief Rabbinate, the two men would have gotten up from their plush chairs in their plush offices and gone to appear before the families of the poor, murdered victims of the attacks in Duma and Jerusalem with tears rolling down their cheeks, begging for forgiveness on behalf of the Jewish people, which they claim to represent. To now read them spouting words about the sanctity of life is bordering on hypocrisy.
We are not the people in front of whom they need to stand praising the Torah’s values.
The depths to which Jews can sink in upholding what they no doubt will claim are “Torah values” is abysmal, and a true teacher would try to expunge, not excuse, such behavior.
A big yes
In “A living museum of intolerance” (Borderline Views, August 4) David Newman argues: “Are the standards of our neighbors in Syria, Iran and Hamas the same standards by which we want to be judged? ... No, thank you.”He is wrong. The answer should be a big yes.
It does not mean we have to follow those standards; we might
desire to be more ethical than other nations. But no gentile has any right to be more demanding of the Jews than of anybody else. We do not have a special debt
to the gentiles to be nicer just because they persecuted us. And if they believe that God, in his Torah, gave us a special responsibility, they should be consistent and respect what He also said about the Jewish rights in the Land of Israel, from the Nile to the Euphrates.
“An end to Israel’s state-sanctioned religious intolerance”
(Comment & Features, August 4) is rife with intolerance and half-truths.
Aaron Panken states that the Israeli government “decided to
restore radical Orthodox control of conversion and kashrut....” Since when is maintaining tradition “radical?” In truth, the take of non-Orthodox movements on kashrut, conversion and a myriad of other issues is radical.
If one were to argue that the majority of Jews don’t maintain
the kashrut that the Orthodox demand (as just one example),
we could, using the same logic, toss out all of Judaism, since most of the world doesn’t maintain these standards. I maintain that traditional Judaism is what defines Judaism.
“A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” But
you can’t call sour grapes sweet wine.
Sayreville, New Jersey
Euro Maccabi games
With regard to “Euro Maccabi games marred by anti-Semitism
in Berlin” (August 2), all the excitement about the games
seems misspent. In 1936, identifiable Jews couldn’t walk the streets of Berlin. In 2015, identifiable Jews can’t
walk the streets of Berlin. The fact that hundreds of policemen are sent to protect a couple of thousand Jews playing their “games” in Berlin doesn’t say much for
how far we Jews have come. As for kippot, while Muslims
can walk around Berlin with their burkas and hijabs, Jews are
warned about the danger of looking Jewish, just like in the rest of Europe.
Albert Einstein, regarding his special theory of relativity, as published in 1905, did not say or simply that “it’s all relative” (“Albert Einstein’s stupendous work: It’s all relative,” Science, August 2). That statement could have been made by Newton or Galileo. It is a misunderstanding
that seems to be shared by almost all journalists, commentators and politicians for the past century.
For Einstein, the statement would be: “The facts are relative, but the law is absolute. It’s a law that the speed of light in empty space is not relative.”
That statement leads to all the strange results: that time is relative, space is relative, mass is relative and equivalent to energy, all of which have been verified by experimentation.
The writer is an emeritus professor of physics at Kent State University in Ohio, and co-author of the
textbook Seven Ideas that Shook the Universe, in which Chapter 6 deals with relativity theories.
A reasonable solution to the possible loss of English-language radio and TV broadcasts under the coming Israel Broadcasting Corporation (“Stand by your friends,” Comment & Features, August 2) would be a working partnership with i24news, the 24-hour English-language TV news channel broadcasting from Jaffa.The channel might take some, if
not all, of the current IBA English-language team onto its
payroll, and the new IBC might guarantee it airtime on its own channels for regular radio and TV newscasts. An arrangement of this kind would offer a win-win
situation – to the broadcasters and to the worldwide audience
for direct English-language news about and from Israel.
Regarding “Netanyahu to hold live webcast on Iran with North
American Jews” and “US Jewish groups stake out positions on Iran deal, but whom do they represent?” (July 31), American Jews often say that Israel is its own worst enemy. Today that cliché rings truer than ever.Israel’s political leadership continues to divide the US Jewish community, and with that, the community’s support for the Jewish state. The worst thing Israel can do is cause a permanent rupture with these Jews, as well as with one of America’s two dominant political parties.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s constant barrages
against President Barack Obama, and his George W. Bush-like call of “you’re either with us or against us” is making young (and also not so young) Jews question his motives. He is creating a wedge that will, in the long run, damage the status of American Jews in the US political process and ultimately destroy Congress’s traditional pro-Israel position, as Democrats and others come to feel they’re under attack. Israel’s prime minister is sowing the seeds for a dismal future. His pandering to security today will lead to a far-less secure tomorrow for global Jewry and Israel.
Amid learned speculation about the advent of the Third Temple (“Holy cow! Biblical red heifer in production,” July 17), it dawned on me that the edifice we’ve been
awaiting – built by mortal hands or dispatched ready-assembled from Heaven – has actually been in our possession for the past 67 years. Its name is Israel, and I have a strong feeling it is the only Third Temple we are likely to see. If “sacrifices” are needed to validate it, a trip to Mount Herzl, with its representative portion of the 23,000 we have already brought to the altar, should suffice.
We have no guarantee that further sacrifices will not be
demanded of us from the enemy without. But if the sages are correct in warning us that the foundations of the Second Temple were undermined by the “enemy within” through internecine Jewish hatred, self-loathing and
self-betrayal, well before the Romans finished the job, we had better ring down the curtain on a revival of the tragic spectacle we’ve been presenting for far too long. There isn’t likely to be a Fourth Temple.