Nauseating words Regarding the speech made by IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.- Gen. Yair Golan (“IDF’s No. 2 clarifies: ‘Not my intent to liken Israel to Nazi Germany,’” May 6), I had the good fortune of reading it before breakfast; otherwise, there would have been a catastrophe on my kitchen floor.
To think that this man is one of the top leaders of the IDF is surely a reflection on the dearth of leadership in this country and the kind of self-hatred one would expect of the totally ignorant and disconnected.
Golan’s attempt to explain and rationalize his comments only gives further fodder to anti-Semites, who will take pleasure in quoting him to justify their perceptions.
The millions killed by the Nazis and their supporters must be rolling in their graves, knowing that their memories were used in such an egregious way.
MOSHE STERN Beit Shemesh
Why ‘sanctification’? I am a Holocaust survivor who shivers with rage and wonderment when hearing, during the annual commemoration ceremonies, that 6 million Jews died for the “sanctification of God’s name.” What does “sanctification” mean? Were we human offerings to the deity? That’s terrible! Please stop it!
ALFRED INSELBERG Ra’anana
Jew and Gentile
Thank you for commending the Conservative Movement’s “bold attempt to confront bigotries within Judaism that differentiate between Jew and gentile” (“Jew and gentile,” Editorial, May 6).
You express concern that “Conservative rabbis... do not derive their moral sense exclusively from traditional Jewish sources, but also from sources to be found outside the Jewish religion. At the very least, these rabbis have chosen to emphasize Jewish sources that support their position while ignoring or nullifying voices within Judaism that espouse chauvinistic attitudes toward non-Jews.”
You give a few examples of what are euphemistically called “difficult texts” that express points of view most of us find repulsive today.
I want to invert the logic of your presentation and say that the most important sentence in your editorial is “Still, the committee of Conservative rabbis follows in a long Jewish tradition of trying to reconcile Judaism with contemporary thinking about how humans are to be treated.”
There is no denying that previous generations of Jews had feelings we don’t share today. But that is true of every living community everywhere. Judaism is an evolving tradition; we are not compelled to follow the dictates of the admired thinkers of the past, although we are well advised to understand them.
Here’s a way to view the evolution of Judaism. Take all the moral statements and the historical contexts in which they were made, and in your imagination, fit a straight line to the data with an arrow. The past tells us where we came from, the present shows us where we are now, and the arrow points toward the future.
The Jewish people, not just the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, have evolved to the point where most of us want to “confront bigotries within Judaism that differentiate between Jew and gentile.”
The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards speaks for us.
BARRY LEONARD WERNER Netanya
I was appalled when I read your editorial/theology lesson. I believe that with this piece, you have achieved a new low in journalistic integrity and professionalism.
I think your theology stinks. It represents the most vile form of anti-Torah and anti-God demagoguery that the “progressive, liberal Left has yet to conjure. But far worse is the fact that your editorial board deems it appropriate for the paper publicize its theological position and couch it in terms of morality, the greater good, humanity, etc.
I don’t read the paper to gain insight into ethical monotheism. I don’t read the paper to find you calling my God a “vindictive God.” If this is, indeed, the position of The Jerusalem Post, then I can no longer open its pages because its credibility as a source of unbiased reporting has been seriously undermined.
I guess you could call me “a vindictive reader”!
NORMAN MESKIN JerusalemThree sins
In “The Israel warrior” (No Holds Barred, May 6), Shmuley Boteach asks why there is a global onslaught throughout the world against the Jewish people.
The Jewish people has committed three sins in the eyes of its enemies – and just maybe in the eyes of its friends – that are unforgivable: 1. It gave the world the Torah and a code of ethics to live by.
2. It gave the world a conscience.
3. It had the audacity to become a nation.
The genie is out of the bottle.
The only way to get it back in is to destroy the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
PAUL BERMAN Shoham More on Katsav
The letters in favor of and against early release for ex-president Moshe Katsav (“Readers weigh in on Katsav editorial,” May 5) completely miss the point: He’s no longer dangerous.
A sexual predator isn’t like a murderer, in that when he no longer has a position of power, he’s no threat to anyone.
It’s irrelevant that in theory he could have been wrongly convicted – if we’re going to consider that as an argument, we should just open the doors of our prisons and release everyone.
And as far as his feelings of remorse, I’m probably not the only one who couldn’t care less.
The whole point is that since he can’t admit to any wrongdoing, once released, he, as a sort of celebrity, will have a public platform to parade his supposed victimization and slander women who complain about harassment.
Katsav will eventually be released in any case, but the longer he stays out of circulation, the better off our society is.
NAOMI SANDLER Jerusalem
Is there not a simple solution to the request of ex-president Moshe Katsav for a release due to possible psychosis? I do not doubt that he might indeed be mentally ill. If so, the sensible thing would be to release him to one of our mental institutions until the time when he has recovered his sanity.
SIDNEY HANDEL Tel Aviv Unfair attack
The attack against Berkeley Hillel in “Simone Zimmerman: Pro-Israel enthusiast turned anti-Israel radical” (Observations, April 28) was patently unfair and portrayed a completely false image about a valued institution on campus and in our community.
While I had many concerns about the now-defunct Kesher Enoshi’s programming decisions, Berkeley Hillel has played an indispensable role in challenging anti-Israel activity on campus, welcoming Jewish and other students to find positive ways to engage with and build a connection with Israel, sent hundreds of students on Birthright programs, and created an environment that celebrates Israel as a critically important part of Jewish identity.
The continued grossly distorted portrayal of Hillel does a tremendous disservice to the campus community and our entire community.
DOUG KAHN San Francisco
The writer is executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco.
CORRECTIONS • The article “Total war and terrorism deaths stand at 22,447” (May 6) listed an incorrect overall fatality figure. The total number of fatalities since 1860 stands at 23,447. The reporter regrets the error.
• The photo accompanying “A dictatorship in the making” (Analysis, May 6) was that of Aykan Erdemir, and not as stated.