(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - Beats me why world-famous columnist and TV host Shmuley Boteach is not on the short list of "America's most influential rabbis" ("Saperstein named 'hottest rabbi' by US magazine," April 6).
Is the author of Kosher Sex, Kosher Adultery and The Kosher Sutra too much of a hot potato?
M.M. VAN ZUIDEN
Sir, - Having read about the Dutch service that allows Internet users to get their messages spray-painted on the Palestinian side of the separation barrier for 30 euros, I decided to submit a message of my own.
It was: "This wall is here because you teach children that killing Israelis is glorious."
But then I read: "All messages will be screened by us (in Amsterdam) AFTER payment. Obscene, extremist, or offensive messages will be refused. This decision is final. Your money will not be refunded."
So if they find my message offensive, they get to keep my money anyway.
So much for the organizers' purported moderation. I didn't send the message ("Another ad on the wall: Dutch firm sells space on West Bank barrier," April 3).
The Israeli response
Sir, - I totally agreed with Amitai Etzioni's "'Seven British Children': An Israeli response" (April 5). However, what's really needed in response is not a play but a powerful hasbara effort that makes sure videos of Palestinian parents boasting about their terrorist children, PA TV children's programs inculcating hate and PA imams inciting to murder get on primetime TV worldwide, and frequently.
The foremost source for such videos is www.memritv.org .
The only question is why the Israeli government hasn't been doing this all along.
Path to peace...
Sir, - While it is quite magnanimous of Menachem Z. Rosensaft to "Give Netanyahu a chance" (April 5) it should be remembered that we do, despite our flawed electoral system, have a democratically elected government. So Netanyahu's predominantly right-wing coalition reflects the wishes of the Israeli people.
It would be difficult to claim that Israelis as a whole don't want to live in peace with their neighbors, more accurate to say they are disillusioned with the approach of the past 16 years and interested in alternatives.
Can't we promote the position that the onus is on the Palestinians to take steps toward building trust and hope in peace? Is it too much to ask them to respect us as Jewish neighbors living in our State of Israel?
Sir, - Re "Film director David Lynch: I'm not going to back off until they get 'peace-creating group' in the Middle East" (April 6): Mr. Lynch could not have searched very hard for "serious" meditators in Israel.
We have a group called MPH - Meditation for Peace and Harmony -headed by Menorah Charney, whose members have been meditating a few times a week for the last 35 years. We are very serious. He may be surprised to hear that there are very many such groups here, using the transcendental way or other ways, as we do. Our activities toward real inner peace in all beings have taken us all over Israel and we are in contact with dozens of groups worldwide.
We recently published our own workbook called "You and Me" to guide teachers on how to bring meditation methods especially suited for children into schools, and on how meditation reduces violence. We are having great success wherever the program has been accepted by the school.
Sir, - What I cannot understand is that Netanyahu was able to find only two females worthy of joining his massive government. How far women have come in the 21st century ("Bloated government, vast challenges," April 3).
Money to burn?
Sir, - The front page of your April 5 issue carried a color photo showing the spectacular celebration of the Tel Aviv centenary ("Century city"). Radio news items referred to this as attracting a crowd of possibly 250,000 people.
All this is great and exciting, but what concerns me is that on the English news program, the director of celebrations justified the fact that such celebrations would continue throughout the year, at a cost of about $10 million.
This in the face of increasing poverty and hunger - as exemplified by your page 3 picture ("All who are hungry...") of people lining up for food handouts at a center in Jerusalem - is disturbing, to say the least.
My 10 drops of wine
Sir, - Our sages write that angels rejoiced as they watched the pursuing Egyptians drowning in the Red Sea. God castigated them, saying, "My creatures are perishing, and you sing praises?"
During the Pessah Seder, we Jews diminish our joyous freedom by removing 10 drops of wine from full cups. I dedicate my 10 drops to:
â€¢ Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, held by Hamas for more than 1,000 days.
â€¢ Thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, many for decades.
â€¢ Jews, Israelis, Palestinians, Muslims held hostage by their co-dependent hatred of each other.
â€¢ Tzipi, my beloved Jerusalem friend, whose son Ben went "from freedom to slavery" last week, drafted into the army.
â€¢ My new Pakistani colleagues and friends, imprisoned by recent violence, by Western misperceptions of Pakistanis, by their own misperceptions of Westerners.
â€¢ The women of Afghanistan, imprisoned by medieval laws passed by modern governments appeasing backward communities.
â€¢ Iran's President Ahmadinejad and the mullahs, whose personal slavery to ignorance and hatred enslaves millions worldwide in fear, loathing, and mutually-assured-destruction.
â€¢ CEOs and managers everywhere, so imprisoned by their fear of losing their millions of dollars that they've mortgaged their moral compasses.
â€¢ My Australian and American co-citizens, relaxed and comfortable, enslaved by unsustainable life-styles, unwilling to pay a fair price for a day's labor, denying "a fair go" to those less fortunate.
â€¢ Each Jew worldwide, living physically free, enslaved by uncertainty, doubt and loathing of "Others" whom we know not, but fear and hate anyway.
May we become free, and live respectfully, honorably and humbly with each other - whoever we are, from wherever we come; and gently with our gracious hostess, Planet Earth.
Sir, - Here lies our hametz / The cleaning's complete. / Ah, the thrill of victory / Oh, the pain of de feet.
GABIE AND DANNY SYKORA
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