August 1: Slow is better

I, too, heard Obama’s pledge to “have Israel’s back,” but based on his actions thus far my concern is that this is where he’ll stick the knife.

July 31, 2012 23:32

Letters 521. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

Slow is better

Sir, – During the heyday of speed-reading, Woody Allen lambasted the fad by asking if anyone would want to speed-watch a ballet or speed-listen to a Beethoven symphony.

What is true for ordinary literature is true a thousand-fold for Talmud (“A window into the Jewish soul,” July 30), and one can only pity those 300,000 men who religiously attended the daily 60-minute speed-davening of Talmud known as Daf Yomi simply because it was the thing to do.

The Dirshu organization is to be commended for recognizing the futility of the Daf Yomi program for most people, who can’t possibly retain even a thimbleful of what they “learned.” In my kollel, consisting of highly intelligent men, we have completed only five dapim of Baba Kama over the course of an entire year – devoting five mornings a week to its study.

And we’ve barely scratched the surface of the text’s meaning and nuances.

By all means let every Jewish man spend an hour a day immersed in Talmud. But there is no need to turn Gemara into a race against time. To do so disrespects the text and defrauds the learner.

A line a day is challenging enough. Or to borrow some Chinese wisdom, it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.


F for Dershowitz

Sir, – In the articles on the same page written by MK Danny Danon (“Mitt Romney: A true friend of Israel,” Comment & Features, July 30) and Alan Dershowitz (“No ‘buyer’s remorse’ for voting for Obama”), it is Danon who gets it right.

US President Barack Obama is a true friend only of the Palestinians, and the reason he is so magnanimous with his so-called support for Israel is because it is in the interest of the US. Why? Because we provide the Americans with important intelligence, test their advanced weaponry in real wars, and are the only democratic nation in the Middle East they can rely on.

Why does Obama support the Palestinians and pressure Israel to make concessions? Why does he pressure Israel to stop building in Judea and Samaria but turn a blind eye to illegal Arab building there and in east Jerusalem? For the same reason he bowed down to the Saudi Arabian king.

It’s about time that liberals like Dershowitz wake up and realize that the Arabs want only one thing, and that is to push the Jews of Israel into the sea. When he comes to live in Israel he will have the right to criticize us.

Ma’aleh Adumim

Sir, – Strange that Prof. Dershowitz has suffered no buyer’s remorse when it is painfully clear that he has purchased a lemon.

Even though he has every right to cling to the Jewish love affair with liberalism, many of us believe that the presidential election should include a referendum on the candidate’s support for Israel. And on this, no matter how Obama wants to reinvent himself for the campaign, his world view is sorely slanted away from Israel.

Having listened to Obama and watched his actions over his first term, I ,too, believe him – which is precisely why I do not trust him. For someone who deserves the greatest respect for his tireless efforts in defense of Israel, Dershowitz needs to reexamine his love affair with the Democratic Party.

I, too, heard Obama’s pledge to “have Israel’s back,” but based on his actions thus far my concern is that this is where he’ll stick the knife.

Anchorage, Alaska

Sir, – Alan Dershowitz very conveniently forgets that following the US veto of the UN resolution on settlements, Ambassador Susan Rice delivered a scorching diatribe condemning Israel and its settlement policy.

But that wouldn’t fit his paean to Obama.


Sir, – Alan Dershowitz proves once again that old liberals never die – they just reinvent themselves! His praise of US President Barack Obama’s “accomplishments” shows the same myopic thinking that led him to support the rights of American Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, only a few decades after the unspeakable Holocaust.


Sir, – Alan Dershowitz overlooks one central issue relating to US President Barack Obama. This concerns Jonathan Pollard, toward whom Obama lacks any humanitarian concern despite the plethora of requests for his pardon.

Moreover, Dershowitz does not consider the growing perception of an anti-Semitic bias against Pollard by Obama.

But more incredulously so, Dershowitz, an alleged legal scholar, also chooses to neglect the fact that Pollard was denied basic due process during his judicial proceedings.

Thus, it would behoove Dershowitz to do some self-introspection vis-a-vis his enamored state with Obama.


Quit whining Sir, – People should quit whining about Jonathan Pollard. He was a spy and was given a fair trial. He was lucky not to have been executed.

Pollard violated his oath. The fact that he was committing espionage for a “friendly power” is no excuse. He was prosecuted for his actions, not for his religion or political sympathies.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Top protection

Sir, – Although I am not an expert, I wish to take issue with Boaz Ganor that “the State of Israel cannot and should not provide security for even some of its nationals when they are overseas” (“Questions and lessons from the Burgas bus attack,” Comment & Features, July 30).

It is in Israel’s interest to protect Israelis and Jews. It is in Israel’s heart and basic belief to protect Israelis and Jews.

Some security forces in other nations will protect Israelis and Jews very well, but the innate basis for this just isn’t there. Part of the raison d’etre of a Jewish state is to provide a safe haven for Jews and to be there for Jews who are in peril (think of the heroic and miraculous rescue at Entebbe).

I, for one, would like to see Israel involved in security for Israelis and Jews the world over.

No one does it better – except, of course, for God.

Beit Shemesh

It’s in the Bible Sir, – Regarding “Cruel cut” (Letters, July 30), reader Alexander Bar-Elan asks: “So who gave the right to man to mutilate what God created?” Apparently, he is unfamiliar with the Old Testament, in particular the covenant between God and Abraham. Genesis 17:10-12 says: “This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised.

And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant between me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you....”

In addition, Bar-Elan’s statement, that a person can be “just as devout or Jewish” with or without a foreskin, is absolutely absurd. Genesis 17:14: “And the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.”


Look who’s talking Sir, – It was a little funny to read the disingenuousness in “Obama campaign slams Romney’s policies ahead of his arrival in Israel” (July 27).

It was disingenuous because as a one-term senator and candidate for president, Obama had no more foreign policy experience than Romney does. And funny, because after nearly four years it’s a strain to think of one area of foreign policy in which Obama can claim any significant success.


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