Sir, – I was appalled to read the article “Sons rebury father in new cemetery, fearing he laid beside less observant people” (August 8).
I could understand if the father was buried next to non-Jewish people, but not the fact that they thought the Jews buried next to him had not been sufficiently observant. I could also understand if the sons wanted to bury him next to his father who died last year, which is where they did now bury him. The sons’ father died at an early age.
But, that is not the reason why they reburied their father. Can you imagine if families do not like the person to whom their beloved is buried and decide to rebury them? How many exhumed bodies would there be? It is bad enough when people “look down” at others when they are alive, but to do so when the person has died is unforgivable.
We are all Jews, created in God’s image and have to learn to get along with each other, in life and in death.
Let us all begin by recognizing that everyone is not like us and that Jews can be different, but we are all Jews. We must learn to unite as one people! HANNAH SONDHELM
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Sir, – I was happy to read that finally someone is genuinely bringing “Thou shalt not murder” to the forefront of his political work and I feel proud that a fellow Jew wrote “Why I’m traveling to Rwanda” (Comment and Features, August 8).
For years already, and on many subjects, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has been a light unto the nations, just as we Jews are supposed to be. Our revulsion with murder is one of our most promising products for export, and it is great to see him “cash in” and work to stop genocide, to make the world a better place for all.
Way to go, rabbi! B’hatzlacha! MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN
Sir, – In appraising Avraham Burg’s lament over “Israel’s fading democracy,” (New York Times, Comment and Features, August 6) one recalls a wise man’s thought that there is nothing as lethal as a half-truth.
When, however, Burg excretes a string of halftruths characterizing Israel’s challenges, struggles and predicaments – in the public forum of the New York Times, no less – his allegedly concerned critique becomes pernicious. Neither Israel nor the US has surrendered their common dream of a world bathed in the socio-ethical warmth of “democracy, human rights, respect for other nations, and human solidarity.”
It is just that in the face of genocidal adversaries, national interests and strategies for protecting one’s citizens must determine policies, domestic and foreign. There may be American Jews and American non-Jews who do not approve of the Israeli government’s policies.
Polls indicate, however, that most American Jews and most American non- Jews support Israel. That Israel has moved in recent years economically towards capitalistic strategies may have neglected segments of its population. Yet only the wilfully blind would fail to note the middle-term and long-term disasters befalling the socialist paradigm.
Every enlightened country in the world – including Israel – struggles to find a sensible socio-economic balance.
Inside the UN Israel may appear to be perennially damned and isolated. Outside the UN’s hypocritically hallowed walls Israel's diplomacy and its technological and socio-ethical image is ever expanding its outreach to old and new markets.
As far as Israel’s ultranationalist posture is concerned, Burg’s use of loaded epithets like “persecutor” and “brutality” to describe Israel in the otherwise endemic slaughterhouse of the Middle East is plainly sophomoric and demagogic.
All in all, his diatribe adds up to the weary whining of a frustrated adolescent.AVRAHAM FEDER
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