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Absorbed in prayer
Sir, - Emanuel Feldman approves of the new Reform siddur, but with heavy reservations ("Ground-breaking or heaven-breaking prayers," December 12). He is fearful of trendiness and prefers the prayers of the Patriarchs and Maimonides.
But he conveniently overlooks the latter's rationalization of animal sacrifices as an emulation of then-current modes of worship, and the fact that the Temple was built in an age of pagan temple building. He also overlooks the possibility that the universally revered yahrzeit candle may have been copied from the Catholic Church. As Mordecai Kaplan pointed out 75 years ago, the reason Reform grew in Germany and England was because they were Protestant countries, while Orthodoxy dominated Poland and Eastern Europe because that was Catholic territory. The new Reform prayer book is no more guilty of copying the goyim than is the "old" kosher siddur preferred by Rabbi Feldman.
RABBI JACOB CHINITZ
Sir, - Maybe Olmert has set the tone, but I've noticed an increase in whining whenever something doesn't go Israel's way. The latest is "Bad form on campus" (December 12). Two Jewish students from the University of Michigan are unhappy that a pro-Palestinian author has been distributed by the university's press. So they whine to The Jerusalem Post.
Yes, youthful Jews from Michigan, the world is unfair. Lots of people say bad things about us. Refute them. Challenge them. Or live with the fact that people will always support our enemies. But please stop the whining. It's getting embarrassing.
Safe for some
Sir, - Recently the government insisted that it was not obligated to fortify homes in Sderot being targeted by Kassams ("State: High Court must not intervene in its Sderot security policy," December 12). At the same time, the Prime Minister's Office has been secured against missiles and the Foreign Minister's Office has been relocated.
Is the government expecting missile attacks in Jerusalem? Have Olmert and Livni already agreed to cede land, knowing that what came true in Sderot will come true in Jerusalem? Are more Israelis expected to absorb missile strikes like the hapless residents of Sderot while leaders sit in their fortified offices?
Sir, - I was gratified to read "Hanukka lights burn bright in Iraq" (December 12) and Rabbi David Goldstrom's comment that "pluralism in America means that we as soldiers are allowed to practice our own religion even while fighting in distant parts."
It reminds me of a remarkable situation I witnessed when attached to a US Navy installation in Naples, Italy in the 1980s. Our Rosh Hashana-Yom Kippur service, run by the military Jewish chaplain, was attended by a number of Jewish sailors flown in several hops by the US government from distant assignments in Asian waters in order to attend the services. This was indeed heartwarming and I am pleased to be able to recall it.
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