July 17: Paying their way

The unstated implication is that those haredim who are weeded out must be prepared for life outside the rabbinate.

July 16, 2012 23:29

Paying their way

Sir, – Regarding “Universal service vote delayed by a week” (July 15) on the issue of haredim and the draft, I am reminded of a Jewish saying I have heard: “One thousand are taught the aleph-bet; of these, 100 go on to learn Torah; of these, 10 study Gemara; one only is ordained a rabbi.”

The unstated implication is that those haredim who are weeded out must be prepared for life outside the rabbinate.

This is not to say they must be refused the opportunity for full Jewish studies, only that these must be paid for by the candidates, as is the case for all university students who fail to qualify for scholarships or stipends.


One more reason

Sir, – Regarding “Merkel tells Jews, Muslims they will be free to circumcise” (July 15), it has always astounded me that Jews have chosen to live in Germany in the post-Holocaust era. There are six million reasons why not to.

It appears that recent rulings regarding circumcision in that country have just added another.

Perhaps six million reasons were simply not enough?


Pollard first

Sir, – With regard to “Israel working on new incentives package for PA” (July 15), in the past Israel has adopted concessions suggested by the US and the Arabs eagerly accepted them, with no concessions on their part.

I would hope that with the memory of the late Yitzhak Shamir still fresh in our memory, Prime Minister Netanyahu will draw the courage, resolution and strength to first demand a major concession from the Americans: Release Jonathan Pollard before passing on any more concessions to the Arabs.

Kiryat Ono

Take it and run

Sir, – I’m a big fan of Woody Allen’s movies, especially the older stuff like Bananas and Take the Money and Run. But having him make a movie in Israel cannot be good for the Jews (“Is it time for Woody Allen to make a movie in Israel?,” Arts & Entertainment, July 15).

Allen is obviously a self-hating Jew with more neuroses than Dr.

Freud ever dreamed of. That $18 million could be put to so many better uses in Israel than financing what would certainly be an anti-Israel movie.

Ma’aleh Adumim

Sir, – Is it time for Woody Allen to make a movie in Israel? Maybe – but it ain’t going to happen. Why? Because it would be too politically nuanced for Allen, whose convincing caricature of the typical Jewish nebbish in his entire repertoire of films expressly reflects contemptuous disdain for his brethren.

This disdain is further enhanced by the fact that this talented filmmaker has never visited Israel nor evidently even come close to contemplating such a trip.


Easy option

Sir, – Danny Danon loves to throw around the words of the Eritrean ambassador to Israel when it comes to his attempt to expel all migrants from the country (“Arsonists target African migrants’ J’lem apartment,” July 13).

Tesfamariam Tekeste said in May that there was no danger in Eritrea and that migrants could return without fear of punishment.

That was a nice, reassuring message, but how much stock would we put in a similar statement from, say, Bashar Assad? I understand the resolve of some people to deal with the growing issue of African migrants, but Israel should never forget that most of its own citizens were once refugees, too.

Casually throwing people out of the country should not be an easy option.


Nefesh B’Nefesh

Sir, – Nefesh B’Nefesh celebrated its 10th anniversary with the admission that it failed to substantially increase aliya from North America (“Nefesh B’Nefesh looks back at decade of work and the road ahead,” July 13).

With all its good intentions, what went wrong? It was unsuccessful because it refused to deal with the main roadblock to increased Western aliya: jobs, jobs and jobs.

The truth of the matter is that there are few real jobs for most potential olim from North America.

These immigrants do not compete well for existing jobs because more-established Israelis know the language better and have personal connections. So, the only solution is the creation of new jobs for the specific needs of Western olim.

I am not suggesting a massive government make-work program.

I am calling for the challenge to be given to Jewish communities abroad. Diaspora investors can set up technological incubators in Israel for promising start-ups from their communities.

Industrial parks can allow Diaspora business people to move some of their own firms’ activities to Israel. Professionals can establish Israeli branches of their North American law, accounting and engineering offices. Physicians can set up specialized clinics for problems in such areas as pain relief and geriatric care.

North American Zionists can use their entrepreneurial abilities to develop facilities for their own communities, and by doing so allow them to partake in the adventure of building the Jewish country. They can develop educational facilities here for Jewish-oriented programs for their children.

Diaspora Jewish community centers can establish sports fields for their members to use for exercising while in Israel. Art colonies and music groups can be established for those who are artistic. Let the land overflow with North American-facilitated bicycle clubs, horse-riding groups and swimming parties.

The dream of large-scale aliya can be achieved if Nefesh B’Nefesh works toward job creation in partnership with Diaspora communities and with the active support of the Jewish Agency and government ministries.


Sir, – As a Canadian who made aliya back in 1976, Nefesh B’Nefesh was not around and I had to make my own decisions on where I was going and what I was going to do. Looking back, I made the right decisions, raising a family, working, etc.

Nefesh B’Nefesh is an inspiration for all like-minded Western Jews who decide, based on the heart and not necessarily on the head, to make such an important decision.

The heart makes the strongest choice for aliya. It worked for me.

Kiryat Motzkin

Learning something

Sir, – Bravo, Greer Fay Cashman! Her column “Time to stop bad-mouthing haredim and to open a dialogue” (Comment & Features, July 11) was wonderful.

She said exactly what I think but expressed it so very well.

I wish everyone could read it.

They would learn something.


Annoy the IOC

Sir, – Now that the Olympic Games are nearly upon us and the International Olympic Committee has again said no to a moment of silence in memory of the 11 Israel athletes slain at the 1972 Munich Games, the Israeli delegation needs to be proactive and remember its murdered comrades.

I suggest that the Israeli flag used at the opening ceremony be embossed in one corner with 11 subtle Stars of David. In addition, or alternatively, every Israeli participant should have 11 small Stars of David embossed on his or her hat.

I have no doubt that this will annoy or even outrage the IOC, but so what! This is an act of remembrance and we need to honor Israel’s murdered athletes.


Related Content

Mike Evans and Shimon Peres
September 19, 2019
My Hero, Shimon Peres