July 24: Requiem victory

Verdi's Requiem expresses the composer's genius for transcending mere notes to Divine inspiration and its text is largely, if not entirely, from the Bible.

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July 23, 2009 21:36
4 minute read.
July 24: Requiem victory

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Requiem victory Sir, - Re your letter criticizing the choice of Verdi's Requiem for a concert given by the great La Scala Company in Tel Aviv last week ("Mass Miss," July 23): From every conceivable aspect, both musical and spiritual, this was an eminently suitable choice. It expresses the composer's genius for transcending mere notes to Divine inspiration and its text is largely, if not entirely, from the Bible. The references to another religion are incidental to its performance as a work of music, and the association with the Terezin performance before an audience of Nazis only emphasizes those performers' triumph over adversity. Even if they had organized a cantata based on "Three Blind Mice" or "Frere Jacques," it would have represented a triumph of human achievement over adversity of the most horrific kind. To be reminded of this is to celebrate that moment in space and time of victory for the performers over their Nazi captors. We don't need to agree with the words in order to appreciate the music. STANLEY COHEN Jerusalem Limited sense Sir, - Re "Israeli, German Jews plan to return Federal Crosses over award to Langer" (July 22): Felicia Langer told the Post that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not threaten to obliterate Israel. We should be concerned for Ms. Langer, who must have severe trouble with her sight and hearing since she is clearly unable to either read the innumerable media accounts nor hear any of the numerous broadcasts quoting Ahmadinejad as threatening to exterminate Israel, the "Zionist entity." MARCHAL KAPLAN Jerusalem What's wrong with a little respect? Sir, - David Breakstone wrote about posters in Jerusalem's haredi neighborhoods that "warned the daughters of Israel to dress with a modesty that would literally keep them covered from head to toe" ("When worlds collide," July 22). Has he read those notices? They request sleeves below the elbow, dresses covering the knees and a bit more, and closed necklines. Nowhere is there anything about covering the head or wearing socks (at least on the posters I've seen). And what is wrong with requiring a little respect? And those "explicit scenes of female sexuality" in the movie that your writer mentions, do they really champion feminism? The Jewish view is that a woman is a precious jewel not on display for the entire world to see. But not in the Taliban way. The Toldot Aharon sect does not accept money from the government. Such groups are here because it is Eretz Israel and regard the political entity of the state as just another ruling body like the Turks and the British. From what I understand, they pay municipal taxes to the city, because they are residents here, but do not take National Insurance benefits because that would recognize the secular government as legitimate. Mr. Breakstone says we are supposed to "repair the world we were responsible for devastating." The fact that this country is basically secular, with, thankfully, some institutions run by Torah, is the devastation. That many here consider themselves "Israeli," as opposed to "Jewish"; that the average child in a state-run school knows very little about our history before Herzl and many do not even know the basics like the Shema prayer - that is the tragedy that leads to sinat hinam, causeless hatred. This has to be fixed. BATYA BERLINGER Jerusalem It's the occupation Sir, - Re "Segregated buses" (July 22): On Egged buses there is no clearly delineated section that can be identified as the "back of the bus." Therefore that designation can apply to any seat behind the first row. Women should start sitting from the second row on and tell the men that is the women's section, and they may sit in the first row. That would allow a maximum of four males on the bus. A.I. GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit About my 'saba,' Harav Ze'ev Gold Sir, - Thanks to David Geffen for the interesting and well-written Streetwise column about my late grandfather ("Rehov Harav Ze'ev Gold, Jerusalem," UpFront, July 17). A few factual corrections: His position in San Francisco was much earlier than his move to Eretz Yisrael. The description of the "friendship" with Rabbi Martin Meyer was distorted. The teachers college referred to was Bais Midrash Lemorim (TI) at Yeshiva College in New York, and not on the west coast. His position in Boro Park was at "Shomrei Emunah." It commenced (not concluded) during 1935, when he came to America for Mizrachi (in 1927 he was still living in Eretz Yisrael). His family moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1921, when my father was nine years old, and not in 1935. He fought for, founded and headed the Torah Education Department at the Jewish Agency. He was in America at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, when he spoke at what became the UN, and in other places, pleading the cause of the State of Israel. The 7th spot on the document was left blank until his return, when he signed it - which explains why some photos show that blank space while others contain his signature. An addendum: My father was a student in the Hebron Yeshiva and was there during the pogrom of 1929, when he was miraculously saved (there is much to be told about that). He then went to the Mir Yeshiva in Poland. CHAIM YITZCHAK GOLD New York

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