July 31: Horrendous editorial

It is not necessary for your editorial board to wait until Yom Kippur to ask for forgiveness for this outrageous editorial.

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
July 30, 2012 22:38

 
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Horrendous editorial

Sir, – I was amazed to see your horrendous editorial “Tisha Be’av’s meaning” (July 29). It was chutzpah to blaspheme the beliefs of millions of Jews (including most of your readers) by referring to the Temple merely as a “holy slaughterhouse” and suggest, referring to Tisha Be’av, that the rabbis “call the whole fast off.”

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Tisha Be’av is the national day of mourning for the numerous tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, beginning with the sin of the spies, which led to 40 years of exile in the desert, and the destruction of both the First Temple and the Second Temple. On this day believing Jews recite kinot (lamentations) not only for the loss of the two temples but for numerous other tragedies in Jewish history, such as the slaughter by the Romans of the ten martyrs, the massacres of the Jewish martyrs of York, the Crusades, Chmielnicki, the burning of the Talmud in Paris and, of course, the Holocaust.

These may not seem important to your editorial board but they are of extreme importance to sensitive, believing Jews all over the world. The remarks in your editorial are extremely demeaning not only to the Jewish people, but, I must believe, to most if not all of the people whose names appear on your masthead.

It is not necessary for your editorial board to wait until Yom Kippur to ask for forgiveness for this outrageous editorial. They can – and should – do it immediately.

HARVEY SCHWARTZ
Jerusalem

Sir, –  The Jerusalem Post has always been supportive of Jewish holidays. That is why I was shocked when I read “Tisha Be’av’s meaning.”



At a time when hundreds of thousands of Jews were fasting and praying in memory of the exile and the destruction of the Temples, the writer of the editorial, in a very untimely manner, suggested that the observance of Tisha Be’av be abandoned or at least revised to deal instead with contemporary social problems.

The writer describes the Temple as a “holy slaughter house” – a crudeness based on ignorance and totally offensive to Jews who revere the memory of the Temple. The true designation of the sacred sanctuary is to be found in the verse: “For my house shall be called a house of prayer by all the nations of the world” (Isaiah 56:7).

Citing the Rambam’s rationalization for animal sacrifices is not relevant to Tisha Be’av, which did not require any special sacrifices.

The writer makes a great deal of the fact that the observance of Tisha Be’av this year was delayed to the tenth of the month and was thus less strict.

The tenth of Av is an intrinsic part of the Tisha Be’av period because when the Temple was set on fire on the ninth, the flames burned throughout the day of the tenth. Many Tisha Be’av observances are carried out during the tenth day of Av even in regular calendar years.

Last, but not least, when the writer proposes that the day be dedicated to current problems in Jewish history, it should be noted that Tisha Be’av prayers do not stop with the Temple.

They continue to bewail ruthless killing of Jews during the past 2,000 years.

The kinot include prayers mourning the dead in the crusades, and lately prayers have been added to bemoan the destruction of millions of Jews in the Holocaust, whose memory is still fresh in the minds of many Tisha Be’av observers.

STANLEY WEXLER
Jerusalem

The writer is a rabbi

Strength from Collins

Sir, – Hooray to Liat Collins for “Jerusalem calling...” (My Word, July 29) on the subject of the BBC’s convenient elimination of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. She exquisitely expressed what many of us expats, not only from the UK but from the US, feel when our former landsmen attempt to rewrite history.

It is confusing and conflicting to repeatedly find ourselves in a position in which our former nation of residence takes a stand opposing our present state of affairs. We often feel we must make excuses for, defend or explain that stand. Whoever said it was easy to be a Jew? This conflict of identities is nothing new to Jews, even within our own state. Thank God for our children, the sabras, who seem to lack this conflict of identities. Collins handled this beautifully in her eloquent article and in so doing strengthened the rest of us.

Just as the popular claim once was that the earth is flat, so it is with Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish nation. Despite popular opinion, it shall remain so until the end of days.

MEIRA OVED
Jerusalem

Last signs of Britain

Sir, – The letter suggesting the renaming of Jerusalem’s King George Street (“Street signs,” July 29) is so obvious it never should have had to be written.

It also contains an erroneous phrase: “surely the time has come.” The time came with the dawn of the day that Jerusalem was again the Jewish capital of the State of Israel, when landmarks of Britain’s infamy should have been the first order of governmental business.

Words are the power that tunes minds. Changing the name of every British-named street can be a germinal incentive to vitalizing Jewish pride and moral strength at a time when it is existentially essential.

And it’s too vitally important for being a bureaucratic playground.

The Post must immediately hoist the banner to help make it a major public issue and commitment.

PESACH GOODLEY
Telz Stone

Unfair taxation

Sir, – How typical of this government to propose an increase in VAT during the summer holidays, when every schoolchild in the land is taken by a parent or grandparent to purchase the long list of textbooks, supplies and clothing without which they cannot start the new school year (“VAT set to rise at least 1%,” July 25).

Many other countries also charge VAT. But in the UK, for example, there is exemption on children’s clothing and school supplies, as well as on textbooks.

Isn’t it time the Education Ministry enforced a code for purchasing these supplies whereby schools would make wholesale orders and distribute them on the first day of the new term? If Israel boasts about free education, these supplies should be distributed free or purchased at minimal wholesale prices. However, that might be too much to expect from a government that buys expensive cars and creates superfluous ministerial positions.

WENDY BLUMFIELD
Haifa

Sir, – We all know that the government needs to raise taxes and that raising the value added tax from 16 percent to 17% is the easiest way to increase income. But it will hit hardest those who are least able to pay.

The tax has a more direct effect upon the people in the lowest income bracket and is going to rise without a whimper being heard from the social justice protestors or anyone with a moral conscience. Writing a letter is all I am able to do to raise my own voice in protest.

AUDREY GOODMAN
Herzliya

Disagrees on coverage

Sir, – Martin Woker (“Criticism unwarranted,” Letters, July 24) is in favor of a free media. This, however, does not mean freedom to present onesided articles and comments guided by an anti-Israel point of view.

Looking at the reporting of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on Israel, including the West Bank, I cannot share the positive opinion of those “trusted professionals” who were asked to review it. Such a review must also consider articles from leftist Israelis invited to write in the NZZ.

Instead of getting comments from the other side, the NZZ simply rejects criticism.

HANSPETER BÜCHI
Staefa, Switzerland

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