June 20: Presbyterians and Anatomy

Presbyterian leadership’s contempt for Jews and Judaism.

June 19, 2010 22:31

letters. (photo credit: JP)


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Presbyterians and anatomy

Sir, – Douglas Bloomfield’s opinion piece on the Presbyterian Church’s long-standing anti- Semitic/anti-Israel history goes back to the founding of the state and earlier (“Presbyterians push to demonize, delegitimize Israel,” June 17). But it also brings back memories of my late teens and early twenties in an Irish, Scottish and English neighborhood in Brooklyn.

I had friends in all three groups. While none agreed with the other, their Jewish buddy got along cheerfully with all.

One of the Scottish/English epithets for the Irish Catholics was to describe the part of a chicken that passes through the gate last as the “pope’s nose.”

The Irish called that same bit of anatomy the ”pastor’s nose.”

Unlike the lay members of the church, the arrogant, obnoxious Presbyterian leadership’s contempt for Jews and Judaism leads me to refer the chicken’s rear as the “presbyter’s brain.”

Ma’aleh Adumim

Worthwhile investment

Sir, – Your editorial “A learned ruling” (June 15) presents in its usual, well-written fashion the arguments in support of the abolishing support payments to Kollel students.

However, I take issue with two points, one of which is an egregious error, and the other a failure to present the other side of the argument.

To say that “relying on charity” can have a “devastating effect” on the “father’s self esteem” and “undermine his ability to command the respect of his wife and children” is to demonstrate an abysmal lack of understanding of the haredi community.

It happens that my wife came back this evening from visiting our granddaughter who, with gleaming pride in her eyes, related how on Friday her husband had sat for a special four hours engrossed in Torah study, deliberately avoiding any interruption for conversation of any sort. Loss of self-esteem, of respect by family? It also seems this editorial is somewhat self-contradictory in that it denigrates the lifestyle of the haredi community, which is growing and flourishing and carrying the message of Torah Judaism to so many others, while at the same time pointing out that Judaism is being ravaged by intermarriage and assimilation among those not ascribing to that way of life.

So which is worthwhile – maintaining that community with minimal social support, or risking its loss, which could precipitate the disappearance of all vestiges of Torah Judaism, leaving an empty “Jewish” state.


On the other hand...

Sir, – While the government supports haredim in their learning, they find time to go out and riot (“Excavations and graves spark violent haredi rioting in Jaffa,” June 17).

Those who are rioting are not holding up their end of the bargain to learn Torah. Perhaps they have too much time on their hands – since they don’t need to work for a living.

They should be arrested and immediately drafted into the army.


Sporting compassion

Sir, – Regarding “A modest proposal for solving the kosher slaughter problem” (June 16), I would like to add that New Zealand has introduced foreign species, such as the red deer from Europe and the Himalayan tahr (a kind of wild goat that is very rare in its native habitat), for the purpose of sport hunting, which is done with the help of helicopters.

Norway and Iceland have started again to hunt whales, together with Japan. Of course, all these creatures die very quickly and painlessly when they are shot or harpooned, with no stress involved.


Yawn Emanuel

Sir, – Yizhar Hess (“Mazal tov, Zach Emanuel,” June 15) suggests that had Rahm Emanuel chosen to allow press coverage of his son’s bar mitzva, masses of Israelis would have been interested.

I doubt it. The Israeli public is far from sanguine regarding Emanuel’s role in the present US administration, and many perceive him as exerting a negative influence regarding Jews and Israel on an already hostile president.

As for Hess’s complaints regarding prayer custom at the Kotel, I have several points to make.

1. The Orthodox do not have a monopoly. All are free to worship at the Kotel.

2. One comes to pray at the Kotel in order to be in a relationship with the Deity, and not with one’s neighbors, whether male or female.

3. Segregation of the sexes does not preclude anyone from praying, while mixed congregating would make worship impossible for observant Jews.

4. It is fitting and proper that the traditional form of Judaism holds sway at the site of the ancient Temple, which has been the focus of traditional Jewish prayer for millennia.


No surprise there

Sir, – Former Supreme Court justice Jacob Terkel recently told Army Radio that he’s against investigative committees that draw personal conclusions concerning those involved (“Just who will be looking into the matter of the Gaza flotilla?,” June 15).

This is precisely the reason he was chosen – so that no one would be held responsible for the inexcusably flawed plan of attack on the Turkish ship and for the ludicrous public relations fiasco that followed. No one will be fired, and those found guilty will go on to plan and do the PR for the next snafu.


Sir, – Were Israel’s flotilla inquiry conducted by Moses, Christ and Muhammad, it would still be seen as unacceptable by the usual suspects.

Turkey, Iran, the Palestinians, the European Union et al don’t want an honest, balanced report that could be critical of them and expose their abominable actions and underlying mentality.

They want a report that will heap criticism and approbation on Israel, and they are afraid they might get something completely different.

Comox, British Columbia

Sir, – International pressure is mounting for an “impartial” inquiry regarding the flotilla incident, irrespective of an Israeli panel with international observers (“Hamas rises in the West,” June 15).

Surely it is time for world Jewry to demand an international commission of inquiry to investigate why Hamas has never given the International Red Cross access to Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.

Hamas’s actions run contrary to the Geneva Convention.

Were the boot on the other foot, no doubt there would be a world outcry instead of the deafening silence.


Time to try the UN

Sir, – The parents of Gilad Schalit are doing everything possible to get him back (“Schalit family: Gaza restrictions are last card to pressure Hamas,” June 15). However, their prime efforts are put into pressuring the Israeli government to release notorious murderers – to the satisfaction of Hamas.

I believe that if there were hundreds of thousands of people who stood in front of the United Nations and demanded Schalit’s release, it might prove far more effective. Non-Jews as well as Jews should be at the forefront and should also demonstrate outside the embassies of nations that have expressed sympathy for Schalit.

The Soviet Jewry movement succeeded because the world took part. The world can do the same now.

This is the time to make the UN aware of its responsibilities.


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