letters to the editor.
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Sir, - Thank you for your report, "Baron Rothschild leaves important legacy to French Jewry," (June 20). The Rothschild family held for a very long time a leadership position in the French Jewish consistoire.
Baron Guy de Rothschild (1909-2007) followed that tradition, but had to resign after divorcing his first wife, Alix, and in 1957 marrying Marie-Helene who was a Roman Catholic.
A anecdote: My father, Rabbi David Feuerwerker, was the general-chaplain of the French Navy, a position he created. For the bar-mitzva of David de Rothschild in 1955, he sent a gift delivered personally by his secretary - a sailor. After my father's passing, in 1980, I found a letter of thanks written by David de Rothschild, impressed to receive a gift by a sailor in uniform!
After leaving the presidency of the consistoire, Guy de Rothschild continued to work for the French community and Israel. But it marked the end of an era.
Highland Park, New Jersey
In the beginning
Sir, - In connection with Ruthie Blum's "One on One" interview with George Gilder, "Faith in Hierarchy," (June 21), let me point out that Gilder is not a scientist. He is an economist - a pioneer of the failed supply-side or voodoo economics.
He is thus not "a scientist who questions evolution." In this he has a lot in common with his fellow Discovery Institute members - most of whom are likewise not scientists, but theologians, philosophers, lawyers, English majors, etc.
Evolutionary biology - which Gilder and his fellow neocreationists falsely label "Darwinism" - says nothing whatsoever about the existence of non-human "intelligence in the universe."
That "evolution happens in various limited ways" is an ongoing, delusional, creationist whine. They accept micro evolution (evolution within a species), but deny macro evolution (evolution above the species level), in spite of direct observational evidence that speciation (the division of one species into two, and thus a form of macro-evolution) occurs.
In railing against "materialists" Gilder is not just railing against evolutionary biologists, but against all science and all modern Western jurisprudence, all of which is based upon methodological naturalism.
For Gilder to claim "that what happened with Albert Einstein was that scientists stopped being engineers and began being theologians" is rich, when you consider that the Discovery Institute has two theologians masquerading as scientists: William Dembski and Jonathan Wells (who after gaining a Ph.D in theology, gained a second one in biology with the avowed intention of "destroying Darwinism").
Intelligent design does not "allow the possibility of God," it dishonestly frames the question in such a way as to attempt to lead the credulous to an implicitly supernatural and omnipotent "Designer" that could not credibly be anything other than God. It has been ubiquitously been rejected by the scientific community as religiously-motivated, vacuous pseudo-science.
Sir, - Can someone who denies intelligent design get into paradise?
SHULAMITH M. GUNDERS
Down to earth
Sir, - I immensely appreciated Ruthie's Blum's interview with economist George Gilder. His was the best defense of creationism - I know he doesn't call it that - I've read in a long time. Gilder persuaded me that intelligent design is a reasonable position even if I am not certain I can embrace it. I also liked Blum's questions. She made a difficult subject intelligible.
Long Israel, NY
Sir, - Nathan Burstein's report on El-Al (June 20) illustrates that Company's disdain for it's ordinary passengers vis-a vis it's business and first-class clientele, whereby the latter get actual improvements, whereas the coach section are given the false impression that we have more space, without giving us a extra millimeter.
El-Al's 777 economy seat configuration is the worst with less leg room than any other carrier. They should remove 2 rows of seats in economy and give us another 2-3 centimeters of leg room.
El-Al will start crying when the first no-frills airline comes on to the routes and passengers start deserting en-masse. If we are to be herded like cattle, we might as well not pay through the nose for the privilege.
Sir, - Larry Derfner's "Getting nostalgic over Gaza" (June 21) claims that the "original sin" in Gaza was Israel's arrogance in occupying the Strip after the Six Day War. Wrong. The original sin was Gaza's use by the Arabs for launching attacks against Israel starting in 1948.
Disengagement? easy choice
Sir, - Seldom have a pair of articulate Post columnists set out the two opposing perspectives about Gaza and the disengagement more clearly. Here are their condensed opposing arguments:
Michael Freund in "Take back Gaza now," Frontlines, June 22: "Israel pulled out of Gaza nearly two years ago, expelling thousands of Jews from their homes and withdrawing the IDF. Kassam rockets continue to slam into the Negev.
"To paraphrase Ronald Reagan's famous 1980 query to Americans, 'Are Israelis better off now than they were before the Gaza retreat?' It is evident that the answer is a resounding 'no.'"
Larry Derfner in "Getting Nostalgic over Gaza": "About 1,550 Kassams have landed since the disengagement. But in the last four years before disengagement, Palestinians in Gaza fired some 4,600 Kassam rockets on Sderot. So nothing's changed. However, the number of Israelis killed by Gaza Palestinians has changed dramatically since disengagement - for the better. Since the last IDF soldier left the Strip until now, eight Israelis have been killed..By comparison, in the five years from the start of the second intifada until disengagement, 148 Israelis were killed by Gaza Palestinians - 91 soldiers and 57 civilians."
So however difficult the situation for Israel is right now, the answer remains obvious.
Sir, - Re "Judy Montagu's "How Taiwan's sole rabbi keeps the faith," I recently returned from a few days in Taipei. Indeed, kashrut is a problem. However, for future travelers let it be known that one of the shops in the world's tallest building located in Taipei is Jason's Food Market. They have quite a variety of American products with kosher symbols. Rest assured no one will go hungry.