(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Exhibit No. 1
Sir, – I was delighted to read “Antiquities Authority to build largest archeology library in Middle East” (March 19). I expect that there will be ample room to document the authority’s incompetence and criminal negligence a few years ago when the Wakf Muslim religious trust, under the guise of enlarging below-ground meeting halls, dug through and removed enormous quantities of the soil beneath part of the Temple Mount, the “mother lode” of Jewish archeology.
I am sure the Antiquities Authority is aware that any archeological site has to be meticulously and painstaking excavated and then documented layer by layer.
But while being stringent with any building excavations anywhere else in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel, it did nothing while day after day, truckload after truckload, the archeological evidence of our heritage was reduced to rubble and taken to dumping grounds outside the Old City.
The authority abrogated its responsibility to the nation to take care of and preserve our archeological heritage – as did our illustrious university professors of archeology, our distinguished members of Knesset and our vigilant police.
Sir, – Almost every day the word “secular” pops up on many pages of The Jerusalem Post. In Shalom Hammer’s “America’s Jewish identity is contingent upon Israel’s Jewish identity” (Comment & Features, March 2), he states that “we should not expect secular Israelis to embrace religion.”
So what is a secular Jew in Israel? An atheist does not believe in God. An agnostic has doubts about God. Then we have many streams of Jews with different interpretations of the Torah. This makes me conclude that a secular Jew is one who believes in God but does not follow His laws.
I hope I am wrong, because if this is the case the secular Jew is a hypocrite.
Imagine a person saying that he wants to be an Israeli citizen or a British citizen but does not want to observe the country’s laws.
Would she/he not be considered a hypocrite? Many political leaders here proudly proclaim that they are secular, as though it is a badge of honor. In reality it is a badge of shame. (And secularists should not use the haredim as a crutch to turn away from observing the Torah.)
Givat Washington Holiday horrors
Sir, – Our cycle of Jewish holidays comes with certain unintended consequences.
Hanukka and Lag Ba’omer are plagued by the danger of open flames.
Yom Kippur is a strenuous fast day for any normal person, let alone those who are challenged by medical conditions. And Purim has its specific abuses.
Because of the widespread use of alcohol, especially among young haredim, public service notices appear annually before the holiday that wine, not hard liquor, should be the drink of choice. And the senseless choice of all sorts of junk foods to observe the tradition of mishloah manot (the distribution to family and friends of Purim baskets) is staggering.
There is an ancient rabbinic tradition that Queen Esther, in her palace, primarily ate grains and nuts so as not to violate the restrictions of a kosher diet.
Yet we do not find anything like this commemorated during the holiday.
When will there be an alliance of rabbinic luminaries, medical experts and the media to address the issue of proper Purim celebrations with healthy food and drink? In advance of next Purim, I urge that The Jerusalem Post’s astute health editor start the ball rolling to raise the level of consciousness concerning the healthy, nutritional choices for mishloah manot, and to motivate parents to supervise the way their children celebrate the holiday.