(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - We read your paper weekly and are generally encouraged by the people who feature in your UpFront magazine's Arrivals (or Veterans) page. We call it an "injection of Zionism," reaffirming our belief that we made the right choice in coming here.
What a bitter disappointment your May 15 column was: two people who, it seems, are here only until something better comes along; who believe this is not a "legitimate" place to raise children; who will take from the state but give very little in return; who willingly form their opinions on negative hearsay.
Israel is not without its issues and we all know how difficult making aliya is - but please do not elevate people like this to your pages.
Sir, - After a week of papal chaos on the streets of Jerusalem, I opened my Friday Post magazine to see Arrivals Johanna Roggan and Ari Miller.
The fact that such people drift into our country is unavoidable in a democracy, but who needs to read about them?
Her contribution is to ridicule our Pessah laws, while he misses his bacon and wants to get out before we disappear in 10 years' time.
My grouse is not with them, but with you for giving publicity to people who have nothing to contribute to our Jewish state.
Sir, - I have lived in Israel since 1961, and have lasted the distance very well without full-flavor bacon.
Sir, - It was unclear to me what this "estranged" American Jew and German woman are doing in our country, which they claim is no place to raise children.
Israel in fact offers one of the best environments for a child, despite the cult of war and peace that surrounds us; kids have much more freedom here than they would in other countries.
Miller claims it is "psychopathic" to send one's 18-year-old son to "kill or be killed," and that he and Roggan would never do so. Yet our country can only exist with the protection of our army. Every country must do what it needs in order to protect itself, and this is what ours is doing.
I was highly offended by the closing line: "I don't expect this country to exist for another full decadeâ€¦ so it'll be good for those close to us here to have somewhere to take refuge."
Who are these people to predict the future of our beautiful and miraculous country, born against the odds, flourishing in a short amount of time as no other country has done before?
Israel will exist in 10 years' time - but Miller and Roggan do not belong in it.
Sir, - Your choice of "Arrivals" was an absolute gaffe. I don't know what you were thinking of to publish the opinion of two people who just came here for fun.
Sir, - You should be clear what you want this column to be about. Do you want to profile people who came to forge a life for themselves and actually made it work - or to portray those who feel anger and shame about being here?
DEBRA NUSSBAUM STEPEN
Sir, - With so many inspiring stories of olim from around the world who are united in their support of the one and only Jewish homeland, why did you waste an entire page on two people who have nothing good to say about the country and are clearly unwilling to make any personal sacrifices to help make it better?
Roggan and Miller were pleased to see "some semblance of democracy returned to the American people" through the election of Barack Obama. As a lifelong Democrat, I was not happy to see "W" elected twice. There was much to criticize about his presidency.
Still, to suggest that the US became democratic only when their preferred candidate became president was the height of arrogance.
EFRAIM A. COHEN
Sir, - I was shocked to read an article about two parasites who have made "temporary" aliya and are being partially sponsored by Israel's taxpayers. Perhaps Avigdor Lieberman's idea of requiring an oath of loyalty to this country should be applied to immigrants, as is the case in the US, to prevent people of the caliber of Miller and Roggan coming to here to sponge off us as long as it suits them.
Sir, - Was this some kind of sick joke?
Sir, - I assume you were trying to shock your readership. I have been living in Israel for 22 years, and guests at my Shabbat table have been ruder and more aggravating than last Friday's Arrivals subjects.
However, as my son was sworn in as an IDF tankist last week, I am a bit sensitive and emotional about my Zionism just now.
Welcome to Israel, Johanna and Ari! It's a free country. So feel free to walk our land and drink from our dwindling water supply, to share our food and the fruit of our labors while disrespecting our flag, our country and its inhabitants.
By all means, put your muddy opinions of us up on the coffee table, toss your stinking sarcasm on the living-room floor, and burp up your disregard for our existence.
I'll clean up after you're gone.
You're entitled to walk our land without fear. Don't worry about a thing! My kid has got your back - literally. He's just sworn to lay down his life so you can maintain your "so cool" lifestyle in your Tel Aviv bubble.
Before you leave the country to raise those kids you're going to have in that other "legitimate location," I'd like to bless you with this "Yiddishe curse":
May your children become Zionists, and return to settle the Negev, May they be fruitful and multiply and live inspired lives devoting their absolute best to this country and its inhabitants. May they be kind to each other, considerate of their neighbors, and warm and generous with strangers.
Sir, - "Arrivals" was a singularly inappropriate title for a column which usually presents interesting people who have made aliya and intend to stay and make some positive contribution to the future of our country.
Perhaps, on this occasion, the column should have been labelled "Departures."
And the sooner the better.
Sir, - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich's"Liberation from lust" (Health, May 17) was a shocking revelation.
A friend once had a used bookstore in Jerusalem with a section marked "Dirty Books." I remonstrated with her that it was degrading, and she should get rid of it. She told me: "Oh no. That's for the haredim. They only come in for those books."
Surely it's time for the haredi rabbis to realize that by isolating their men from any female contact, even casual ones on buses or in the workplace, they are increasing their curiosity even more, and in the most unhealthy ways.
The English-language Guard Your Eyes project sounds therapeutic, but does not tackle the root cause: unnatural separation of the sexes from childhood on, causing haredim to focus on "the forbidden" and see every young woman as a sex object.
Sir, - Many thanks for Ruthie Blum Leibowitz's inspiring interview with Dvora Waysman ("Lights... camera... jahnun!" May 14).
Over 30 years ago, I fortuitously came upon a poem that lovingly described her thoughts on her adopted city of Jerusalem. It was so moving and affected me so deeply that, then and there, my plans for aliya became more than just a nebulous hope for the future.
A few years later, after we had come here, I met Dvora and told her how one of her From My Balcony poems had been our inspiration for aliya, and I thanked her.
RUBY RAY KARZEN