Sir, – Regarding “Of silence, soldiers and switching gears”
(Comment & Features, May 8), almost nine years ago I went to sit shiva with
my husband at the home of Stewart and Susie Weiss.
Hearing of their loss,
my husband and I were moved to visit neighbors we did not know in an act of
comfort. I, a lady in a green pants suit, sat with the women, most of them
dressed observantly, quietly trying to help give strength. They couldn’t know
that I, too, had “entered the club no one wants to join,” almost 40 years ago
now. They couldn’t know that as I told Susie Weiss, “May you know no more
sorrow,” I, too, was holding grief in my heart.
I was just a neighbor,
undertaking a simple act of solidarity....
Over the years, Rabbi Weiss
has touched my heart many times with his thoughts and musings on the ways of our
world and of Israel. May he go from strength to strength, and may the whole
Weiss family know no more sorrow.REIDA MISHORY-ISSEROFF
We mourn all soldiers lost to us all the time, but today is specially set aside
for this purpose.
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On this day we should not forget our kidnapped soldier
who has been captive for almost five years.
We have been unable to get
Gilad Schalit released and we do not even know how he is faring.
has come for Israel to take all measures possible to find out how he is and if
A concerted demand must be made for the Red Cross to visit him.
Our government should call on the world to insist that this happens. Until this
is achieved, the government should stop all visits to Palestinian prisoners by
both family and friends.
Stringent measures should be taken to deprive
Hamas – and now also Fatah – of the assistance Israel gives in whatever form. At
least we will know what is happening with this precious soldier, and the rest of
our soldiers will know how much we value them.MIRIAM APTER
Sir, – Thank you so much for your tribute to the outstanding
geriatrician, Dr. Ephraim Yaul of Herzog Hospital, and your wonderful review of
his new book (“Trying to reach 120,” Health & Science, May 8).
late husband, Avram, was a patient in Dr. Yaul’s department for over a year
following a series of debilitating strokes, and I consulted with him frequently
during that time. He cared for his patients with a special combination of
medical experience and personal sensitivity. And, thankfully, he also found time
to address the needs and concerns of the family.
I am forever grateful to
Dr. Yaul for his support during that difficult period. May he be blessed with
continued health and activity, until 120.JAN SOKOLOVSKY
Sir, – In “An exemplary judge” (Comment & Features, May 5), it
is mentioned that Moshe Landau presided at Adolf Eichmann’s trial and it was he,
too, who pronounced the only death sentence ever carried out in Israel’s
This is a common fallacy that has been repeated numerous times
in various newspaper articles.
In fact, the death sentence was carried
out twice in Israel.
The first case was Meir Tobianski, a former
commander of the Schneller army camp in Jerusalem who, during the War of
Independence, was suspected of passing information to the enemy. He was tried by
a special military court martial on June 30, 1948, found guilty and immediately
executed by firing squad. He was tried without a lawyer and with no possibility
for an appeal.
A year later he was posthumously acquitted.MARK
Jerusalem Greatly troubled
Sir, – The Prime Minister’s Office asked that
the Interior Ministry remove two housing projects over the Green Line in
Jerusalem from the agenda of the ministerial committee that approves housing
projects (“PMO lowers profile of east J’lem housing projects for Obama-Peres
meeting,” May 4).
This should trouble us greatly, as it once more proves
that our prime minister still worries more about what will upset the weak and
hostile Obama rather than building homes for Jews in the Jewish land, which is
what he was elected to do. We also have the usual double-talk from the Prime
Minister’s Office that has now become the norm: “Israel is maintaining a policy
of not engaging or publishing construction in Jerusalem at sensitive times.
Israel has never taken on restrictions in Jerusalem construction.
building policies have not changed during any of the recent
It is time for the people to wake up and decide whether
they are prepared to allow Obama to run their lives, or whether we stand as
proud Jews, secure in the justness of our cause to build in our historic and
We did not finally come home only to have it taken from us
or, even worse, actually give it away.
Remember “Never Again,” and let us
mean it.YENTEL JACOBS
Netanya Change the rules
Sir, – Regarding
“Fischer: Home prices threaten banks” (Business & Finance, May 4), the Bank
of Israel’s concern to protect citizens from the dangers of spiraling interest
rates is admirable. However, citizens should also be protected when they are
locked into very-long-term mortgages at fixed rates without the option of
nonpenalty exit dates to exploit changing rates in the market
Notice periods should be fixed to enable flexibility and ease
population mobility, which, historically, was very unpopular with governments of
Kiryat Ono Time to rejoice
Sir, – No matter how many
proverbs he quotes, I absolutely cannot distinguish the fine line Shmuley
Boteach (“Hate bin Laden, but do not rejoice at his death,” No Holds Barred, May
3) is trying to draw between being thankful that the monster Osama bin Laden is
dead, but not, God forbid, rejoicing.
It seems to me that congratulating
US President Barack Obama and the American people, and subsequently giving his
thanks to God, are in complete contradiction to this! It would be inhuman of us
– as mere humans – not to rejoice at the death of this subhuman, as one would
upon learning that Hitler no longer inhabited this planet.NAOMI
Sir, – Shmuley Boteach made what seems to be an all-toocommon
error in discussing God’s reaction to the Jews who rejoiced at the drowning
Egyptians after the splitting of the sea: “Yet, the Talmud says God Himself
rebuked the Israelites: ‘My creatures are drowning in the sea, yet you have now
decided to sing about it.’” This is simply false. God’s rebuke was actually
directed at the angels that wanted to rejoice as well, not at the Jews. In fact,
religious Jews, including Shmuley Boteach, repeat this rejoicing in the “Song of
the Sea” every single morning near the beginning of their prayers.
Gemara is telling us that there are two different perspectives to evil people
being killed: an angelic view and a human view. While angels need to appreciate
the tragedy of the wasted potential for good in an evil person, humans are not
expected to do this.
In the opening chapter of the Laws of Mourning, the
Rambam spells out what our human attitude should be when truly evil people are
killed: “[Even] their family puts on white [festive] garments, eats, drinks and
rejoices, because the enemies of God were destroyed. And [King David] says about
them – ‘Behold, those that hate God, I hate.’” This may not be as politically
correct as some might like, but it happens to be what Judaism really
Ramat Beit Shemesh
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