October 29: Are we mad?

Yeshiva students who wish to enter the workforce should be able to show their merit without fear of prejudice.

October 28, 2010 23:06
3 minute read.
October 29: Are we mad?

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Are we mad?

Sir, – Regarding “Umm el-Fahm residents riot in response to march commemorating Kahane” (October 28): Are we raving mad here? Why does the High Court of Justice allow incitement at this level, which causes hatred and costs the country millions of shekels?

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Tel Aviv

Manners maestro

Sir, – Regarding “MKs will learn some manners to avoid blunders abroad” (October 28), I note that the special course was offered to the MKs by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. I presume the first lesson in etiquette will describe how to position yourself sitting at a higher level than the person you are meeting with.

Kfar Saba

It is not ‘meddling’


Sir, – I am afraid Martin D. Stern (“Don’t meddle,” Letters, October 28) has misunderstood the purport and content of the bill submitted by MK David Rotem (“Chief Rabbinate panel’s validity challenged by bill that would legislate all IDF conversions,” October 25) – who incidentally is a proud Torah-versed and - observant Jew.

The bill simply prevents the retroactive disqualification of a conversion performed by a duly authorized Orthodox rabbinic authority. It indeed leaves the validation of conversion to the rabbinic authorities, who – as Stern rightly states – “are the only ones competent to make such decisions.”

But once that decision has been made, it is a gross violation of Halacha to disqualify it, as amply demonstrated by Shas MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem in his exhaustively documented Zera Yisrael and Mekor Yisrael, which include the supportive, reasoned judgment of his mentor, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, as well as the imprimatur of other world-renowned Sephardi and Ashkenazi Torah authorities.


A trained mind

Sir, – Professor David Newman’s article “The yeshiva and the workplace” (October 26) would be more persuasive without its negative innuendo. By writing about “tens of thousands of people lacking anything but a yeshiva education,” Newman implies that yeshiva education comes a poor second to university education.

As an academic who has spent over 30 years teaching literature in universities, I cannot claim that university students, trained in the humanities, end up better qualified to work than their yeshiva counterparts. Both are trained to handle texts, examine a range of interpretations, question and rethink topics, formulate and discuss ideas and relate these to themselves and to current situations.

My students went into the workforce, taking up managerial positions all over Europe, not because they had a degree in French literature, but because they could demonstrate a trained mind.

Yeshiva students who wish to enter the workforce should be able to show their merit without fear of prejudice.

Beit Shemesh

Opening our hands

Sir, – A man died in Jerusalem on Tuesday. I didn’t know him, but he had a name and a mother who bore him in the country he came from.

He had reached for the handrail of the stone steps before he hit the pavement, but it would not have mattered, for his heart had failed him due to hunger. He was poor and shoeless and did not even have a beggar’s cup as he fell dead to the pavement. And more importantly, he was all alone.

The passersby around me barely stopped to notice the ending of a life, but I did, and it saddened me greatly. I had trouble eating my felafel pita several hours later, knowing that this would have been a feast for days to this man I did not know.

So I will give a little extra tsedaka from now on, to those who seek a way to survive from one day to the next as I sit here in my warm home, with food in the kitchen, knowing how secure I am compared to some.

Ma’aleh Adumim

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