letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Paul's alma mater
Sir, - I was glad, as an older alumnus of the Liverpool Institute, to note Ruth Posner's mention of the high school which Paul McCartney and George Harrison also attended ("Welcome, Sir Paul," Letters, September 22).
Founded in 1825, the "Inny" welcomed lecturers such as Charles Dickens and Ralph Waldo Emerson. It produced a host of distinguished figures including Charles Barkla, 1917 Nobel prizewinner in physics; W.C. Kneale, professor of moral philosophy at Oxford; Samuel Montagu, the Orthodox leader and the future Lord Swaythling, Sydney Silverman, the Labor MP who consistently attacked Ernest Bevin's Palestine policy, and classical composer John McCabe.
They were admitted on scholastic ability, not birth or wealth; Lord Oxburgh, the eminent geophysicist, was one of my classmates.
Viewing the Institute as a "bastion of privilege," in 1985 a loony-Left city council forced it to close down. It was the sponsorship and financial aid of Sir Paul that led to the Victorian structure's rescue and reopening in 1996 as the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
To David Horovitz's interview with Sir Paul ("Speaking words of wisdom," September 21) I would add the key role played by Beatles discoverer and impresario Brian Epstein. His family belonged to Childwall Synagogue, as ex-Merseysiders still recall.
Coinciding with Liverpool's celebration as European Capital of Culture 2008, Paul McCartney's Tel Aviv concert tonight is singularly appropriate.
GABRIEL A. SIVAN
Sir, - New oleh Yitzhak Meirowitch complains that because of the recent port workers' strike, "It's not fair that we are being charged double for something that was not our fault" ("Immigrant shipments are 'held hostage' after port sanctions," September 24).
How about being charged quadruple?
Our former phone company introduced a new computer system, which, according to its personnel, caused chaos in their systems. They disconnected our telephone, without warning. We protested, the customer "service" representatives agreed that it was the company's fault, but said they could do nothing about it. Then they slapped on a NIS 200 charge for the phone cancellation.
We agreed to pay, because we had spent hours getting nowhere with them.
On September 23, we were advised that we now owed them NIS 200 shekels - plus NIS 350 for a collection service. Failure to pay by September 22 (the day before we received their letter!) would result in an additional charge of NIS 200.
We call this Quadruple Hutzpa. And this time we are going to our lawyers.
We love this country, deeply. But you need an immense capacity for patience, and humor.
Man of dishonor
Sir, - Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law defines a whistleblower as "an employee who brings wrongdoing by an employer or other employees to the attention of a government or law enforcement agency and who is commonly vested by statute with rights and remedies for retaliation." The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "one who reveals wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority."
Mordechai Vanunu is not a whistleblower but a leaker of classified defense information and the cause of irreparable damage to Israel's national security. To refer to him as a whistleblower is to grant him a legitimacy and honor he does not and never will deserve ("Vanunu sentence cut due to ill health," September 24).
Sir, - Without trying to minimize the problem of corruption in this country and admitting that much is still to be done to reduce it, I would like to point out some errors in your report on the recently published 2008 corruption perceptions index.
The fall of Israel from 30th place to 33, or less than 2 percent, is within statistical error; a quick comparison of the 2008 and 2007 tables shows most countries shifting up or down by a similar magnitude. The headline "Israel loses ground in its own perception of local corruption" (September 24) was therefore misleading.
Your report also stated that Israel tied with the Dominican Republic, where corruption is widely perceived. But the tie is with the island of Dominica. The Dominican Republic, in contrast, is in 102th place.
Sir, - Yoav Sivan postulates that Sarah Palin is a "big concern for Jewish voters... because she is completely clueless" (about foreign policy) and therefore, in the best interests of Israel, "Obama-Biden is the natural ticket for the vast majority of Jews in America" ("Sarah Palin - pro- Israel by default?" September 24).
I would remind Mr. Sivan that Ms. Palin is running for vice-president. Compare John McCain's foreign policy credentials to Barak Obama's, and you could also say that Obama is clueless.
Lets compare apples with apples.
Sir, - The lines "those whose occupation gives them the drive to carry on" particularly resonated with me ("An ode to age," Judy Montagu, September 24). In my early eighties now, I find myself as busy as ever practicing my lifelong occupation as writer-editor-diplomat. Only now I do it more or less at my own pace instead of "9 to 5."
Indeed, I've always felt it a blessing and a privilege to be allowed to earn my livelihood doing what I most enjoy doing, using my God-given talents as best I can. And now I find this blessing carrying over into my retirement years.
And, of course, I start my day, every day, with The Jerusalem Post's Daily Brain Teasers. Just to keep in shape.
So, thanks for that!
...by eating right
Sir, - Judy Montagu gave people excellent advice on how to remain young at heart and in body during their golden years. There was one area, however, that she neglected to address: the importance of eating properly.
You often have a situation where an elderly person living alone loses interest in food and looks for shortcuts to good nutrition. There is no question in my mind that the fastest way to run a strong healthy body into the ground is through nutritional neglect.
Sir, - This op-ed missed the point. As the psychologist Viktor Frankl said, people must lead meaningful lives. That's what makes many of our senior citizens live longer.
One senior citizen I know is active in charitable causes and a member of her synagogue board. One day a week she tutors, voluntarily, at an elementary school that serves children from poor and uneducated families. She also attends classes in Torah study, and an ulpan. She is just one example of the many women in our community who give meaning to their lives.
Our synagogue has a daily Talmud class taught by a volunteer who is past 80. Many of his students are retired. During the day, they review their daily lesson and prepare for the next day's session.
Judy Montagu is wrong. It is not playing a daily Scrabble game that brings longevity, it is living meaningfully.
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