September 4: Surprise, surprise

Netanya is not "a predominantly Anglo community full of elderly Brits and Americans who have retired to the seaside in their golden years."

September 3, 2009 21:55
2 minute read.
letters March 2008

letters good 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Surprise, surprise Sir, - Gloria Deutsch is to be commended on her article about James Grover McDonald ("McDonald Street, Netanya," UpFront, August 28). However, she revealed a lack of knowledge that was almost offensive. Our community is made up of Brits, Americans, Canadians, South Africans, Irish and Welsh, the majority of whom identify as Israelis. Not all of us are seniors. We all made aliya to a city which happens to have a beautiful beach. We are not, as your writer suggests, "a predominantly Anglo community full of elderly Brits and Americans who have retired to the seaside in their golden years." She would have a hard time keeping up with those "elderly" people in their everyday pursuits - volunteering in all spheres of community life and, yes, also enjoying their well-deserved retirement. "One wonders how many who turn up for their weekly orisons have the remotest idea who McDonald was," she wrote. Our "weekly orisons" consist of the men being in synagogue daily for the morning, afternoon and evening services, and men and women attending Torah lessons in English and Hebrew three times weekly; as well as a twice-weekly kollel. And surprise, surprise - many of us already knew who James Grover McDonald was. EDITH OGNALL Netanya Jewish violins Sir, - Reading Elana Estrin's "Strings attached" (UpFront, August 21), I could not help remembering my encounter with an even earlier finding of string instruments in the possession of a "former" Jew in Italy - mentioned it in my book The Former Jews of this Kingdom: Sicilian Converts after the Expulsion (1492-1516). In my research on Sicilian conversos in the early 16th century, I came across an astounding list of musical instruments belonging to a musician of Jewish origins. The list was made in 1513 by the Spanish Inquisition in Sicily, which at the time belonged to the Spanish kingdom of Aragon. Matteo de Samsono of Palermo owned nine violas, lutes and a clavichord. He was not a Spanish immigrant, but a local Sicilian convert to Christianity. The list makes one wonder about the origins of the famous affinity of the Jews for string instruments. NADIA ZELDES Jerusalem She paved the way Sir, - I would like to add a comment on "What they're watching," (UpFront, August 14). I believe a grave error was made in not crediting the creation and success of the children's programs on Channel 1 to the brilliance of the late Esther Sofer. She demanded the highest standards and aimed for perfection from all the many people, myself included, who worked during those golden years of children's programming. We too often forget those who paved the way. Esther Sofer should certainly be remembered. PHYLLIS BLOCH Kfar Saba Less than kosher Sir, - The headline you gave to Faye Levy's Food Page, "'Eishet hayil' cooks for Shabbat" (UpFront, August 28), gave the impression that everything on the page was kosher. It wasn't. I refer to the recipe for "Chopped Liver with a Middle- Eastern Touch." Liver, according to all rabbinical opinions, must not be broiled in any receptacle, including foil. It must be broiled on a rack so the blood can drain away from the meat; otherwise the blood is reabsorbed, and the liver not kosher. In addition, liver, unlike other meat, cannot be "kashered" by soaking and salting. EVA HOLLANDER Jerusalem

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