letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Happy New Year
Sir, - With the new year approaching, I feel wretched reading the news: Gilad Schalit celebrating his second birthday in captivity; Sderot residents unwilling to send their precious children to school; Olmert dangling the promise of developments in the Negev to entice Judea-Samaria residents; reports about Jerusalem being carved up, and of more Palestinian prisoners being freed by a prime minister with a 3%-approval rating, and a hodgepodge government joined together by selfish interest ("Stumbling toward catastrophe," Michael Freund, September 5).
The scent of weak Israeli leadership is in the air and international vultures circle it like prey. Israel desperately needs someone like Moshe Ya'alon for prime minister, someone with a bottom line and convictions rather than bottomless concessions, to provide us with hope for a better year.
Humanism & God
Sir, - I found it disturbing to read "Why serve God?" (Letters, August 31), whose writer felt that a religious worldview that focuses exclusively on serving the Creator is "utterly irreconcilable" with "our own" humanistic purposes.
I don't think it's hard to understand that a Creator's Will would include humanistic initiatives and interpersonal values. Just because some rabbis focus on ritual does not mean that Judaism does not value hesed, care for others, just as much. I suggest it's worth exploring religion broadly before dismissing it, and not stopping after the headlines.
Tallit of light
Sir, - Reading Linda Maurice's "Tie-dyed tallits in paradise" (September 4), I could not but remember the Tallit of Light designed by Rabbi Zalman Schachter in the early 1960s. It could well have been the first tallit produced that went beyond the traditional black stripes on white cloth most of us grew up knowing.
Reb Zalman designed the tallit with horizontal stripes of color. Each one, as well as the width and arrangement of the stripes, was based on the seven lower sefirot of the kabbalistic Tree diagram. They also represented the Six Days of Creation. Some of the colors were separated by black lines representing a kli, or vessel of creation. The colors used included blue/techelet, green,
yellow, orange and red.
The tallitot, currently produced by a commercial tallit factory in south Tel Aviv, are available on the Internet and at some stores that carry Jewish ritual items.
Association for Jewish
Renewal in Israel
Sir, - On August 27 you published an article titled "IDF: PA cracking down on Hamas in Bethlehem ahead of tourist boom" with a picture of "a local Christian leader." I would like to inform you that the "local Christian leader" is actually the Apostolic Nuncio (Vatican Ambassador) to Israel. Secondly, my picture has no relation whatsoever to the article. Last but not least, the picture was not taken "yesterday," but on the occasion of last Christmas and New Year season.
ARCHBISHOP ANTONIO FRANCO
Apostolic Nuncio to Israel