Regarding “Haredim not meeting targets for civilian service enlistment” (November 10), there is one obvious step that would make haredi rabbis stop opposing national service for the thousands of boys who are destined to live on government handouts all their lives without ever contributing to the society that supports them.
I suggest that registration for national service at the appointed time be a prerequisite for voting in national and local elections.
Preach and practice
The juxtaposition of two stories on one page of your November 8 issue reveals a delicious irony about the US Reform movement.
In the first (“US Reform leader tells Diaspora not to support ‘misguided’ Israeli policies”), Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, literally tap-dances out his message that the movement needs to diversify from its social action agenda and actually connect with things Jewish: Shabbat, prayer, kashrut, study, etc. It is clear from his message that the movement has become a Jewish version of the Quakers, the Ethical Culture Society and the Unitarians, groups that have cashed in any pretense of traditional theological focus in favor of liberation theology.
The second article (“American Jews need to have more babies, says outgoing JFNA chairman”) states the obvious, for other than Orthodox Jews, US Jewry is not reproducing itself and will face “all kinds of challenges of survivabilty.”
So, lets see: We have a movement that has turned away from what has enabled Jewish survival for the past 2,000 years to pursue a universal and distinctly non-particular platform of do-gooding, and in the process is demographically slip sliding away. Here’s something for Rabbi Jacobs to consider: Your ship is sinking. What you have staked your existence on can be found in many other places. You don’t have to be Jewish to save the world. But you do have to be Jewish to preserve your Jewishness.
So, good for you, Rick Jacobs, that you belatedly recognize that the Reform movement needs to embrace Judaism as it has been practiced since time immemorial.
But it would behoove you to show a little humility about the fact that you might not be the appropriate person to criticize the religious practices of Jews who actually practice Judaism.
Rosh Pina Kosher chandeliers
Michael Freund (“When kashrut agencies put profits before prophets,” Fundamentally Freund, November 5) describes his surprise at finding an “OU” on the label of a chandelier cleaner he found while walking down the aisle of a Home Depot store. He might have overlooked one possibility.
It’s conceivable that the cleaner was labeled as being for chandeliers, but it might also be used for cleaning other items made of crystal, such as the bowls, dishes and goblets that many use for serving food and drink at their tables. That being the case, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many people who are scrupulous about kashrut would prefer using a cleaner manufactured under proper kashrut supervision, such as that of the Orthodox Union.
Beit Shemesh Interplanetary ideas
Yoni Dayan’s suggestions to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (“Are we living on the same planet?” Comment & Features, November 1) make me want to ask Mr. Dayan the same question.
The suggestion that Prime Minister Netanyahu should announce that Israel is willing to return a large percentage of the West Bank (after two of his predecessors offered enormous concessions that were never even considered before being summarily rejected) falls into the definition of insanity (if you keep doing the same things and expect different results).
The writer’s second suggestion is that the Palestinian Authority should hold elections. Really? Would anyone at all think they’d be elections reflecting the will of the Palestinians and not carefully overseen by Hamas? He suggests that the elected Palestinian leader agree to renounce all claims to the land remaining under Israeli control and say that any peace agreement with Israel will be the end of all claims. This will never happen because it is constantly reiterated that nothing less than all of Israel is Palestinian, including the Western Wall in Jerusalem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
Finally, Mr. Dayan suggests that Hamas, Fatah et al should renounce violence.
None of the suggestions for actions by the Palestinians would so much as be considered as they are now represented.
The rationale for all these suggestions is that the world would see how much we are offering and how intransigent the Palestinians are. But the international community will do as it has done: nothing.
It is we who will be seen as the evil force in the Middle East for presenting such “difficult” conditions.
So really, Mr. Dayan which planet are you living on?
Jerusalem Forgotten fact
Many people in Israel and around the world still believe that if Israel would just return to the 1949 armistice lines, we’d have peace. However, a seemingly forgotten fact might convince even the strongest believers in the twostate solution that their views are far from reality.
The PLO was founded in 1964, three years before the so-called occupation. The group’s stated goal was the “liberation of Palestine” through armed struggle.
Was it trying to liberate the Palestinians from Jordanian occupation? I think we all know the answer to that.
Efrat Different world
Liat Collins’s very interesting “The Rabin I remember” (My Word, October 30) includes a memory that appeals to me as well. She writes: “Above all, I remember a tour of the newly renovated British Mandate-period Illegal Immigrants Camp at Atlit where Rabin nostalgically recalled his experiences as the deputy commander of a Palmah nighttime operation that helped more than 200 immigrants break out.”
No wonder Rabin was one of the prototypes (the other being Moshe Dayan) for Leon Uris’s character of Ari Ben-Canaan in Exodus.
I genuinely believe that there would be peace between Israel and the Palestinians had Rabin not been assassinated, and we would be living in a somewhat different world.
New York No need for anger
In response to all those who have expressed anger over the local English news being dropped from TV, and criticizing the way English speaking immigrants are being treated, I would say that no one immigrating to another country should expect to be pandered to.
Make an effort to learn the language and try to integrate. Read newspapers written in English – but don’t be critical.
Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach Guy Goodes was relieved of his position (“Goodes gone as coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv,” Sports, November 10) the same week that Oded Katash was fired as head coach of Hapoel Tel Aviv. How wonderful it would be if they were to join forces and establish a school for youth wishing to gain experience from the very best players, providing longterm potential for our many basketball clubs.
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
CLARIFICATION The name of Swedish politician Ulrika Edman was inadvertently deleted from the text of “In Sweden, a Kristallnacht memorial without Jews” (November 10). The text should have said: “While according to Ulrika Edman of the Vänsterpartiet (Left Party) in Sweden, a ‘lack of communication’ was the ‘main reason for this tragic misunderstanding.’”