Letters to the Magazine 400656

Readers respond to the latest 'Magazine' articles.

Envelope (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Heartwarming, moving
The article and photographs by Sarah Levin (“Stronger together,” Cover, April 17) were most heartwarming and moving. The group photograph of the smiling, happy faces is seemingly deceptive, for it belies the deep, inward suffering these women live with in their daily lives.
In a most insightful manner, Levin tells of acts of unbelievable charity by a group of 10 hosting families in Antwerp who opened their hearts and homes to host this group and give them the time of their lives, far from home. They were a healing balm and effected the incredible transformation so beautifully shown in some of the individual shots of the women’s joyousness.
I want to thank the editor, who brought this account to our notice, and look forward to many such interviews to brighten and inspire the quality of our lives.
Sarah Levin’s article gave me pause to think of those bereaved mothers who lost family members in terror attacks. We usually read news about terror attacks that depersonalizes the victims. The stories of these brave mothers was moving. It saddened me that the Israeli social fabric includes such mothers. The heroic and larger-than-life actions of IDF soldiers such as Capt. Aviv Harkani bring tears to the eyes. They are a sobering reminder of the way young people put their lives on the line every day for the State of Israel.
Ms. Levin’s article was a narrative of humanity sorely missed in today’s mainstream Israeli media.
Dose of reality
“Hopeful reflections on a bitter Passover” (Just Torah, April 17) must be answered, on account of Rabbi Susan Silverman’s comparing Israel’s treatment of asylum-seekers to Haman’s and Pharaoh’s treatment of the Jews.
How does she propose to solve the problem of the tens of thousands of asylum-seekers who have entered Israel illegally? She says that “we could create ‘Democracy U’ – programs throughout the country that educate Eritreans and others in what is needed to build a democracy.”
To get a dose of reality, the rabbi should walk alone after dark on the side streets of south Tel Aviv. If an asylum-seeker comes out to meet her, it will not be in order to learn about democracy. I become angry whenever Europeans claim we act like Nazis. I become incensed when a prominent rabbi writes that we act like Haman and Pharaoh.
Petah Tikva
Jews and matza
As you correctly note in “Letters from the front” (Holiday, April 3), where there are Jews, there is matza. After being released from six years of imprisonment at a labor camp in Vorkuta, Siberia, my father was in the home of a Russian woman, delivering a package sent by her imprisoned son.
My father writes in his memoirs: “While sitting and talking to the mother, my eyes suddenly caught sight of a small box on the floor, labeled ‘Streit’s Matzos.’ The woman noticed my surprise and asked suspiciously what was I looking at. ‘What is that?’ I asked, pointing at the box. ‘Are you Jewish?’ ‘Yes,’ I answered, ‘and I haven’t seen matzos in seven years.’ She agreed to sell me one matzo. While excitedly munching on the matzo, I told her about Pesach, which I couldn’t celebrate since leaving home. I asked her to sell me a few more matzos for my friends in Vorkuta. Not saying a word, she packed three pieces, not charging anything. Upon returning to Vorkuta, I opened the package and with trembling hands doled out a kezayis [measurement of] matzo to each one of my Jewish friends, all of whom hadn’t seen one in years.”
Matza and other things were sent by the Joint Distribution Committee and other Jewish organizations to Russia, to be given to Jews. The government confiscated them and put them on sale in exclusive supermarkets, where high-ranking party officials could make purchases with special coupons.
Sometimes these officials sold their coupons on the black market. That is how this woman came by them.
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