Letters to the Magazine: Broken principles

Readers respond to the latest 'Jerusalem Post Magazine' articles.

Envelope (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Broken principles
Your article “Magic and madness: Midburn 2015” (Cover, May 29) fails to mention that participants are supposed to adhere to the “Ten Principles” as established by Larry Harvey, founder of the US-based Burning Man festival, after which Midburn is modeled. But it appears that two principles, namely civic responsibility and leaving no trace, were violated.
Severe damage was done to an archeological site. Yoram Haimi of the Israel Antiquities Authority asked that the temple not be burned to the ground and for organizers not to remove the remains with heavy equipment. The temple was burned to the ground, and heavy equipment was used.
Tel Aviv
Ethics and placentas
We read in “More than science fiction” (Start-up Spot, May 15) that “we collect cells from placentas after a C-section because the mother has to sign a consent letter.”
So the mother signs because she wants a C-section. Presumably there is some reference in the consent letter that mentions the cell collection. Does it mention the research being carried out on the cells? Does it mention that “from one placenta, they can produce 30,000 vials, each enough for one dose”? I wonder how much the company sells each vial for? I have not seen the consent letter, but from the way it is presented in the article, it would seem that the women freely agree to a C-section while being coerced into giving their cells.
Research that can help mankind is to be applauded, but the ethical issues need to be studied carefully.
Closed volume
In reviewing the recently published Koren Mahzor for Independence Day and Jerusalem Day (“New customs,” Books, May 15), Mati Wagner deals mainly with past and present haredi reactions to the emergence of the Zionist movement and the establishment of the State of Israel. Thus, the mahzor more or less ends up a closed volume to the readers of this “review.”
Wagner steers the reader to the matter of standing at attention during Holocaust Remembrance Day. He sees no problem with the hassid who ignores the siren. He asks whether the hassid is “less Jewish” than those who stand. His bottom line is that standing or not is simply a “matter of taste” – whatever that’s supposed to mean.
What does all of this have to do with the essential contents of the mahzor? Wagner simply ignores the task of a reviewer – and also the matter of civility in the scenario he describes. Those who disregard the feelings of those who stand in memory of the six million forget the overarching rule of civility stated by the rabbis in the Mishna: “Don’t separate yourself from the community.”
Mayor’s mayor
With regard to “Remembering Teddy” (History, May 29), it was when Teddy Kollek was mayor of Jerusalem that a neglected downtown area was rebuilt. While all the advertising signs were new and in the same style, I was so annoyed by the errors in the English- language signs that I wrote them down. I wrote to Teddy, congratulating him on the new amusement park he had created for English-speaking tourists, and sent him the list of the errors.
One advertised a “cosher” restaurant, and since a cosh is British for what Americans call a blackjack, it meant that British customers might expect to be hit on the head. Another advertised a “galanzer.” After discarding the Yiddish nationality Galantziar as inappropriate, I looked through the door, saw window frames and realized he was a glazer. Another sign advertised “jewellary,” with some watches being advertised as “washes” and others as “woches.”
I wrote to Teddy on Wednesday. The letter must have been delivered on Friday, because on Saturday night I received an irate phone call: “What did you do to me? I have to work all night!” Teddy had called the sign painter late on Friday afternoon and told him that if those signs were not corrected by Sunday, he was out of a job. Being religious, the sign painter worked all night between Saturday and Sunday, and by morning the amusement park had been changed into a street of small businesses.
No wonder Teddy was called the mayor’s mayor!