Zvika Klein describes the efforts in which the United Synagogue in Britain is involved in making prayer services more spiritual, enjoyable and “participatable” as attendance has somewhat declined because of COVID (“Prayer services don’t need to last for three hours,” June 10).
It reminded me of my own experience while attending High Holy Day services in a popular synagogue in Montreal many years ago. The High Holy Days often fall on the same days as baseball’s World Series and on this particular day, an important game was about to begin.
As the hour of game time became closer and closer, the praying audience became more and more jittery, constantly looking at their watches, shuffling their feet and looking at the exit doors. Finally, a leading individual got up from his seat, approached the cantor and rabbi leading the services and whispered in his ear, gesturing impatiently with his hands.
The services rapidly went into high gear and were soon over. Everybody went home happily in time to watch baseball. A beautiful demonstration of community action.
There is one particular type of person who is universally despised – he is “The Snitch” – the tell-tale, the betrayer, the one who stabs you in the back, and this was what came to my mind as I read “NGOs call on Silman to expose ‘incriminating’ information on Orbach,” (June 10).
Silman, after receiving voluminous praise after her decision to leave the coalition based on her principles, has now blotted her copybook – big-time.
I have no doubt that the so-called information which she supposedly has regarding Nir Orbach was gained through a close, maybe even confidential, relationship she may have had with him. (After all, they were partners in the top slots of the same political party.) To turn on a person and abuse his confidence for one’s own personal purposes, is indeed the worst of all the different degrees of being a snitch.
“Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins,” says the Book of Ecclesiastes. Yes, indeed, everyone has something he has done or not done about which he is far from being proud, and hopes that this deed or omission will remain hidden from the eyes of the people with whom he interacts. How much more so is the case in point where the “snitch” threatens to reveal the “information” in order to save her own political skin.
Whether this is a criminal matter or not, a snitch is a snitch!
When Joe Biden was nominated to run for president of the US, many people pointed out that in a very long parliamentary career, he had been wrong on every major issue. To no one’s surprise, but to everyone’s frustration, he has turned out to be as bad as anticipated.
The interview with Ahmad Tibi (“The most powerful man in the Knesset?” June 10) demonstrates that the man who walked out of the Knesset when Canada’s finest prime minister, Stephen Harper, was invited to speak, is wrong on just about every issue that was discussed, that he is a detriment to his own community, and that he is very harmful to the Jewish state.
The end is nigh?
I’ve been struggling to define how I feel about the impending end of the Bennet/Lapid coalition, though the demise certainly comes as no surprise. Others, I’m sure, are no less confused than I and equally uncertain about the end of the “great experiment.”
Despite my many reservations from the very start, I am not, oddly, happy that the end is in sight. The thought of returning to the cycle of repeated elections and fruitless coalition negotiations is not something to look forward to. You won’t hear me cheer, once an official statement of the dissolution of the government is released.
Nor can I be merely complacent about the whole business. My future, after all, is part of the equation, and it would be blatant irresponsibility to simply shrug the matter off as if it doesn’t make a difference. Many, I know, feel that way and I guess I can understand why. Fortunately, though, I still believe each of us can make a difference; que será será, for me anyway, is not an option.
What it comes down to is disappointment. Deep down, I had hoped that somehow this compromise coalition would work, and policies that are in the interest of the entire population would have been legislated and implemented.
Naively, perhaps, I expected the best of both worlds: Israel fulfilling its version of a manifest destiny on one hand and providing the justice and equality essential for a democratic society on the other. It was nice not being extorted by the self-serving interests of the haredim, and, yes, bringing an Arab party into the government was an important precedent that was long overdue.
For some 70 years Israel’s governments were either one way or the other. The composite promised by the rotation agreement provided a brief respite from the divisiveness that we speak endlessly about ending, but do little more than that. Backroom deals, threats and vulgar charges of racism quickly brought us back to reality.
As the great philosopher Yogi Berra put it – it ain’t over till it’s over, so we’ve not yet got a corpse to bury. What will happen in the coming days is anybody’s guess. It’s not too early to figure out which ballot to drop in the box this fall, is it?
BARRY NEWMANGinot Shomron
As president emeritus of JewishVeg and author of Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism, I was very pleased to read “Vegan fest is back” (June 3), which discussed the world’s biggest vegan gathering that returned to Tel Aviv.
I was even happier to have been able to attend the wonderful event, to see the huge crowd, mainly young Israelis, and to sample some of the delicious food from the wide variety of vendors.
The event inspired me to raise a key question: Why continue to eat meat and other animal products when there are now many plant-based substitutes with the appearance, texture, and taste so similar that even long-time meat-eaters can’t tell the difference?
I respectfully raise this question because animal-based diets and agriculture contribute very significantly to heart disease, cancer and other life-threatening diseases; to climate change and other environmental threats to humanity; to the massive mistreatment of animals; to the very inefficient, wasteful use of land, water, energy, and other resources; and to the risks of future pandemics. Indeed, eating animals and animal products violates basic Jewish teachings.
So, for your health and that of our imperiled planet, and to be more consistent with fundamental Jewish teachings, please consider taking advantage of the many plant-based substitutes, as well as the abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains, and shifting to a plant-based diet.
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZShoresh