In regard to Yaakov Katz’s column of October 7, concerning his finding it strange to break out singing L’shana Haba’a B’yerushalayaim Ha’Bnuya, at the end of Yom Kippur. I can think of at least two good reasons why we should sing:
1. We should be so fortunate to see the completion of all the construction going on in Jerusalem – the skyscrapers, office buildings, etc., foreseeing the removal of all the cranes destroying the skyline. The final extensions of the light rail will be up and running, so that there will be no more horrific traffic jams that can take nearly two hours to get across the city.
2. More importantly, the building of the Beit Hamikdash. Mr. Katz refers to the cheating and stealing, corruption, and strife of the Temple periods. These were what led to the destruction of both Temples. What we are singing about is the idyllic situation, the days of the Messiah, when we will have what Mr. Katz wants: no more fighting, working for common goals, religious respect, and the undeniable fact that Jerusalem is the only capital of Israel.
So, L’shana Haba’a B’yerushalayaim Ha’Bnuya.
CHAYA B. GRODNER
Law of Return
I can understand MK Simcha Rothman’s feeling that MK Avigdor Liberman is seeking an extension of the Law of Return (to include fourth-generation descendants of Jews) to be driven by a desire to increase support for Liberman’s party, Israel Beiteinu (October 4). Yet, it is disingenuous for Rothman to claim that Liberman is working to destroy Israel’s Jewish character.
The sad truth is that, by putting obstacles in the path to conversion for people who entered Israel legally under the current Law of Return but are not Jewish according to halacha, it is the state rabbinate and haredi MKs who have shown a disregard for Israel.
Even people several generations removed from their Jewish forebears may have suffered discrimination as Jews in Communist countries. Conversely, even people whose mothers are Jewish are likely to have received very little Jewish education in those countries. Truly welcoming such people means offering them education and acceptance, realizing that they are unlikely to become strictly observant overnight and that such people might be more comfortable beginning their return to Judaism in Masorti or Reform congregations.
TOBY F. BLOCK
Russia and Ukraine
Regarding “For first time PM Lapid slams Russia” (October 11) I would like to paraphrase an oft-repeated quote from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, most recently quoted by the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar.
Referring back to a time when Eli Wiesel asked the rebbi whether or not to get involved in a pressing cause of the day, the rebbi replied: since there were many people already involved with that particular cause, “your job is doing what is good for the Jews.”
I respectfully submit that while Israel should indeed advocate for peace and humanitarian aid, the job of the Israeli prime minister is to do what is good for Israel.
The article by Rabbi David Stav encouraging national unity (“Re-embracing principles of Jewish unity,” October 9) is inspiring. However, the article is superfluous. Everyone, ranging from Itamar Ben-Gvir to Meretz, is in favor of Jewish unity. The problem is that the unity favored by Ben-Gvir is very different from the unity favored by Meretz.
This reminds me of the old saying: “Be reasonable. Do it my way.”
PROF. NATHAN AVIEZER
Dore Gold’s articles on the Palestinian problem are always a breath of fresh air and “no-nonsense” analysis (“Why a two-state solution won’t work, October 9). Only he goes not far enough.
Everybody knows, or should know, or needs to be told again and again, that the two-state solution is a non-solution. The war with the Palestinians will not end with the creation of a Palestinian state (demilitarized or not).
In the Palestinian emotional mindset, it is only the first step in the drive to destroy Israel. Nakba Day (“Catastrophe Day”) will still be celebrated only more ferociously, the demands to return to Acre, Jaffa, Beersheba, Safed and other cities, imagined or not, will increase in volume.
Vicious, libelous, attacks on Israel in the international organizations, the EU and the UN, will continue along with wild demands for billions, if not trillions, of money in reparations to redress the Palestinians’ infinite losses, their lands, homes and security. And, of course, terrorism will continue with ever greater force, invigorated by the success of the “first step.”
Israel must learn to live with the current solution/situation and stop fantasizing about peace and goodwill. The Palestinians will not give up their status as oppressed victims, perhaps the most oppressed in world history.
With all due respect to the memory of Barry Newman’s late father-in-law, (“Begging Forgiveness,” October 7) his opinions about Masorti and Reform Jews reveal many misconceptions and inaccuracies.
First of all, we see that the self-righteous so-called pious in the Orthodox establishment always lump together the two denominations in an effort to marginalize a large section of the community as not being real Jews. In fact, there is a vast difference in the practices and philosophies of the two movements, although they are united in trying to achieve recognition and respect.
I was raised in a United Synagogue (Orthodox) synagogue in northwest London. After our aliyah, we searched in vain for a synagogue where we could experience Shabbat and the holidays as a community, where services were not gabbled and babbled, where women were not stuck in a cage at the back, or in a gallery where the service could neither be seen nor heard.
The first time we walked into the Moriah Masorti synagogue in Haifa, we were home. The order of the service, the singing of all the familiar tunes, the friendliness and welcome of the community were just what we were looking for, identical to our previous Orthodox synagogue in London. The only difference was that families sat together and women participated enthusiastically, while the children enjoyed being with both parents.
In all the 45 years that we have been part of Moriah, I was not aware of any man being distracted or sexually aroused because he was sitting near a woman other than his wife. Shabbat and kashrut are strictly observed in the synagogue, but nobody is quizzed about their individual practices.
This is truly a community and it is a privilege to be part of it.
Yaakov Katz, in his article “Surrendering to Lebanon or confronting reality” (October 7) makes a strange statement. Describing the proposed deal with Lebanon designating which parts of the eastern Mediterranean belong to Lebanon and which to Israel, Katz writes: “…the money that will be made by Lebanon [by drilling for gas] will go to Lebanon. It will not go to a terrorist group.”
In what universe does the terrorist Hezbollah organization not control almost everything political and economic in Lebanon? And let’s not forget that the arch-terrorist Islamic State of Iran controls Hezbollah to a great extent.
Whether there will even be a deal with Lebanon is questionable. What isn’t in question is that Hezbollah controls Lebanon for the foreseeable future.
Regarding “Europe must move away from Russian energy,” (October 9), seriously damaging its own pipeline – thus hindering the flow and sale of its own fuel to Western Europe, ergo cutting the cash flow it now needs more than ever for its military conquest in Ukraine – amounts to Russia shooting itself in the foot.
If Russia’s intention was to disrupt its fuel flow to Europe, why not save themselves all that trouble and great cost by just shutting off the flow via the valve controls on its own territory?
The US, on the other hand, does have motive, and its navy was in the area in June performing military exercises. Not to mention, President Joe Biden did state publicly earlier this year that the US could, and would, if Russia continued misbehaving, disrupt Russian fuel flow to Europe and therefore much-needed funding for Russia’s war machine.
I’m no fan of Vladimir Putin’s Russia (in fact, I wear a ribbon with the Ukraine-flag colors), but I must note that the mainstream news media I’ve consumed has ignored this florescent elephant in the room.
FRANK STERLE JR.
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada