August 21: Multiplex wars

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Multiplex wars
Letter writers to the Post have been trying to convince fellow readers of noble goals at play regarding haredi protests over the new Yes Planet multiplex in Jerusalem.
Jacob Himmelfarb (“Missing element,” August 19) claims he experiences hurt and pain from the very fact that the multiplex is open on Shabbat. Beverly Safsel (“Fundamental belief,” August 18) compares a movie being shown on Shabbat to someone breaking into your house and stealing your money.
Give me a break! A movie theater is not a noisy discotheque, and it is a stretch to conceive that Yes Planet’s location, off a main thoroughfare and at the entrance to Abu Tor, a largely secular Jewish-Arab neighborhood, might be considered, in Mr. Himmelfarb’s words, “the very spiritual center of Judaism.”
The haredi protests are simply another move to impose their worldview and practices on the rest of Israel.
What’s scary is that more “moderate” Jews subscribe to this line.
Women still walk on the streets of Jerusalem, together with men, dressed as they like. Kosher and non-kosher restaurants operate in Jerusalem (on Shabbat, too). People of all religions and all levels and expressions of Jewish religious observance call Jerusalem home. And other cinemas and businesses in southern Jerusalem already are open on Shabbat.
I imagine that many of these “allowances” might “desecrate what [Mr. Himmelfarb and other devout Jews] find holy.”
There’s a simple solution for those who do not want others’ practices and decisions to impinge on their sensitivities: Stay home!
I totally agree with reader Jacob Himmelfarb that “the desecration of Shabbat is an infringement on our spiritual well-being. It hurts to watch others desecrate what we find holy.”
However, I do not have such a problem living in the Diaspora. When I see a car driven through our almost totally observant Jewish area, I can apply the Talmudic principle of kol deparish mei rubba parish. This can be loosely translated as “one may assume that the driver comes from the majority of the population,” i.e., the driver is a non-Jew.
But, as Mr. Himmelfarb puts it, “it’s another thing to experience this pain in the very spiritual center of Judaism.”
Obviously, this is one reason for not living in Israel before the coming of the Messiah!
Salford, UK
In Jerusalem, there are religious edifices that function on Saturdays, including a large monastery close to the Knesset that for years has flown a foreign flag.
Jews can visit these places on the weekend, but that does not raise anyone’s ire.
It is just the modern, seductive, non-denominational movies that do.
Here, then, we have another instance of the venerated observation: The ingenuity of the over-righteous is the eighth wonder of the world!
A jewel’s sparkle
To read Isi Leibler’s Candidly Speaking columns is always a refreshing experience.
He explains straight from the shoulder what every Jew should know and understand about the animosity in today’s world.
There are still too many of our people who refuse to accept the need for a determined study of Jewish history – facts required to counteract ignorance and the calumny of Holocaust denial and delegitimization of the State of Israel. There are many who prefer to leave the duty to respond to others, remaining in the comfort of apathy, or who, by shameful behavior, provide ammunition to fire criticism against our people.
With regard to Mr. Leibler’s latest, “Jews and the Lucky Country” (August 20), it must be said that if Australian Jewry is a “jewel in the crown of the Diaspora,” the sparkle is the author.
Perth, Australia
The writer is a rabbi.