August 4, 2017: Misleading pages

Readers of Jerusalem Post write back.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Misleading pages
Two recent front pages of The Jerusalem Post were truly misleading.
With regard to “Record 1,200 Jews visit Mount on Tisha Be’av” (August 2), many readers abroad (and perhaps even some in Israel) might have been led to believe – without being able to distinguish between the two distinct areas, given the understandably strong association of the Temple Mount with the Western Wall – that only 1,200 Jews went to the general site on Tisha Be’av. This would be shockingly exacerbated by your failure to see fit to seriously write about the many thousands of Jews who went to the Kotel on the eve of Tisha Be’av and the next day.
The accompanying photo showed only an altercation between police and three Jewish men near the Temple Mount. It was hardly in the spirit of Tisha Be’av.
On the front page of your August 1 issue, you could have shared a full panoramic view of the crowded plaza. Instead, your readers had to make do with a photo captioned “The saddest day” showing exactly 8.3 men on the night of Tisha Be’av standing or sitting against the Wall while praying and reciting from the Book of Lamentations. Is this the image that you desire to embed in the minds of your readers? In the article “Jews’ visits to Temple Mount jump 15% this year, says advocacy group,” which appears immediately below that August 1 photo, you state: “The Chief Rabbinate and many rabbinic authorities prohibit Jews from visiting the Temple Mount due to an impure Jewish status that cannot be expunged in present times.”
This is based on the Temple Mount being the actual geographic location of the First and Second Temples, with the Western Wall and plaza, while contiguous to it, being outside the prohibited area on the Mount. Those who adhere to the prohibition of the Chief Rabbinate and leading rabbinic authorities maintain that we can strengthen our hold on this holy place within the context of their halachic rulings by praying en masse at the Kotel and by respecting the unique, special holiness of the Temple Mount.
We need to show the world what the Western Wall Plaza looked like on Tisha Be’av, and we need to read about the spiritual intensity and sense of loss expressed on this day through masses of Jews mourning for the destruction of the holy Temples and for the other tragedies linked to this sad day.
Two comments
May I offer two comments on Rabbi Raymond Apple’s thoughtful “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?” (Comment & Features, August 2).
First of all, the “Big Bad Wolf” number he quotes is not an “English children’s song.” Composed by Frank Churchill and Ann Ronell, it was the theme song of The Three Little Pigs, a Walt Disney “Silly Symphony” cartoon released in 1933. It has reappeared in different versions since then and I have fond childhood memories of the chorus.
Second, as far as the evident “spread of Jewish quality” is concerned, my brother Vivian (a recently retired Modern Orthodox rabbi) tells me that there have been unusual religious developments among Brighton and Hove Jewry in the UK. The Reform congregation’s rabbi and his sons wear kippot and very visible ritual fringes, while the competing Liberal synagogue has diverged from Progressive Judaism by negating the religious legitimacy of patrilineal descent.
Whether this indicates a more general return to traditional practice remains to be seen.
The last paragraph of reader Edmund Jonah’s July 31 letter (appearing under the heading “Facing terror”) should have been as follows: The first step is to realize that we are under attack, at war with a formidable political force – Islam. Forget political correctness. Let’s not call it “terror.” It is jihad; it is to the Muslims a religious duty. Give it its rightful name.