Letters to the Editor: No fantasy

He tells it exactly like it is, and it isn’t pretty.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
No fantasy
Kudos to Gil Troy for his timely and long overdue article, “ReligioGoons – the Jewish Taliban – threaten Judaism and Zionism,” Center Field, April 13.
He tells it exactly like it is, and it isn’t pretty.
The “kippa-wearing criminals” he so eloquently and correctly condemns do not represent the goodness of our society but are fast becoming the face of Israel abroad, seen and used against us, whether in supporting boycotts, questioning Israel’s legitimacy or justifying plain anti-Semitism.
Troy’s article should be a call to action for every member of the Knesset, who, regardless of party affiliation, is truly committed to the betterment of this country. Let each of them, one by one, in a “profile of courage,” take the podium and condemn in the strongest possible words these fanatic hooligans and the maniacal rabbis who encourage and incite them.
Then let us see and record those who remain cowardly seated, condoning the violence and hypocrisy with their very silence. Let it be such a dramatic event that even the New York Times and the Associated Press will be forced to report it to the world.
And while in the realm of fantasy, let every rabbi of good faith and belief, from whatever stream of Judaism, stand up and repudiate the theocratic thugs among them, those ayatollahs with tzitziot who scurry from their dark holes to spew hatred and intolerance in the name of religious pseudo-doctrine.
The menace that confronts us, however, is no fantasy and the sooner we recognize it for what it is, the sooner it can be checked by all the means a democracy has at its disposal.
All that appears to be lacking is the will to act.
Strong claims
Regarding the article appearing in The Jerusalem Post on April 13, “Handwriting analysis provides new clues for dating biblical texts,” Tel Aviv University scholars who analyzed written documents from Tel Arad, a Judean fortress town dated to the end of the Judean monarchy, have empirically confirmed the ongoing research of Bar-Ilan University Prof. Aaron Demsky, a noted biblical historian whose book in Hebrew on Literacy in Ancient Israel (2012) won the prestigious Bialik Prize in 2014.
In his book Demsky claims that the Judean monarchy from the eighth century onward was a literate society with an undefined number of professional and lay people who were literate.
He based his findings in part on the epigraphic evidence written in the ancient Hebrew script, which shows different handwriting skills reflecting levels of literacy.
Going beyond simple administrative texts, he integrated a variety of sources especially the relevant and contemporary biblical texts such as the books of the Writing Prophets.
From a historian’s perspective Demsky presented the social background for literacy and the part played by scribes and local administrators serving in the Temple, royal court and army, such like those writing in biblical Arad.
He also suggested an outline of formal education and particularly how the alphabet was learned and how it facilitated the spread of literacy in a pre-modern society.
While recognizing the initial results brought by the Tel Aviv team, Demsky cautions that the study of a few dozen ostraca from Arad is a long way from clarifying such major cultural issues like defining literacy in antiquity on the one hand and on the other, understanding the composition and transmission of books of the Bible that formed the national literature of ancient Israel.
The writer is a spokesman for Bar-Ilan University.
Remain separate
A native Spanish speaker should be consulted the next time the editors attempt to write Spanish in a headline. The headline about the recent American Jewish Committee survey, “Viva Latino Jews,” April 12, is not grammatically correct.
“Viva” refers to just one person or one subject, not to a group. Also, the word is usually flanked by exclamation marks to express emotion.
Either way, in 1988, I conducted a similar survey for the AJC among Latin American Jewish immigrants of Jackson Heights, a neighborhood of the Borough of Queens, to see if there was a need to set up a community center for them.
The findings of the new survey discussed in the article agree with the findings of mine, but this time at a national scale: the Latin American Jewish community living in the US is highly educated and economically successful, and don’t identify themselves as “American.
They rather call themselves Argentinian, Colombian or any other nationality of the country they came from.
What the current survey doesn’t show is that the majority of those immigrants are of Ashkenazi background as many trace their roots to Poland, Russia and Germany. This is important because it dispels the myth that most Latin American Jews are Sephardim.
As Latino and a Jew, I was invited by the New Jersey chapter of the AJC to address a gathering of Latino journalists and community leaders and American- born Jews when I lived in that state.
Other than sharing non-kosher food and hearing how much each community has contributed to the US, nothing specific has come out of these gatherings.
Despite the AJC’s efforts to bridge the gap between Latinos and American Jews, the two communities remain separate because they have very little in common.
And now the organization is reaching out to Latino Jews, whom it believes “are well-positioned to help advance relations between Jewish and Latino communities.”
As a speaker at other Jewish organizations and as a journalist working for Latino and Jewish publications for several years, I realized that even though the relations between the two communities are somewhat friendly, they remain far apart, despite speaking Spanish and coming from Latin America.
One thing is the reality; the other is what the AJC wants it to be.
Come to terms
As a Serbian American who lost dozens of relatives in the World War II genocide in the “Independent” State of Croatia (NDH), I read “Croatia’s troubled history,” April 13, by Efraim Zuroff, with interest.
It astonishes me that in the 21st century, we have a nation where many of its citizens continue to deny its horrible World War II genocidal and Nazi-puppet history.
The NDH had hundreds of concentration camps scattered throughout today’s Croatia, Bosnia, and even parts of Serbia, where hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were viciously slaughtered at the hands of the fanatical Croatian Ustashe.
One of the many techniques used by Croatian revisionists is to focus only on the Jasenovac concentration camp and then ignore the murders elsewhere.
Even the Nazis estimated that some 500,000 Serbs perished in this genocide.
They key here is that there is not a Serb alive today who does not have some close relative who perished during the Ustashe-led genocide of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies.
Croatia is a nation that is still haunted by its horrible genocidal past. Until Croatian leaders acknowledge and condemn this past, there will never be peace or stability in the Balkans.
Those who cannot come to terms with history will surely be doomed to repeat it.
MICHAEL PRAVICA Henderson, Nevada