April 16: Matza measures

"How can we expect others to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish country when we do not respect ourselves and our Jewish traditions?"

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Matza measures Sir, - Re "Matza relief! A 'kezayit' may be smaller than we thought" (April 11): The problem is that the Gemara gives two different measures for a kezayit. One is the size of an olive, the other is rendered in terms of cubic fingers (etzbaot). How to reconcile these two measures has been the subject of debate in the last few centuries, with halachic decisors devoting a great deal of time and effort to it. MENACHEM EPSTEIN Jerusalem Measure of a Jew Sir, - How can we expect others to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish country when we do not respect ourselves and our Jewish traditions? All this talk about selling hametz during Pessah, letting some supermarkets stay open seven days a week and selling pork - albeit only in selected areas - is dismaying. You don't have to be religious; just do what you like in your own home. Don't dishonor Israel and Jewish values in full view of the world ("Shas loses hametz battle in Knesset, vows to win war," April 15). S. ABRAMS Tel Mond Sir, - The people who are fighting for bread to be sold over Pessah are most likely the same ones who would be disappointed if they went to India and found that religion had basically disappeared from the landscape. Israel is the Holy Land of the Jews. It is important that the symbols of Judaism remain. Not eating bread on Pessah is one of them. Some might remember that the non-kosher McDonald's made a decision the first year it opened to serve Pessah rolls with its cheeseburgers because most Israelis interviewed did not eat bread for those seven days, even though they ate meat and milk together. MEIRA SCHWARTZ Jerusalem Good will vs bad Sir, - The juxtaposition of your report on the terror plot by two Palestinians planning to poison diners in a Ramat Gan restaurant ("Ramat Gan terror poison plot uncovered," April 10) with an item on the defense minister urging an increase in permits for Palestinian workers as another "goodwill gesture" to Mahmoud Abbas highlighted this government's alarming disconnect between the palpable danger to Israelis from hate-indoctrinated Palestinians and the impetus to swamp the Palestinians with "gestures" (viewed as weakness and capitulation). Psych 101 and a recognition of reality should be de rigueur for all ministers before they recommend policies and actions inimical to Israel's security and existential future. FAY DICKER Lakewood, New Jersey Dysleftists Sir, - Dyslexics may find it easier to recognize words written in English than in Hebrew because these languages are structured differently ("Study: Jumbled words easier to recognize in English than in Hebrew," April 14). Maybe a study should investigate why "dysleftists" cannot comprehend complete sentences that PLO and Hamas representatives state clearly in several languages ("We will drive Israelis out of all Palestine, PLO ambassador says - Hamas MP: We will conquer Rome, the Americas and Eastern Europe," April 14). YONATAN SILVER Jerusalem Fantasy, I'm afraid Sir, - Mary Sherman is living in a fantasy world ("No anti-Semitism," Letters, April 15). Birmingham is a very special case, largely due to the inter-community efforts of the late rabbi Leonard Tann, who was greatly respected and admired by many other faith leaders and their followers. The Jewish community numbers some 2,000 souls within a general population of more than one million; nevertheless Rabbi Tann and his son were attacked one Friday night. A hazan visiting from Mill Hill also suffered an anti-Semitic attack. Our cemetery has been subject to racist vandalism, with more than 60 memorials damaged. The Jewish student population has come under increasing pressure from the radical Islamic societies. The tensions in Birmingham are, however, minuscule compared to the situation in London and Manchester. IVOR LEWIS Birmingham/Netanya Hillel under scrutiny Sir, - Isi Leibler's "Hillel goes post-modern" (April 1) on the attitude of Hillel houses on college campuses in the US served as a clarion call for those of us who care about Israel to be more vigilant in monitoring what "professional Jews" are promoting. After all, they operate with our largesse. It behooves us all to examine what Hillel houses in our respective regions are doing to promote Israel (or demean her). In the appropriate situation, agitating within the local Jewish Federation, which usually funds area Hillels, will make our voice understood. Personally, I will not be giving any future monies to Hillel or my local Jewish Federation until I am satisfied they are not being put toward a nefarious purpose. EALON JOELSON San Mateo, California In a class of his own Sir, - Once again, Calev Ben-David got succinctly to the crux of the matter ("What Carter has helped to create, here and elsewhere," April 14). However, as the focus of his column was Jimmy Carter's numerous missteps in the Middle East, he need not have "drifted" down to Africa to cite the Robert Mugabe example of how former president Carter enthusiastically supported a future tyrant as he came into office. In our own neck of the woods, it is well known how Carter backed the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the installation of Ayatollah Khomeini. Carter's record of lack of political insight is unmatched. For once, our country's political leadership did the proper thing in giving this incompetent the cold shoulder. MICHAEL D. HIRSCH Kochav Ya'ir Nonexistent entity Sir, - It was misleading to headline your report "Bar-Ilan researcher: Freud's 'theory of repression' should be dropped due to 'lack of evidence'" (April 14). To Freud, the unconscious was not an observable. There is no entity that Prof. Rofé calls an "autonomous, overruling unconscious entity." The unconscious, and repression as well, are theoretical constructs - i.e., non-observables used by Freud to explain the psychological states which we do observe. Freud's explanation may not be adequate, but improvement upon it is not to be found by looking for an entity called the unconscious which does not exist. JOSEPH DAVID Jerusalem Seeking Oded Sir, - About 30 years ago, when I was at the university in Hermosillo, our state capital, I met a traveling Israeli man. His name was Oded and he lived on a kibbutz. We became friends, but later I lost his address. I'm trying to find him. Once I received a post card from his cousin telling me about his wedding. Can anyone help? Please e-mail [email protected] HECTOR MANUEL GERMAN GARDNER Sonora, Mexico Beg your pardon? Sir, - "To cavort" means to prance, according to The Oxford Dictionary. And I thought The Jerusalem Post subscribed to clean journalism! I didn't see any prancing around in the photo of the Likud chairman sitting with party central committee members (April 14). Could you explain this caption? EVA POR Haifa The Editor responds: Some members of our editorial staff were obviously still infected with the Purim spirit.