August 2: Lau’s remarks

I was outraged by Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau’s references to kushim, a pejorative term for blacks.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Lau’s remarks
Sir, – As the mother of two inter-racial sons, one of whom served for three years in the IDF Intelligence Corps, I was outraged by Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau’s references to kushim, a pejorative term for blacks (“Lau slammed for ‘racist’ statements,” July 31). This, from a man whose sons have not and will not serve in the IDF, putting their lives on the line to protect our homeland, while thousands of Ethiopian and other Israelis of color have.
What would Rabbi Lau say to black members of the US Armed Forces who helped free his father from the Nazi death camps? Finally, I would assume that Rabbi Lau is familiar with the biblical story of how God afflicted Miriam, Moses’s sister, with leprosy for referring to Moses’s wife as an isha kushit (black woman). What punishment does our new chief rabbi feel he himself is worthy of? The Days of Awe are fast approaching. I suggest Rabbi Lau use them to seek forgiveness from God.JANE S. HIRSCH Kochav Yair
Sir, – Chief Rabbi David Lau’s inappropriate and unfortunate remarks about African-American basketball pros were made to yeshiva students whom he was trying to dissuade from spending Thursday nights watching a televised game.
Yeshiva students (and others) should find time to unwind after intense studies.
It would clear their minds, renew their strength and produce a relaxed state of being. For even better results, they should play a game of basketball.
It would do Rabbi Lau much good, too. With a clear mind he would desist from making negative remarks about people, Jew and non-Jew alike. He would also gain a modicum of respect from the secular community.MORDECHAI SPIEGELMAN Jerusalem
Less in common
Sir, – Judy Montagu states in her enjoyable column about the birth of the British royal baby (“Royally received,” In My Own Write, July 31) that gender psychologists theorize men prefer to have sons rather than daughters because they share more genetic material with male offspring.
Actually, whereas both sons and daughters receive an X chromosome from the mother, the father provides girls with an additional X chromosome and boys with a Y chromosome. X chromosomes contain more genetic material than Y chromosomes, so fathers share more genetic material with daughters than with sons.
By the way, in general all children receive slightly more genetic material from their mother, since mothers pass on to their children genetic material known as mitochondria, and fathers don’t.YONATAN SILVER Jerusalem
The writer’s hobby is genetic genealogy
Heads together
Sir, – Congratulations on “Israeli team earns math Olympiad medals” (News in Brief, July 29). The team, which won one gold, three silver and two bronze medals at the 54th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), was ranked 13 among 97 participating countries.
The Taiwanese team was ranked 8th. It won six medals, too – two gold and four silver.
The two teams should hold exchange visits prior to the annual IMO through the Republic of China’s program of Youth Exchange Agreements. That might help advance our ranks in the future, as well as our young generation’s math level.SIMON C. HSIEH Tel Aviv
The writer is director of the Information Division at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office
Model country
Sir, – I recently spent a month in your beautiful country, staying mainly in Jerusalem. The warmth and friendliness of the people, their work ethic, demeanor and pride in their country just blew me away.
Israel, in my opinion, represents a model that other countries could certainly look to follow.