August 27: Whining about (kosher) dining, etc.

Boteach brought up the many financial and social problems incurred by raising children in an Orthodox family within the US.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - I was stunned to read about Shmuley Boteach's plight ("Making Jewish life easier," August 26). Poor guy: His daughter's sanctuary in Israel has closed; he cannot get enough donations to subsidize her day school education; he has to help his children establish themselves (in New Jersey) after they marry; he cannot simply say no to an extravagant wedding and/or bar mitzva without a rabbi to help him, and he had to buy an RV to help him travel comfortably! I cannot fathom why he thinks Israelis would sympathize with his position. Here we have no post-high school programs. Our children serve in the IDF or do National Service. We have learned to economize, and most of us are able to trim the fat off wedding and bar mitzva budgets sans Orthodox leadership or advice. When our children wed, we are faced with staggering mortgages in no way comparable to those in the US. (I have been a homeowner in both countries). In short, we face our own economic problems and most Americans are sensitive enough to realize that life-styles in the US are far more extravagant than here, and do not whine about their difficulties to the Israeli population. JUDITH SCHMELL Rechovot Sir, - Shmuley Boteach brought up the many financial and social problems incurred by raising children in an Orthodox family within the United States - education, kashrut, social life, travel within the US, etc. He then suggested four ways to "correct" these problems, none of them practical. But he did not suggest the one and only solution for the Boteachs and other families like his: aliya to Israel, which would not only solve their financial, social, kashrut and travel problems but also fulfill the prayer recited in the Amidah three times a day - to have God "lead them joyfully back to their land and be established within its borders." SEYMOUR BRODSKY Jerusalem Sir, - Unfortunately, we cannot offer Shmuley Boteach any Michael Jacksons or other celebrities with whom to hang out but, as he himself pointed out, one must make sacrifices for one's beliefs. So he should stop complaining about the difficulties of Jewish life in America and join the Jewish people where they belong - in their own land. And, Shmuley - don't quote Herzl to us. Jewish life in galut is the antithesis of Herzl's dream. ELLA AND AVRAHAM BERKOVITS Haifa Sir, - I feel for Shmuley Boteach. I remember the difficulties we encountered when we lived in England. Although we only had two children, every time my husband received a promotion at work he was required to move to a new area. We went from Newcastle-on-Tyne to London to the South coast, back to London and then to Leeds. Somehow we found Jewish communities in every place we went. But "Jewish areas" tend to be the most expensive, as are Jewish schools. In the end we solved the problem. We came to Israel! ANTOINETTE HASLETON Moshav Sde Nitzan Goodwill and bad Sir, - Re "Freed prisoners receive hero's welcome in Ramallah" (August 26): Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: "This is something that matters a lot to the Palestinian people and is obviously a sign of goodwill." But when will the Palestinians do something that matters a lot to Israel and is an obvious sign of goodwill to us? This release of nearly 200 prisoners has weakened Israel in the eyes of Hamas and the world. It will not strengthen "moderate" Palestinians. We release hundreds of Palestinians and they cannot release just one Israeli - Gilad Schalit. When will Israel ever learn? Evidently, not during Olmert's administration. HANNAH SONDHELM Jerusalem Wishy-washy Sir, - In "One for one" (August 20) Hillel Halkin wrote tough about prisoner exchanges. Never return a live terrorist for dead soldiers. Never return more than one live Arab terrorist for one live Israeli soldier. Intelligent advice, most certainly. Never again... except this time! Halkin wrote: "It is still not too late for Israel to redraw the lines…" Then, in the same breadth he caved in: "Schalit, of course, will have to be freed first. Whether 500, or 1,000, or 2,000 Palestinian prisoners will be let go in return, and whether 10 or 200 of them will have 'blood on their hands,' hardly matters." How wishy-washy can you get? This is like the alcoholic who vows: "No more drinking whatsoever, no exceptions - starting after the next drink!" No, the lines must be redrawn now, even though Schalit is alive in captivity. Why is his blood redder than the next Israeli victim? AVIGDOR BONCHEK Jerusalem More than misguided Sir, - Aharon R. Silver is entirely correct in highlighting the unfair comparison between the UK/IRA and Israel/Palestine, but not for the reasons stated ("Unfair with the facts..." Letters, August 26). The illegal occupation and settlement of non-sovereign land in direct contravention of international law in the late 20th century does not bear credible comparison to historic events in the 17th century. Your correspondent is equally at sea in his attempted defense of the indefensible. To describe the repeated targeting of Palestinian population centers with tank, helicopter and jet-launched heavy ordnance and anti-personel weaponry as not being intended to harm innocent Palestinian civilians is not only naively misguided, but deeply abhorrent. ANDREW CAREW-MORTON Edinburgh If nobody attacks Iran Sir, - I don't know what Israel should do about Iran, but MJ Rosenberg's argument against attacking it makes me think we should probably strike without delay ("Will America pay the price if Israel hits Iran?" August 26). His main, perhaps only, concern is that a strike on Iran by Israel would motivate Muslim attacks on American Jews. The logical conclusion of this argument is that policemen should no longer chase criminals, judges should no longer sentence them, businessmen should pay "protection" money whenever asked, and classes in kowtowing should replace instruction in self-defense. Rosenberg brushes off the contention that Muslims are motivated to attack Jews and Americans in any case, leading one to understand that if only nobody attacks Iran, the US can dismantle the Department of Homeland Security and everyone can get a big tax rebate. He asserts that most of those advocating a preemptive strike are neo-cons and that they are "always wrong." For those of us genuinely trying to figure things out, it's irrelevant whether some people advocating a particular policy are neo-cons or even ex-cons - what's important is how convincing their arguments are. If they're always wrong, does that mean MJ Rosenberg is always right? NAOMI SANDLER Jerusalem