August 9: Fly like a bird

When we first moved to Netanya from the Negev, I fell in love with the colorful wings over the Netanya bluffs and wished out loud to be able to fly like that some day.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Fly like a bird Sir, - That was a great article on paragliding! (Cover Story, UpFront, July 31) When we first moved to Netanya from the Negev, I fell in love with the colorful wings over the Netanya bluffs and wished out loud to be able to fly like that some day. For my 70th birthday, my children surprised me with the gift of a tandem flight over the coast. No, I wasn't scared; and, yes, I loved every minute of it. It really is the closest thing to being a bird. FREDI KADDAR Kfar Haim Rabbis: Decree cigs are sinful Sir, - Deputy Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman appears to be doing an admirable job running Israel's Health Ministry, which makes his dithering over cigarette warnings all the more problematic ("Litzman dithers as US joins others requiring graphic cigarette warnings," August 6). If 24-25 percent of Israelis are smokers, the percentage would appear to be much higher among haredim, who can least afford this deadly luxury. Families that subsist on government handouts cannot afford the cost of a pack-a-day habit, let alone two packs. Yet one rarely sees haredi smokers opting for the cheaper domestic brands. A haredi father who smokes is taking food out of his children's mouths and replacing it with carcinogens. The real question is why the "sages" remain silent - giving a virtual kosher stamp to this suicidal habit. In a society where a decree from a single rabbinic authority galvanizes an entire population into action, how can these leaders refuse to declare smoking forbidden to the same degree as violating the Sabbath or consuming pork? Perhaps this laissez-faire attitude stems from these rabbis' understanding that smoking calms a restive and captive population with few recreational outlets. JJ GROSS New York/Jerusalem Forman's myopia... Sir, - David J. Forman seems to have a single fixed agenda - the legitimization of non-Orthodox religious movements in Israel. As a veteran oleh from the US, I maintain contact with literally hundreds of US Jews. And you know what? I don't know one who gives a rat's posterior about the status of the non-Orthodox movements in Israel. What does bother people is Jews throwing other Jews out of their homes for no good reason, something Mr. Forman seems to think is a wonderful thing. I understand that the Post has to maintain a political balance and publish views from both Left and Right; however, Mr. Forman's hatchet job on a legitimate Jewish hero was beyond the pale ("Calling on the old Natan Sharansky," UpFront, July 31). LEONARD DREYER Ra'anana ...Sharansky's global vision Sir, - If a world figure like Natan Sharansky commonly criticized Israel for human rights violations, it would only perpetuate the myth of Israel being in the same league as Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, et al. Sharansky instead focuses his efforts on promoting worldwide democracy. He is known to have influenced American foreign policy of the last decade, envisioning a process of democratization that is right now coming to a head throughout the Mideast. It is partially thanks to him that we have a democratic Iraq and a percolating democratic consciousness in places like Lebanon and Iran - and it is odd that David Forman and his liberal Jewish friends do not value such progress, preferring to harp on the alleged failings of Jewish heroes and the Jewish state. JONATHAN RABINOWITZ Beit Shemesh Why all this rightist rage? Sir, - Re Sarah Honig's "Be a good bully" (UpFront, July 31) and Caroline Glick's "The lonely Israeli Left" (daily paper, same date): George W. Bush said: "In an age of global terror and weapons of mass destruction, what happens in the Middle East greatly matters to America. The bitterness of that region can bring violence and suffering to our own cities. The advance of freedom and peace in the Middle East would drain this bitterness and increase our own security." President Obama couldn't have said this better. Both presidents have tried increasing security for Israel and America. I agree with Israel's anger at Kassam rockets continuing to fall after her Gazan withdrawal, her military response, prior security fence, and Iran's threat. But precisely because of this shared anger and angst, underscored by PM Netanyahu's calling Israel "the most threatened country in the world," I don't understand the rage, in these writers' recent columns, against Obama for trying to help - just like Clinton and Bush. Why loathe, deride and mock the president, cutting him no slack? Why not give him a chance to try? A rightist rage has descended that to friends of Israel, America and Obama seems irrational. JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts Thanks for the memory... Sir, - Articles by Aryeh Dean Cohen are always interesting and well-written, and often humorous. However, he hit the jackpot with "The best car on the block" (UpFront July 31). His descriptions of the various cars owned by his family not only managed in a few short columns to convey the obviously close relationships in his family, but also to bring back my own memories of cars gone by - the day my late father brought home his first Jaguar XJ6, pride shining in his eyes; and the day he bought me my own first car - a 25-year-old Anglia later to be named Lucy. Thanks, Mr. Cohen, for the memories. We look forward to reading your articles for many years to come. FRIEDA I. ROSS Jerusalem Sir, - In this era of throwaway items, it was a pleasure to read Aryeh Dean Cohen's nostalgic paean to the durable cars of yesteryear. The witty intertwining with his own life story reminded me that each of us has a story to tell. I have enjoyed all of the magazine's My Story series, but this was the first time I felt moved to write to your paper. Well done. STEFANO A. LAMI Lucca, Italy/Tel Aviv Sir, - I want to commend Aryeh Dean Cohen on his wonderful piece. Using his attachment to his cars to describe a life journey was inspired, and we can all relate to it. There was an investigative article he did a month or so ago that was also top-drawer. We don't hear enough from this gifted writer. More, please! NANCY HAREL Har Adar ...of cars gone by Sir, - "The best car on the block" (July 31) brought back fond memories for me. I recalled the one car I ever owned that had enough character to merit it having its own name, Black Beauty. It was a 1953 Plymouth my father gave me in 1961. How fortunate Aryeh Dean Cohen is to have had a number of cars that were entitled to their own names. I was amazed how he creatively presented us with a brief history of his family in the context of telling us about the cars they owned. He also has a wonderful sense of humor. I so look forward to his hilarious television reviews in your Billboard section. Thank you, Jerusalem Post, for having entertaining writers of his quality. YA'AKOV ZEISEL Jerusalem Sir, - I was pleased to read your UpFront magazine of July 31, which had considerably less doom and gloom than usual. A standout was the "The best car on the block," which brought back similar memories to me, as I'm sure it did to many of your readers. To quote Paul Simon: "I once had a car / That was more like a home / I lived in it, loved in it / Polished its chrome / If some of my homes / Had been more like my car / I probably wouldn't have / Travelled this far." G. GERSHON GUBBIO Jerusalem