February 25: Coalition talks

Politics, purim and 'The Jerusalem Roast': should the news really be taken seriously?

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Coalition talks
Sir, – I must add my two cents to the many articles and letters regarding Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid (“Bennett persuades Lapid to compromise on haredi draft,” February 24).
We made aliya five years ago and I could not speak or write a word of Hebrew. I learned early on that an ulpan does not prepare one for all aspects of Israeli life, but speaking all the time in Hebrew, regardless of proper tense or gender, certainly helped my language skills.
The same applies to these two new and inexperienced political leaders. They don’t speak fluent “government” and therefore need to get into a coalition and learn in real time. They need to stop their silly bickering over nonsensical issues and instead be within the framework of a strong government, even if they are not always “understood.”
They might make mistakes, as I did, but they will surely bring new strength to a government of more experienced speakers and learn along the way. They can make a difference – but only if they keep learning and listening instead of sitting and just talking.
Sir, – My granddaughters and I took part in an international family project that was held at the Diaspora Museum. Some 3,600 individual works were photographed and collated into three panels that are now on display.
On my next trip to the museum I looked hard for the big picture, but it escaped me until I photographed the panels from a distance. Without that perspective I literally could not see the forest for the trees.
Is it too much to ask that our elected officials take a good look at the big picture when they negotiate to form a government? Can’t they stop acting like children, declaring that if they don’t get their way they’ll take their marbles and go home? Here’s what I know of the big picture: We live in an incendiary neighborhood. Chaos reigns in bordering countries. Nuclear weaponry is in the making and we are the most likely target.
While the world economy is in a downspin, anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments are on the upswing. And we cannot depend on a strong cadre of staunch allies to defend us.
The stakes are too high for party leaders to ignore the bigger picture. It is time for them to act like adults and begin serious negotiations.
LINDA WOLFF, Sha’arei Tikva
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s problem is his unwillingness to be open and truthful with the Israeli public – especially about the issue of sharing the burden of military service.
His original inclination was to renew the Tal Law unconditionally, which remains his preferred approach, so as to ingratiate himself with and retain the support of the haredi camp, his natural allies. But an insatiable passion to be prime minister drives his leadership style and explains his political cowardice – a characteristic even US President Barack Obama shrewdly identified.
Pray and pour
Sir, – Before labeling Shalom Hammer the “grinch that stole Kiddush” (“Rabbis or bartenders – synagogues or pubs?” Comment & Features, February 24), I give him the benefit of the doubt. He has obviously never been to one of the delightful Hamptons Synagogue events that he nonetheless hastens to disparage from afar. I have.
Where once no shul stood and no Jew davened on Shabbat, today 600 gather every week for prayers in a contemporary yet strictly Orthodox setting. Rabbi Marc Schneier speaks brilliantly, absolutely top quality hazzanut inspires and, yes, it’s all followed by a sit-down dinner on Friday night, a gourmet Kiddush on Shabbat, and a memorable seuda shlesheet meal later that day (which is why the tab comes to $10,000 a week. It ain’t for caviar alone!).
Each event typically has a spellbinding speaker on a religious, political or cultural theme. In short, everything is done tastefully, and I for one can attest that this is at least one Kiddush that is fully kiddush hashem (sanctification of God’s name).
CHARLEY J. LEVINE, Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – Rabbi Shalom Lipsker was sent by the Lubovitcher Rebbe to the area around 96th St and Collins Ave in Miami Beach about 40 years ago. It was a Jewish wilderness. Today, his “Shul” is a very large, growing, involved, philanthropic, busy and outreaching place of worship and community.
We have never seen excessive drinking or even a lot of whiskey at the delicious and lavish Shabbat Kiddush, and we have been there many times, as our children belong. If people want to make it their Shabbat lunch, whose business is it? Rabbi Lipsker is a master when it comes to bringing his people to greater observance. We are very grateful that our children and grandchildren are part of his “flock.”
ANITA ELLIS, Jerusalem
Sir, – It is singularly unfortunate that in trying to assess the good or bad, the “spiritual” or the “spirit” of “Kiddushim,” Shalom Hammer, like The Wall Street Journal, has by inference suggested that all such gatherings are wrong.
At 99 percent of the synagogues I have attended worldwide – and there have been many – the post-service Kiddush is modest in price and presentation, and is almost always given to celebrate a joyous event or the anniversary of the passing of a loved one. Accordingly, it is sad, even reprehensible, that The Jerusalem Post has also taken these two “over the top” congregations as an example to lambaste this splendid way of celebration and commemoration, and for meeting and greeting fellow congregants.
ARNOLD EPSTEIN, Herzliya Pituah
Sir, – I wish to point out that Rabbi Herschel Billet was extensively interviewed for The Wall Street Journal article and he, too, strongly came out publicly against the “Kiddush clubs.”
It should also be noted that Young Israel of Woodmere, New York, is probably one of the first synagogues to have a liquor-free shul.
DEBRA BRICKNER, Tel Aviv/Woodmere
Spirit of Purim
Sir, – I am very concerned about the aesthetics of our historic and unique city, Jerusalem.
Bungee jumping is just not in character (“Jerusalem approves bungee jumping from top of Bridge of Strings,” The Jerusalem Roast, February 24).
Why bungee jumping when there is no body of water beneath the bridge, like the Golden Gate in San Francisco? It is a risky recreational activity and accidents can happen. Do we want to now have, God forbid, negative associations with the bridge? This matter should have been disclosed to the public before being approved by our athletic mayor, Nir Barkat.
The bridge is beautiful in its undisturbed, tranquil way. Can it not remain untouched? The whole matter is ludicrous! MIRANDA SALTZ, Jerusalem
Sir, – I would have thought Lady Gaga would be the last person to advise Sara Netanyahu on her fashion style (“Sarah Netanyahu turns to Lady Gaga for fashion advice ahead of Obama visit,” The Jerusalem Roast, February 24).
Lady Gaga has bizarre taste in clothing.
I think the prime minister’s wife should consult with expert image consultants to assist her.
British TV fashion gurus Trini and Susannah would be better suited and give Sara a much-needed altered image.
Sir, – Your two-page Purim section (“The Jerusalem Roast,” February 24) was very well done.
However, do you imply that we should take the rest of the news completely seriously?