January 17: Let there be light

Israel, in phasing out incandescent light bulbs with a rating greater than 60W, is actually following the pattern instituted by Europe over two years ago.

Let there be light
Sir, – While being in broad agreement with your editorial “The CFL choice” (January 15), it appears to have overlooked several key facts.
Israel, in phasing out incandescent light bulbs with a rating greater than 60W, is actually following the pattern instituted by Europe over two years ago. As such, production of these inefficient bulbs is being phased out as more countries effectively institute legislation banning their use.
Attempts to flood the markets with cheap bulbs from unreliable sources have met with resistance because these products do not conform to legislated standards.
But there is an alternative to the unsightly CFL (compact fluorescent light) that is far more energy-efficient: the light emitting diode (LED). Improvements in LED output for the same electrical consumption have increased substantially, together with a decrease in prices. LEDs operate on a far lower voltage and consume substantially less power, so that if they replace incandescent lights the generating companies would not find themselves unable to meet the electricity demand, but actually have a surplus.
Currently, the cost of LED lights is high because the major production facilities are located in the Far East and unscrupulous importers slam a high profit-margin on their sales compared to those of Western Europe.
Once again it appears that our hi-tech industries have missed the boat. We could have set up development and production facilities here and become not only far more energy efficient, but a major world exporter.
COLIN L. LECI Jerusalem
God in public
Sir, – I certainly agree with Michael Freund (“Who’s afraid of Tim Tebow?,” Fundamentally Freund, January 12) that we all should have the right of practicing our religion in public – except, of course, when it interferes with public safety (the banning of the burka in France, as an example) or causes severe inconvenience to many people (e.g., a minyan on a crowded airplane).
But what may be a right might not be advisable. It seems, in fact, to be contrary to the spirit of the prophet Micah (6:8): “He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: only to do justice and love goodness, and to walk modestly with your God.”
The Hebrew word v’hatzneah, which is translated as “modestly,” suggests behaving in a way that does not attract attention to oneself.
The prophet is suggesting that when it comes to our relationship with God, He requires that we act unobtrusively, that it is “good” not to make a public display of our devotion.
I do not deny the eight NY Giants players or Tim Tebow their right to pray to God in public. But it makes me and many others feel uncomfortable. Who are these players trying to convince of their faith – the fans in the stands or God? Could they not have offered a silent prayer in the locker room? Is it a greater measure of devotion to God to do so in public? Personally, I do not think so.
Sir, – It is becoming increasingly clear that several recent events that grabbed headlines had very little to do with “liberating” or preventing discrimination against women, but rather with the vilification of haredi practices and institutions. Could the problem be, in Michael Freund’s words, that many Jews are “just not comfortable with public displays of their religion”? Item: The issue of seating on buses has been blown up by those who have their own agenda. The only buses in question travel mainly through neighborhoods serving haredi areas. If the passengers choose to sit separately, why should they not be allowed to do so? If others get on, why not just be respectful for a couple of stops? The purpose of the ride is to get to one’s destination, not to demand a certain seat.
Item: The recent Puah conference had nothing at all to do with discrimination against women, and everything to do with getting upto- date and halachic information to a sector of people who are very reluctant to discuss personal issues in public. So what if the speakers were only men? Women physicians are highly valued; there are long waiting times, sometimes six months or more, to get an appointment with one. That the Israel Medical Association barred physicians from attending is not only disgraceful but irresponsible.
Instead of being true to its mission of providing medical care to all, its action prevented access to medical options for an entire sector.
Sir, – I would like to congratulate Judy Siegel for her reporting on the recent Puah conference. She again showed herself to be the consummate professional she is, putting aside public “noise” for objective reportage.
Not so MK Rachel Adatto, a former practicing obstetrician and gynecologist, and the IMA. They have shown themselves to put the first axiom of medicine (“First, do no harm”) on the back burner by denying the conference’s 1,000 participants the benefit of the combined knowledge and support of female and male medical professionals.
Sadly, for heuristic and politically charged reasons, the “enlightened” IMA ordered its members to ignore haredi obstetric and gynecology patients – who, I might add, are 100 percent women. I guess it now will adapt and change its practices and make sure its roster of OB/GYN patients includes 50% men.
The writer is director of the Neuropsychology Unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center
Kudos to Kaplan
Sir, – Our family made aliya over 20 years ago and we have seen and heard almost every complaint about nearly every possible circumstance here in Israel. For many reasons I never thought I would be sharing this story with anyone, but life takes you by surprise.
On the last day of Hanukka, my almost-two-year-old granddaughter was diagnosed with cancer. My daughter had brought her to the health fund clinic for what seemed to be a simple cough, and the pediatrician insisted she bring the baby to the emergency room at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot. My daughter was reluctant to believe that anything was wrong, as the baby was cheerful and appeared healthy and happy, but she complied and a tumor was found.
The care my daughter and granddaughter received was immediate and compassionate.
The surgeon and oncologist were attentive and took the time and trouble to explain what had happened and what would happen.
They were reassuring without being condescending. I should add that the surgery took place less than 48 hours after the diagnosis; this is in stark contrast to my father, who was treated at one of the best hospitals in New York and waited almost three weeks for his tumor resection.
In the 10 days that followed, my granddaughter began chemotherapy.
The staff at Kaplan continued its excellent care and touching empathy.
Just as an example, when it was time to wheel the baby into the surgical suite, the staff suggested that my son-in-law retrieve her stroller from the car and use it to wheel her to surgery, as a gurney might have added to her trauma. My daughter was permitted to stay with the baby until she was given anesthesia.
Both my daughter and son-in-law were allowed to remain in the room with their child and to be with her through every medical procedure. I was there every day and witnessed the care and compassion my granddaughter received, and the intelligent and humane approach that exemplified the staff at Kaplan.
We – myself included – are always quick to criticize and complain.
I thought I would take this opportunity to compliment and give thanks.