January 2: Rebbetzins are right

Not only should Jewish women not date Muslim men, they should not date non-Jewish men at all.

Rebbetzins are right
Sir, – Regarding “Barak slams ‘wave of racism’ in rabbi, rebbetzin letters” (December 30,) not only should Jewish women not date Muslim men, they should not date non-Jewish men at all.
We Jews are dealing with massive assimilation and intermarriage in the Diaspora, as well as in Israel. As our population decreases due to these factors, the situation becomes more acute and existential for us as a people.
Threatening, demanding or commandeering our children is not the answer; education is. When our children receive Jewish education and observe their parents living Jewish lives, the chances are improved for them to lead Jewish lives as well.
YOEL NITZARIM Skokie, Illinois
Sir, – Anyone living in Israel for more than five minutes knows that the quickest way to antagonize a secular Jew is to offer a religious proclamation – no matter what the topic. Tell me not to rent to an Arab or date one, and I’ll become the most extreme “everyone-wascreated- equal” humanist.
Tell the unobservant that Halacha says it’s dangerous to jump off a roof and they might jump just to spite you!
Safety isn’t macho
Sir, – Ever since my aliya in 1967 I have been railing to anyone who listens about the lack of any safety considerations here in Israel. Over the past month we have been once again witness to additional signs of our total disregard for safety or safety preparations, for example with the Carmel wildfire and now the railroad fire (“Scores hurt as passenger train catches fire south of Netanya,” December 29), and other manifestations of a syndrome that exists in this land that can best be expressed in Yiddish – Gut et helfen – the Almighty will see us through.
It is this attitude that gives us the highest work-accident fatality rate per working hour of any country in the industrialized world. It also explains why every year dozens of our youth go lost in the Judean desert and other hiking areas, and, of course, the terror on our highways.
Simply put, safety rules are “stupid.”
Some years ago, my eldest son came home from an outing to Ein Gedi with the tragic news that a classmate had drowned in one of the pools. It seems the boy hit his head on a rock and that his absence was noticed only when the group returned to the bus.
I gathered my four children around me and explained that where I grew up in the US, we also went on class outings but had the “buddy system,” in which every member of the group had a “buddy” he had to keep an eye on. Periodic drills were run wherein the person in charge would shout out “Buddies!,” and everyone had to raise his buddy’s hand within five seconds or be grounded from further activity that day.
My children laughed at me and said that such innocence might go over with effete American kids, but never with macho Sabras.
The point of this story is that safety and safety precautions must be instilled in the public at the kindergarten level and perhaps someday we might live to see it at an adult level.
Demand proof
Sir, – It is true that there is nothing to stop totally unqualified people from advertising themselves as “doulas”/childbirth educators/postnatal support counselors or group leaders (“Gamliel: Regulate ‘doula’ childbirth assistance,” December 29). These professions are not licensed or recognized by the ministries of Health or Education. The bottom line is that every client looking for these services should ask to see a certificate of qualification.
The Israel Childbirth Education Center was founded in 1981, modeled on Britain’s National Childbirth Trust, which is fully recognized and even partly funded by the UK’s Ministry of Health. As a graduate of NCT training, I and a few other childbirth educators who qualified in the UK and US created a training course for a network of educators, “doulas” and breastfeeding counselors working in every village and town in Israel. The training course emphasizes the limitations of these professions as well as a code of behavior.
Through our own lobbying and mostly harmonious relationships with maternity departments and health clinics, we have succeeded in radically changing conditions for the childbearing woman and her family in Israel. But first, ask for the certificate. If one cannot be produced, that person has no qualification and no right to work in these very sensitive and important professions.
The writer is honorary president of the Israel Childbirth Education Center A different story Sir, – One wonders how far Yehuda Bauer would take his concern for African asylum seekers attempting to enter Israel or already here (“Why should we care?,” Comment & Features, December 29). The raison d’etre of Israel is that it be a Jewish and democratic republic in this tiny sliver of land. Does Bauer think the demographic problem we face is not already serious enough? Any comparison of Israel as a host country with, say, the US or the UK before World War II is disingenuous.
Their populations in 1938 were, respectively, 130 million and 47 million. The number of Jewish refugees trying to enter those countries, if all were allowed in, would have been an insignificant proportion. In addition, they would have had at least some cultural affinity with their hosts.
Israel’s situation is quite different.
The number of would-be migrants from Africa is inexhaustible. Not only do they not have any affinity with Israeli society, they would eventually become a large, indigestible foreign community whose loyalty to the state could not be taken for granted.
For the government, this is not a theoretical problem. If Bauer were in the position of having to solve it, what would he do – while preserving the Jewish character of the country?
Just plain unwelcome
Sir, – In his column “Postponing the inevitable” (Encountering Peace, December 28), Gershon Baskin perhaps has forgotten exactly who it was that didn’t accept the 1947 UN partition plan and started the bloodshed. And there was no country called Palestine! I’d like to ask Baskin whether he really thinks we would be able to live here, even within the 1967 borders, and that there could be peace and no more bloodshed.
The truth of the matter is that we are persona non grata here.
JUDY FORD Petah Tikva
Appeal for info
Sir, – I am a freelance journalist and archaeologist, and for years have been an amateur photographer.
I take a lot of pictures of my neighborhood, the former Litzmannstadt Ghetto, and publish them on my photoblog, which has become kind of a contact board for former citizens of Lodz and survivors of the ghetto.
One of the survivors was the daughter of a midwife who, one night in late October or November 1944, was asked to assist in the birth of a child. The child and his family apparently made it through the war, and a man now aged 66 is probably the youngest survivor of the ghetto.
We are searching for him. Unfortunately all sources in Poland are off limits due to a law that protects personal data. I spoke with a rabbi from Lodz, but he couldn’t help. I contacted Yad Vashem, but without the man’s name they could not help, either.
According to many sources here in Poland, most traces lead to Israel, the US or Australia.
I ask that any of your readers with information contact me via my blog – http://www.kozerawski.com.