July 14: How could you?

Don't we live in the same world? How can I read these articles and continue my day's activities?

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
How could you? Sir, - I was very upset to see you juxtapose two articles in your July 13 issue - one dealing with human and animal starvation in Africa ("When tea isn't just a drink, but an entire meal") and, right next to it, "Physiology can be oh, so cruel" on obesity and overeating. My God! Don't we live in the same world? How can I read these articles and continue my day's activities? ZIVA ELIEZER Tzofit The Editor responds: The juxtaposition was deliberate, to highlight the stark - and jolting - difference of priorities between populations who inhabit the same planet but, as you imply, might as well be living in different worlds. 'Heimish' Asians? Sir, - Larry Derfner's "Nice Jewish boy, nice Asian girl" (July 10) read like a formula for eradicating our Jewish religion. He seems not only to hate haredim, but also our basic religious beliefs. J. MEYER Jerusalem Sir, - Larry Derfner seems to insult traditional Jewish families who prefer that their children choose Jewish partners to make a Jewish marriage and build a Jewish family. I have raised nine Jewish children, of whom five have already found their bashert - their intended - and gifted me with 21 Jewish grandchildren. My youngest son has just announced his engagement to a lovely Southern Belle from Birmingham, Alabama, the only rabbi's daughter for miles around. He was raised in a poor but "heimish" family in Detroit, Michigan. I'd call it "Nice Yankee boy, nice Southern girl, both Jewish." L.M. BERKOWITZ Southfield, Michigan Sir, - Larry Derfner omitted a very important factor in the union of an immigrant Asian girl and a Jewish boy in the US. While he identified his friend's son as secular, he made no reference to the Asian girl's religion. People from totally different backgrounds often find that religion becomes a factor in their relationship after their first child is born. The friend's son may be giving up Judaism - of which, sadly, he has no knowledge because he was brought up in a secular home - only to find himself having to deal with Buddhism, Hinduism or some other exotic oriental faith. What is clear from this op-ed is that American Jewry is in a state of crisis. P. YONAH Shoham Sir, - The "nice Asian girls" that Larry Derfner's friend's sons have chosen may have all the "heimische" qualities of nice Jewish girls of several decades ago, but the point about intermarriage is that these boys are taking steps to sever their ties, completely, to their long line of Jewish history and heritage. Their children will no longer be Jews! On this basis Derfner may want to rethink his "100%" approval of his own sons marrying out in the future. HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva Larry Derfner responds: I don't know where J. Meyer read that I "hate haredim"; I don't know how L.M. Berkowitz figures I meant to "insult" families who want their children to marry only Jews; I disagree with P. Yonah that Jews who marry gentiles are "giving up Judaism," and I would remind Haim M. Lerner that Jewish men who marry gentile women can, and often do, have their children converted to Judaism. Silver lining Sir, - We are all concerned about the drought (Letters, July 10). But crisis can also bring something good - as in 1986, when the Sea of Galilee was dangerously low and two brothers, Moshe and Yuval Lufan, found what is now known as the Jesus Boat. There is no doubt that it is from the time of Jesus and the fishermen he called his disciples. As a guide, I can tell you that this treasure has earned millions of shekels for tourism in Galilee. An entire museum was built around the boat. Perhaps this season, while we wait for the winter rains, will yield another boat. HELA CROWN-TAMIR Mevaseret Zion Anti-terror model... Sir, - In "A tale of two hostages" (July 11) Caroline Glick illuminatingly juxtaposed two reactions to terrorism. One was a rescue mission initiated under the leadership of Colombian President Alvero Uribe that infuriated both Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Ecuador's leader Raphael Correa and their left-wing allies and cohorts. The other was Israel's ineffective response to its enemies - a stark contrast to Colombia's successful mission. Is it so difficult to comprehend that terrorist blackmailers cannot be defeated by appeasement, and that it only provides an incentive for them to demand more? Instead of cowering beneath the sneers and hatred exhibited by the so-called intellectual pacifists, led by a UN ensnared in brutal dictatorships and ideologies and a hopelessly inadequate EU, Israel needs to wake up and earn the respect and admiration it had following the War of Independence, the 1967 Six Day War, the Entebbe hostage rescue and the daring Osirak raid. As a consequence of his actions, Uribe facilitated the defeat and demoralization of the FARC terror group, exposed the evil conspiracy between Chavez and Correa, and, incidentally, also discredited the French government's ties to terrorist deputy commander Raul Reyes. The free world cheered as the hostages, including the high-profile Ingrid Betancourt, walked free and Colombia reaped the multiple benefits awarded to those who actively combat the enemies of freedom and tolerance. GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS Pardesiya ...for Israel Sir, - If two retired IDF generals advised the Colombian military on the daring rescue mission that freed Ingrid Betancourt from the FARC terrorists in the Colombian jungle after six years in captivity, why can't our mighty IDF, with our thousands of battle-experienced soldiers augmented by the world's best surveillance, intelligence and military equipment, rescue Gilad Schalit from Hamas? MICHAEL MOHNBLATT Tel Mond Smart, not stupid Sir, - Edward Bernard Glick's "How the universities got that way" (July 8) contained errors related to the political affiliations of Duke faculty. He wrote: "One of the best ways to influence students, colleagues, and the citizenry at large is to hire, promote, and tenure only those people who agree with you. Duke University is a case in point. The chairman of one of its major departments was once asked in a radio interview if his department hired Republicans. He answered: 'No... because they are stupid and we are not. Why should we knowingly hire stupid professors?'" This appears to be a reference to a February 10, 2004 article in the student newspaper, the Duke Chronicle, in which a Duke philosophy professor is quoted as saying: "We try to hire the best, smartest people available. If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire." The professor is also quoted as saying, "I don't know the political affiliation of all of my colleagues in philosophy, nor do I care. Our last hire was in the history of modern philosophy. We hired an expert in Kant and Newton. Politics never came up in the interview." KEITH LAWRENCE, Director, Media Relations Duke University Durham, North Carolina