July 31: Bring on the bores

I don't know whether John McCain will take kindly to being portrayed as a bore by Shmuley but it was one of the cleverest endorsements of McCain that I have read.

letters pink 88 (photo credit: )
letters pink 88
(photo credit: )
Bring on the bores Sir, - I don't know whether John McCain will take kindly to being portrayed as a bore by Shmuley Boteach - but he should. "Can bores be president?" (July 29) was one of the cleverest endorsements of McCain that I have read, and I agreed with every word. To the devil with charisma. RHONA YEMINI Givatayim Noteworthy vs not worthy Sir, - Hillel Halkin went a step further than the greedy yeshiva student who stole Barack Obama's note from the Western Wall and the sensation-seeking newspaper that published it. He had the audacity to trash the content of a personal and private prayer. Obama's requests for forgiveness and protection from pride are noteworthy for going way beyond the self-centred request of just wanting to be president. I would like to place a note in the Wall asking that all our leaders always pray for protection from pride, and to be an instrument of God's will ("Compared prayers," July 30). HILLEL DAVIS Jerusalem About 'venting'... Sir, - In her interesting and entertaining "The story behind 'Dear Sir'" (July 30) Judy Montagu said mere "venting" of anger is not a letter to the editor. I beg to differ. We receive our Jerusalem Post at 6.30 a.m. I check the news and comment articles, and as soon as something really gets at me, I start composing a letter - usually by 7.30. If nothing else, it gives me a feeling of satisfaction that I have done my bit to right perceived wrongs and aggravation in our convoluted lives here. JUDY PRAGER Petah Tikva ...and preventing Sir, - Fourteen years ago I was editing the Cyprus Mail. An Israel-bashing columnist on the paper (ex-PLO hack, now think-tank pro) could dish it out but had a problem with taking it. One weekend I'd put the paper to bed, only to find on publication that he'd tampered with a letter describing the columnist as a "worm" in the Mail's otherwise "very nice apple." He'd cut the "worm" reference. I wrote him a memo warning that he'd be sacked if he did something similar again. He threw the memo in my face. I hit him and lost my job, returning to Britain. I've no regrets. Letters are worth defending. MAURICE JONES UK UK leads in interfaith Sir, - It was heartening to read of the interfaith gathering convened by the Saudi Arabian government ("Not just another interfaith parley," David Rosen, July 30). While there remain many difficulties and challenges posed by Jewish relations with Christians and Muslims, this initiative is certainly a step in the right direction. However, high-level international gatherings attended by political and religious leaders in isolation are not sufficient. If we are to build on the good will created by such conferences, we need a sophisticated network of interfaith organizations at the grassroots level. The UK has taken a lead in this area, and the Jewish community has been in the vanguard of these efforts. According to the latest survey, there are 263 interfaith organizations in the UK, of which 25 are national. The oldest amongst these is the Council of Christians and Jews, established in 1942 amid the horror of the Shoah to combat prejudice and anti-Semitism. Britain is developing the framework at national and local levels, building stronger interfaith relations and better links between the Jewish community and the rest of society. ZAKI COOPER, Trustee Council of Christians and Jews London Was it just a monologue? Sir, - There are several angles to the choice of Spain as the venue for the interfaith "dialogue," one of them being the awkwardness of inviting religious leaders to a place where they are forbidden to carry their sacred texts or display their religious symbols. Also, the meeting couldn't be held in the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina since non-Muslims aren't allowed there. But beyond that is Spain's history as an Islamic possession, and the trumped-up myth of the nearly utopian, Islamic Andalusia of yore. Muslims understand the term "dialogue" in a sharply different way from Westerners. For them, it does not mean an attempt to rationally debate a topic in order to arrive at the truth. Truth is already given: It's called Shari'a - Islamic Law - and the only acceptable dialogue is one that will lead to its implementation. Poul E. Andersen, former dean of the church of Odense, Denmark, warns against the false hopes of dialoguing with Muslims. During a debate at the University of Aarhus, Ahmad Akkari, one of the Muslim participants, stated: "Islam has waged war where this was necessary, and dialogue where this was possible. A dialogue can thus only be viewed as part of a missionary objective." When Mr. Andersen raised the issue of dialogue with the World Muslim League in Denmark, the answer was: "To a Muslim, it is artificial to discuss Islam. In fact, you view any discussion as an expression of Western thinking." Wouldn't a more accurate term for this event, therefore, be "interfaith monologue"? ("Don't confuse interfath dialogue with groveling," Isi Leibler, July 30) ELI TABORI Paris Revision, not innovation Sir, - To clarify some points raised in "US Holocaust Memorial Museum launches exhibit on Bergson rescue group" (July 16): The museum has not launched a new exhibit, but revised a section in our permanent exhibition dealing with American rescue efforts and the War Refugee Board. This revision was planned long before we received the petition mentioned in the article. Research conducted for our 2002 exhibition The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk that devoted a great deal of attention to the Bergson Group helped inform our review and the changes subsequently made in the permanent exhibition. Changing an exhibition is a complex, time-consuming process, and not one any serious museum does quickly or takes lightly. While we are always aware of the public's concerns, we do not change our exhibits as a result of public pressure or petitions, but only after careful historical analysis and review. Within the confines of available space, we strive to ensure comprehensiveness, accuracy and educational effectiveness. STEVE LUCKERT, Curator Permanent Exhibition US Holocaust Memorial Museum Washington Born in the bedroom Sir, - Re "A different position on childbirth" (Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, June 29): Our three children were born at home in England, by choice, between the end of the 1950s and the middle of the 1960s. It was encouraged both because of the shortage of hospital beds and the risks of disease in a hospital environment. A home midwifery service was provided. My husband was allowed in the bedroom to keep me company until the actual delivery. He waited in the next-door room and almost pulled down a mantleshelf as he helped me "push" by pushing on the shelf when he heard the midwife's instructions. When our third child was born, he didn't manage to leave in time, and was there with me when the baby was born, within 10 minutes. They were all healthy and well, and are now the parents of our nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. RUTH AND YITZ GREENWALD Givatayim