July 9: Is Chelm a myth?

Chelm is actually a town in eastern Poland.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
The real Chelm
Sir, – I am incensed at your reference to the “mythical hamlet, Chelm” (“Chelm in the Negev,” Editorial, July 8).
It is most surprising to me that so many people, apparently including some on your staff, regard Chelm as a myth. Chelm is a town in eastern Poland, southeast of Lublin, that was a center of Jewish learning, and although it is still on the map, it no longer has any Jews.
Prior to the Holocaust, Jews comprised 30 to 40 percent of the population.
This vibrant Jewish community was very well organized and had many yeshivas and other communal institutions that produced renowned rabbis and leaders.
I was born in Chelm, and besides attending heder, I attended Tarbut, a Jewish Day School, but had the good luck to be able to leave in 1938, just months before the German invasion.
Unfortunately, some members of my family were victims of the Holocaust.
Editor’s note: In using the term “mythical,” the editorial was referring to the Chelm of “Jewish folklore,” which was often associated with “foolishness.” The Post is pleased to have a reader who can attest to the vitality and centrality to Jewish life of the real Chelm, although sadly it’s a Chelm of the past.
Reading assignment
Sir, – Herb Keinon, in his analysis of President Obama’s “kiss and makeup” meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu (“A president now working with the premier, not against him,” July 7), seems to have fallen hook, line and sinker for Obama’s Americanized version of the hudna – making peace now in order to fight another day.
Keinon waxes poetic over Obama’s “dramatic change of tone” and his “changing gears.” Gone are the hectoring, patronizing and pressuring.
Wow! A real bornagain Israel-lover! The real Obama will make a comeback after the midterm elections in November.
A word of advice to your reporter: Read up on Von Clausewitz and “war... by other means.”
Sir, – Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing his moment of truth. Will he make bold commitments to peace – at a time when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appears to be reaching out to the Israeli public – or will he hide behind his rightwing coalition? Greenpeace activists (hats off to them) use the slogan “Politicians talk, leaders act!” The question is whether Netanyahu will finally act like a leader, and not just a politician.
One-sided views
Sir, – Regarding UN rapporteur Richard Falk’s comments (“Falk: Population transfer could be war crime,” July 1), the learned jurist must surely know that municipalities everywhere have the right to evict people who live illegally in any property.
Falk, it seems, has a scale of justice that slants in favor of one side of the argument. This puts him firmly in the camp of the “human rights” activists who take to the barricades on behalf of Hamas, yet remain silent when Israelis are targeted and victimized.
That hurt!
Sir, – I feel like I was just sucker-punched. I hope the Canadian prime minister never finds out that Israel’s PM completely ignored Canada’s birthday on July 1st.
Canada has proven time and again that under the Harper government, Israel has a fast and solid friend.
Bibi is way out of line on this one. Canadians await an apology!
Sir, – We both love the many puzzles you have introduced recently, as they’re giving our aging brains a good work-out. But why haven’t you reintroduced the puzzles you used to include on Fridays a few years back, which consisted of filling in letters to complete quotations? They were very challenging, and educational as well.