May 13: 'Zionist' CDs

Rabbi Sacks was entitled to choose any songs he liked. Others might have chosen differently.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
'Zionist' CDs Sir, - In Israel - Home of Hope, Britain's chief rabbi displayed initiative and inspiring commentary. As your correspondent observed ("No Shoshana, Chava or Naomi," Letters, May 12), his decision to exclude recordings by women singers was in deference to the haredi public. Yet he is rather naive if he thinks most haredi Jews will even listen to the all-male voices on these "Zionist" CDs. While well-known secular items recalling Israel's War of Liberation were also omitted, Rabbi Sacks included no less than three different renderings of Im Eshkahech, leaving no room for Yossele Rosenblatt's Shir Hama'alot, which should have figured high on his list. Worse still, the moving interpretation of El Maleh Rahamim by Cantor Shalom Katz was reduced to a snippet, presumably to make room for another recording. Rabbi Sacks was entitled to choose any songs he liked. Others might have chosen differently. In the final analysis, it is not simply a matter of taste, but of perspective. GABRIEL A. SIVAN Jerusalem Let it be Sir, - I read in your paper how Israel officially apologized to surviving members of The Beatles ("43 years after Fab Four ban, Israel tells Beatles, 'We Can Work It Out,'" January 29). I have attended concerts by both Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and enjoyed them immensely. I wish Israel would convince them to share a stage there. With a little luck, their music might help transform the "long and winding road" of peace into a pathway along which Jews, Muslims and Christians could realize that one gets by in life "with a little help from my friends" ("Coming together," Arts & Entertainment, May 12). JAMES A MARPLES Longview, Texas Pressing on... Sir, - As I read Barry Rubin's columns it occurs to me that his underlying message is clear: Peace we won't get, so we may as well choose the fight we want. Put another way, if we decide not to fight, the Islamist terrorists are not going to make peace with us. In fact, looking at history, they have increased their level of terrorism when met with no resistance. Therefore we must decide how we want to fight, because a fight is what we have, until we win. Do we want to give up strategic advantages, or to increase the pressure? The choice seems pretty clear ("As Lebanon turns into Gaza," May 12). MATTHEW BERMAN Herzliya ...getting nowhere Sir, - I've lived in Israel for three years now. I feel good here: This is my homeland. Perhaps I am naive, but I do not understand what is going on. Rockets and shells fall daily, sometimes hourly ("Man killed by Palestinian mortar attack laid to rest," May 12). Since the Second Lebanon War three soldiers languish "somewhere" in captivity. Ehud Olmert releases Palestinian prisoners. He talks here, flies there, breakfasts and dines with all kinds of politicians and representatives. But these smiling photo-ops are not taking us anywhere. Mr. Olmert: Stop talking, stay home, show your power. Let others make the first move. Or let someone else lead the country. The list of names on Remembrance Day is much too long. JOANNE NIHOM Kibbutz Beit Ha'emek Israel: Best for Arabs Sir, - Arabs continue to mourn the establishment of Israel as the nakba or catastrophe. In "Palestinian statehood - as elusive as ever" (May 12) Douglas Bloomfield reminded us that "the real nakba is not the creation of the Jewish state, but the rejection by Arab leaders of the 1947 Partition Pan and the opportunity to create a statefor the Palestinians." Indeed, local Arabs should not direct their pain at us; their plight would most likely have been even worse had the invading Arab armies defeated the Palestinian Jews in 1949. As the conquering Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian armies fought each other for control, continual war would have ravaged the Palestinian Arabs and the land. They would have been forced to choose sides, increasing their "catastrophe." As far as Israel's Arab citizens are concerned, the establishment of Israel and its victory over the invading Arab armies were the best things that could have happened under the circumstances. AARON BASHANI Jerusalem Sir, - Douglas Bloomfield's summing-up of the situation hit the nail on the head. I will make numerous copies and take them abroad with me as my contribution to PR about Israel and its problems. It may be a drop in the ocean, but if it helps, it will be worth it. HILARY GATOFF Herzliya Pituah From India, with joy Sir, - I, from deep in my heart, express joy on the 60th anniversary of free Israel. Truly said, Israel is a miracle of human history. I have much respect for this great modern, sophisticated, tolerant, brave nation. I urge your younger generation to continue with tradition and protect your nation from threat. You may be surprised to read that I am a Zoroastrian, the original faith of Persia (now Iran), and that where I live in Gujarat State there is, exactly opposite our fire temple, a synagogue. CHERAG M. KELAWALA Ahmedabad, India False fire Sir, - The High Rabbinical Court of Israel has fashioned Halacha out of whole cloth and decided to revoke conversions carried out by Rabbi Haim Druckman ("Conversion Authority's credibility undercut by High Rabbinical Court. Thousands of conversions could be discredited," May 4). These insensitive - and, yes, cruel - rabbis probably realize they have no religious basis for their decision. They have committed a sin of the worst kind, publicly humiliating the weakest members of our beautiful faith, our Jewish converts. Moreover, they have brazenly, like Aaron's sons, brought a form of false fire, placing themselves above Halacha and even above God. For conversion to Judaism is not something carried out by the religious court; it transpires at a much higher level entirely - the Almighty Himself, Who grants the ger tzedek a Jewish soul in place of the non-Jewish one he or she was born with. The beit din is just the instrument by which the Jewish community publicly affirms the Almighty's decision. It can no more revoke a conversion than truly grant it. Those who made this despicable decision will have to answer to the Almighty, and to the converts they have abused ("Rabbis put off registering converts until they hear from Chief Rabbi Amar," May 12). HERA APPEL Kiryat Arba Shmuel Katz, role model Sir, - Shmuel Katz, who passed away the day after Yom Ha'atzma'ut, was a role model for our citizens. He made aliya from South Africa and dedicated his life to helping Israel become an independent nation. In 1981, when Mr. Katz spoke in New York at Rabbi Shlomo Riskin's synagogue, I heard him. I bought his book Battleground - Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, which he autographed with a personal dedication. The next time we met was in the early 1990s, when my wife and I had made aliya, at the dedication of a dormitory by my cousin at Ariel College. Shmuel Katz was a man of principle and integrity. We looked forward to reading his incisive articles when they appeared in The Jerusalem Post. In these times, the Post should write even more about people who show character and courage ("Shmuel Katz dies at 93," May 11). SIMCHA FRIEDMAN Betar Illit