May 2: Reason to sing

There's no better memorial to those perished in Auschwitz than youngsters on the site where Germans thought they were destroying us all.

Reason to sing
Sir, – Regarding “Auschwitz bar mitzva for 78-year-old Oscar-winner Branko Lustig” (April 26), a few years ago I was shocked, as no doubt were many others, by the behavior of Israeli high school students on their visit to Auschwitz, as reported in the press. The youngsters apparently sang, danced, laughed, used their cell-phones, dressed inappropriately and were generally “disrespectful” to the site.
For the next four or five days I agreed wholeheartedly with the criticism, until I realized that surely there is no better memorial to the people who suffered and perished in Auschwitz than these youngsters – young, bright and full of life – on the site where the Germans thought they were destroying us all.
Were I to speak to my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins whom I never met but are today in the ashes of Auschwitz, all I can say is we can’t bring you back; we couldn’t relieve your suffering; we couldn’t save you. But look at these young people inspired by your bravery. They are your descendents and your legacy. We preserve and perpetuate your memory in naming our children after you.
To Branko Lustig: Mazal tov. You have been bar mitzva for the past 65 years. Many of us are celebrating with you. Let us hear the singing world-wide, and loud and clear in Auschwitz and the other extermination camps: “Am Yisrael Chai!”
Sir, – As Israel again marks the commemoration of the Shoah, let us not forget the precedent of the Armenian genocide of 1915, which inspired Hitler to kill the Jews.
To our shame, Israel has yet to officially recognize this genocide and instead uses circumlocutions such as “tragedy,” allegedly in order to avoid antagonizing Turkey. Morality must speak louder than any expediency, and Holocaust Remembrance Day is the right time to set the record straight.
Jerusalem, The writer is a former ambassador

Letters about letters
Sir, – It is amusing that some of your April 29 letter writers believe that it is incumbent on Orthodox Jews to make aliya (“Walk the walk”). However, one should note that the State of Israel was founded by the sacrifices of mainly secular Jews, and that Orthodoxy in the Diaspora was mainly anti- Zionist.
It is only lately that the Orthodox have changed their minds, and they now think that aliya is mandated by God.
Sir, – In “Joseph’s Tomb” in your April 28 Letters section, David Goshen writes “The Israeli government would be well advised to seriously consider negotiating the transfer of Joseph’s remains to a location that would enable Breslav hassidim and others to pray safely at his tomb.” Hannah Sondhelm grieves for the family of Ben- Yosef Livnat but adds that “There is no playing around with the PA. Rules are rules and must be followed by everyone.”
Judy Bamberger says: “The Israelis attacked near Joseph’s Tomb were shot at by Palestinian police who were legally guarding a well-known roadblock....
What would have happened had three vehicles carrying Palestinians attempting to run an Israeli roadblock....”
It occurs to me that these letter writers conveniently forget that this is Jewish land and the holy sites belong to the Jewish people. Only due to extremely weak leadership were these sites given over to Muslim custody, to our everlasting shame and sorrow. This of course is only a step away from transferring the Jewish people out of their historic and legal land.
Sir, – On April 27, two letters to the editor appeared, one from John Katten (“Show them hospitals”) and the other from Richard Schifter (“The UN process”).
Katten’s letter pointed out how the Palestinians have effectively obtained the sympathy of people by playing the poor victim card, and how Israel needs to counter their propaganda by showing that Arabs and Jews peacefully co-exist in Israeli hospitals.
The same holds true for Israeli universities.
Schifter, as chairman of the board of directors of the American Jewish International Relations Institute, should be able to use the information in Katten’s letter to good advantage to rebut the many attempts to delegitimize Israel.
Zichron Ya’acov
Preemptive measures
Sir, – David Horovitz’s masterful interview with Prof. Asa Kasher (“The moralist,” Editor’s Notes, April 22), who laudably advises the IDF on ethics in wars such as Cast Lead, generates unease. Graphic images unsettlingly stand out, like in 100-to-1 Palestinian-Israeli kill ratio, Cast Lead’s past and future, and hypothetical models, like being forced to fire on Gaza rooftops filled with Palestinian children.
Kasher is blameless. If the politicians had negotiated based on the 2002 Arab League peace plan and ended the occupation and settlements, peace and security would preempt all Cast Leads. But seemingly they believe it would be more tragic to end the occupation and settlements than to possibly fire on child-filled rooftops.
Ultimately, the Right only isolates Israel from the liberal Jewish and world public, and scuttles the country’s peace and safety.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Menopause and HRT
Sir, – Regarding “The body politic” (Comment & Features, April 17), the debate about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women is still raging, and people take sides with passion, each having good arguments: Menopause is a physiological and natural process; we should not interfere with Mother Nature; any addition of hormones is harmful; menopause is accompanied by many symptoms and pathologies (early menopause is linked with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis); the lack of estrogens and progesterone needs to be treated.
But two issues confuse the whole picture: 1) There are hormones and there are hormones! The estrogens found to be harmful in the WHO study were made from the urine of pregnant mares, and the progestative used was a synthetic molecule different from progesterone.
We now have FDA-approved molecules that are exactly the same as those the body used to make, which, given in the same dosage, do not carry the same risks for stroke and breast cancer, to cite but two examples.
2) Indeed, “not all postmenopausal women are medically the same.” Why one woman suffers tremendously from hot flashes while her neighbor does not is still unknown. But studies are now emerging, and they’ve found that HRT is beneficial for symptomatic women (for heart disease and Alzheimer prevention).
Maybe we have to listen when our bodies are screaming for help!
Jerusalem, The writer is head of the Menopause Clinic at Bikur Cholim Hospital

Make Glick a habit
Sir, – Every Friday, my Center-to-Left political leanings are brought sharply into focus by Caroline B. Glick’s observations.
Her incisive, provocative and always well-documented comments sway me in most cases to agree with her.
As I believe she is a genuine “flag waver” for Israel’s success and pride, it would not, in my opinion, do any harm for Prime Minister Netanyahu and his cabinet to also make a habit of reading Glick’s column. They may not always agree with what she writes, but it will certainly make them begin to question their own positions, if they truly hold Israel’s national and international welfare above their own political affiliations.
Tel Mond