October 12: Absurd undertaking

Would he [David Gebry] be able to open a shul in any of the countries in the Middle East except Israel? So what’s so newsworthy about this?

Absurd undertaking
Sir, – I find the articles about David Gerbi’s attempt to reopen a shul in Libya absurd (“Following protests calling for deportation, Libyan Jewish doctor to return to Rome,” October 10).
Would he – or anyone for that matter – be able to open a shul in any of the countries in the Middle East except Israel? So what’s so newsworthy about this? If he wants to clean up a shul he should come here.
We’ll even give him an aliya and a L’Chaim.
My Maimonides
Sir, – Regarding the lament noted by Joshua Halberstam (“Who owns Maimonides,” Jewish Ideas Daily, October 10) of the mystical turn “perhaps especially” in Orthodox Judaism: While the line between “mystical” and “rational” is not at all an easy one to draw, (are the Bible-rooted prophecies of Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, et al. lamentably “mystical”?) one can safely say that the more obvious – not to say notorious – manifestations of the mystical turn are, if anything, primarily the preserve of the non-Orthodox, even the non-Jewish.
Kabbalah centers, books, and courses have proliferated precisely because, stripped of the rigors of Orthodox content, they falsely offer a version of Judaism which is accessible to the less informed, the less – and even the non-affiliated.
Without passing judgment on precisely what value such mystical investigation has for its adherents, it can also safely be said that the Maimonides of the Mishneh Torah still reigns supreme in the Orthodox world.
No sanction of arson
Sir, – I could not agree more with Andrew M. Rosemarine (“Inextinguishable fires,” Comment & Features, October 10) in condemning the horrific act of dangerous arsonists attacking a mosque as well as all other display of religious intolerance.
However, I would like to point out a tremendous difference between these intolerable attacks and all the vicious events against Jewish holy writings and other anti-Semitic acts described so vividly by Mr. Rosemarine.
When gentiles burned the Talmud in Rome in 1553 or the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943, they acted with the full approval or even under the directive of local authorities.
In the events that are unfortunately taking place in Israel, not a single rabbi or Jewish leader has indicated any type of approval.
Not even silent understanding.
Only outrage and disgust.
It is indeed sad that anyone could be so simple-minded and cruel as to burn a mosque, but as we sadly know, even crazy people have free will to act according to their twisted convictions.
I have no doubt that the police will do their very best to find the perpetrators and that the court will punish them appropriately.
Armchair critic
Sir, – Is Judy Bamberger really as naive as she appears when she presents her arguments for the nonexistent state of Palestine’s admittance to UNESCO, or is she playing devil’s advocate? (“Missed opportunity,” Letters, October 9).
She must know that whenever there was Arab control of any historical sites Jews were barred entry. When the Arabs controlled the Cave of the Patriarchs, Jews were only allowed up to the seventh step of the entrance. The “friendly” Arabs destroyed Joseph’s Tomb and each time we tried to renovate it and visit, they attempt to attack the site again.
They are non-stop trying to delegitimize the Jewish connection to any Jewish holy places, even the Western Wall. The Arabs will never agree to joint ownership as they view Israel as interlopers in the land.
The reason that the US and Israel are so adamant in denying their attempts to join UNESCO and other peripheral UN organizations is to try and get a foot in the door to receive UN Security Council recognition of their state without negotiating with Israel.
Hopefully America will carry out their threat of withholding financial aid whenever they try to bypass agreed upon treaties like the Oslo Accords and go the unilateral way.
Has Judy Bamberger ever visited Israel or is she just an armchair critic from the other side of the world?
Petah Tikva
Sir, – Can it be that things really appear so upside-down to the lady from down-under? If a Jewish visitor to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is seen to be moving his lips in prayer he or she will be forcibly evicted.
Collaboration? Cooperation? Communication? And Peace? Indeed!
Sir, – The continual twisted logic of Judy Bamberger far away in O’Connor, Australia, is a sad reminder of the inability to recognize the real dangers that at any given moment can engulf our tiny state, mainly because of missed opportunities by Israel to fight and defeat maniacal enemies prepared to sacrifice their own flesh and blood if only they will murder Jews in the process.
UNESCO is just one more ploy by the terrorist in a suit – [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas – to gain recognition to further his aim of recognition of the new state of Palestine which he has clearly said will be Judenrein (free of Jews). From there it is only a matter of time before he will envelop what is left of our already decimated land.
Does the Jerusalem Post not think that we have enough of our own homegrown defeatists who would – without blinking an eye – have us relinquish our home, without importing them from where they are completely divorced from reality.
Lacking leadership?
Sir, – In his new column, Hirsh Goodman wastes no time in engaging in some “Bibi bashing” (“Not as Terrible as you think,” PostScript, October 7).
He attacks the prime minister for his “poor leadership” and joins in the pessimism of American Jews over Israel’s leadership.
He talks of his “deep respect” for Thomas Friedman, the New York Times reporter who openly blames Netanyahu for most of the ills in the Middle East and who has become the mouthpiece of a hostile US administration, which has had to tone down its anti-Israel rhetoric in an election year.
I have little sympathy or patience for the angst and hand-wringing amongst American Jews, most of whom are ultra-liberal and have never even visited Israel. If they are so unhappy with my government, they are more than welcome to make aliya and make their voices and opinions heard.
Don’t discriminate
Sir, – The October 4 article written by Jeremy Sharon entitled “Progressive groups petition High Court to force gov’t to institute civil marriage” was an enlightening article that opened my eyes to the current religious controversy regarding marriage in Israel.
I can understand why the Israeli government has passed a law preventing citizens unaffiliated with a particular religion from marrying, considering their goal is to establish religious ceremonies as the “norm.”
However, those petitioning against this law have a fair argument in asking for the basic freedom of choosing whether they would like a civil or religious marriage.
I completely agree with Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, in that a compromise is needed to resolve the dilemma here. The Jewish marriage should be the “mainstream” in Israel, but those who don’t wish to have a religious ceremony should have the option of civil partnership. The State of Israel is meant to encourage continuation of the Jewish people and religion, but that doesn’t mean non-religious citizens should be discriminated against, so to speak.
Los Angeles, California