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While read­ing “Date fiesta in the Arava” (Novem­ber 2), I was re­minded of a won­der­ful story con­cern­ing the nam­ing of the Med­joul date. The first time this date ap­peared in Is­rael, peo­ple had no idea of its name. Fi­nally, they asked a young Arab man if he knew the name of the date. The man ex­am­ined the date care­fully and said Med­joul. Later it was dis­cov­ered that the mean­ing for the word Med­joul in Ara­bic is – “I do not know” – un­known.

The next time you buy this won­der­ful date, you can smile be­cause you have in­for­ma­tion that most peo­ple are un­aware of. PAUL BERMAN Sho­ham


Linda Avi­tan, in her let­ter “Man in Power” (Novem­ber 2), states that Women of the Wall have been pray­ing at the Kotel on Rosh Hodesh for 30 years – well, Jews have been pray­ing in the Or­tho­dox ser­vice for cen­turies. Reli­gion is not a fash­ion that you can change to keep up with the trend.

If the Women of the Wall want to pray in their way, how about do­ing it in their own sanc­tu­ar­ies.

Would they have the temer­ity to go into any Or­tho­dox sy­n­a­gogue and try to change it to suit their de­sires?

The con­flict from both sides is un­ac­cept­able and only makes mat­ters worse, so please try and find a way with re­spect for the place – the Kotel. VICKY SCHER



Daniel Gordis’s lastest “Ob­ser­va­tions” piece pro­vides a rather lu­cid alarm re­gard­ing the dan­ger posed by the anti-Is­rael IfNotNow or­ga­ni­za­tion. That is all right. But in typ­i­cal present-day lib­eral/ Left fash­ion, Gordis can­not re­frain from politi­ciz­ing the slaugh­ter of in­no­cent Jews in Pitts­burgh and dis­tort­ing a per­fectly un­der­stand­able com­ment by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Trump sim­ply ob­served that had there been some armed peo­ple in the sy­n­a­gogue dur­ing Shab­bat ser­vices, the death toll might have been re­duced. He was com­ment­ing on mit­i­gat­ing that dis­as­ter by be­ing able to fight back.

How Gordis got from there to ac­cus­ing our pres­i­dent of blam­ing the Jews for caus­ing the Pitts­burgh dis­as­ter bog­gles my mind. To make things even more poi­sonous, Gordis gra­tu­itously com­pares Trump with PA pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas, who con­tends that Jews caused the Holo­caust. In Gordis’s words, both “out­ra­geously blamed the Jews for the death of Jews.” Gordis’s dis­tor­tion is noth­ing more than an ugly lie.

To bor­row a phrase from Gordis’s own ar­ti­cle, with an added “dose of nuance,” even Gordis might have been able to per­ceive the truth and over­come his deep-seated ha­tred and prej­u­dice to­ward Trump, which he gives ex­pres­sion to wher­ever he sees an open­ing. Shame on him. He can­not be taken as a se­ri­ous com­men­ta­tor.




Re­gard­ing Daniel Gordis’s col­umn, “IfNotNow’s Trump-chan­nel­ing man­i­festo” (Novem­ber 2): I find it de­spi­ca­ble that a com­par­i­son was made be­tween our en­e­mies such as Ab­bas and other Holo­caust de­niers and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, a true friend of Is­rael.

I was un­able to find statis­tics on­line as to how many Amer­i­cans own guns but I can cer­tainly tell you that when I lived in Rhode Is­land and went to the shoot­ing range, there was one Jew to ev­ery 10 gen­tiles who owned guns. I, too won­der why Jews aren’t car­ry­ing guns to pro­tect them­selves any­where in the United States. It by no means lays blame on Jewish wor­shipers for be­ing in the line of fire un­pro­tected. It just bog­gles the mind as to why we never learn from our past.

Amer­i­can Jewry is more threat­ened by the Left, as they are the anti-Zion­ist Jew haters at ev­ery col­lege cam­pus and ram­pant in the me­dia. Per­haps the Jew haters are tak­ing more des­per­ate mea­sures re­cently since they no longer have for­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama to spew his anti-Is­rael hate and in­stead, have Trump and his Jewish daugh­ter and her fam­ily, who stand with Is­rael. KAREN DUB



Re­gard­ing “How do I tell my par­ents?” (Three Ladies – Three Lat­tes, Oc­to­ber 26): In her sep­a­rate ad­vice col­umn (Life Life Life, Ob­ser­va­tions), “Sec­u­lar Pam” of­ten dis­plays her anti-re­li­gious bias, but last week’s com­ments went a step too far. Pam Peled writes that she would pre­fer that her daugh­ters mar­ried non-Jews rather than haredim, who she claims don’t work for a liv­ing and don’t go to the army. (I won­der if Pam has ven­tured be­yond her sec­u­lar neigh­bor­hood and ac­tu­ally met any haredim.)

In­ter­mar­riage, which is ram­pant in the United States and else­where, has aptly been called the “silent Holo­caust.” Yet Pam, in her dis­dain for haredim, seems to have no prob­lem with her chil­dren mar­ry­ing out of the fold, if it means they won’t, heaven for­bid, marry some­one ul­tra-Or­tho­dox. This is Is­raeli sec­u­lar­ism at its worst, with its blind ha­tred for reli­gion, fu­eled by fear and ig­no­rance.

Per­haps your news­pa­per should let Pam ped­dle her anti-haredi ca­nards else­where. A colum­nist who vil­i­fies a size­able por­tion of the re­li­gious camp and prefers a Christ­mas tree over a cholent should be the last per­son to give any­one ad­vice on re­li­gious is­sues. KENNY FISHER

Jerusalem Writer Pam Peled re­sponds: I don’t pre­sume to give ad­vice on re­li­gious mat­ters; we an­swer per­ti­nent ques­tions ac­cord­ing to our own be­liefs and opin­ions. I wish we’d wel­come peo­ple who marry Jews into the fold (if they want to con­vert); not push our kids away with their spouses. Maybe we’ll get an­other King David in the process – his granny was a con­vert, no?

I’m re­lieved that the pa­per I write for still has space for dif­fer­ent points of view; I don’t hate reli­gion, I don’t think I’m fear­ful, and hope I’m not ig­no­rant.

And, for the record, I love cholent; Christ­mas trees don’t do it for me. Shab­bat shalom to us all.


One’s thoughts are once again gal­va­nized on read­ing the de­tailed re­view by Glenn C. Altschuler on Mary Ful­brook’s lat­est book cov­er­ing the dark­est hap­pen­ings per­pe­trated by the Third Re­ich (“Con­fronting a his­tory of geno­cide,” Oc­to­ber 19).

On read­ing and learn­ing of the atroc­i­ties that took place prin­ci­pally on Jews – but also on other mi­nori­ties such as Gyp­sies, ho­mo­sex­u­als and var­i­ous per­sons con­sid­ered de­gen­er­ate by this bar­baric en­tity – one is al­ways left with var­i­ous dark thoughts and much head shak­ing and hand wring­ing.

As men­tioned on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions and no doubt will come to the fore af­ter com­plet­ing this wor­thy tome, one is left once again won­der­ing how a supremely well-ed­u­cated and pre­vi­ously mostly civ­i­lized na­tion could turn so deeply ugly.

This of course is ex­plained time and again and con­fi­dently sug­gests that a dem­a­gogue gal­va­nized a na­tion via rhetoric and pro­pa­ganda to cre­ate a them-and-us sit­u­a­tion where blame was cast on cer­tain sec­tions of so­ci­ety, which au­to­mat­i­cally sealed their fate.

One there­fore al­ways won­ders how a so-called friend and neigh­bor could turn its back and block out the hap­pen­ings go­ing on around them and in turn lay the ques­tion at one’s own door as how would we re­act in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances.

How­ever, the fact that so many knew what was hap­pen­ing to so many leaves one with a damn­ing con­dem­na­tion on man’s in­hu­man­ity to man.

Al­though the other fact that must al­ways be re­mem­bered is that those that en­dured this dark­est of pe­ri­ods, were able to re­build their lives and con­tribute greatly to so­ci­ety.

Th­ese books are a last­ing le­gacy and al­though they do not al­ways an­swer all the ques­tions, they are im­por­tant for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to re­al­ize that th­ese atroc­i­ties were un­for­tu­nately a ma­jor fac­tor of a great war – not just a in­ci­dents in his­tory that in time might be passed over and for­got­ten. STEPHEN VISHNICK

Tel Aviv

Per­haps the Jew haters are tak­ing more des­per­ate mea­sures re­cently since they no longer have for­mer US pres­i­dent Barack Obama to spew his anti-Is­rael hate

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