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
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