November 2, 2007

Published October 31, 2007, issue of November 02, 2007.
  • Print
  • Share Share

For Jerusalem’s Sake

The letter sent last month by the Orthodox Union to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with regard to the possibility of his government ceding sections of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority was not, as your editorial asserts, motivated by “anger and insecurity” (“Holier Than Thou,” October 26).

Rather, it was a reflection of a policy resolution adopted, after sober consideration and debate, at the O.U.’s 2006 biennial convention. It was an appeal to Olmert to, in the words of the letter, not do “what would be unthinkable to the millions of Jews who, for centuries, could not come to Jerusalem, yet raised their voices with full conviction and deep longing” for Jerusalem. And our “assertiveness,” as you call it, is motivated by the belief that all Jews, throughout the world, have a share in the holy city.

In the weeks since we sent our letter, Palestinian leaders have continued to publicly state their denial of any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and also expressed a desire to “control” not only the Temple Mount but the Western Wall as well. Such statements should alarm anyone who, while wishing for peace, also wishes for Israel to remain a Jewish state for the Jewish people, and we welcome everyone to join us in asserting ourselves for the sake of Jerusalem.

Nathan Diament
Director of Public Policy
Orthodox Union
Washington, D.C.


Empathy Beats Trauma

We agree with Leonard Fein’s statement that for the Jewish people, “yesterday’s trauma still overwhelms and tomorrow’s trauma is imminent” (“‘Israel Lobby’ Writers Miss the Real Jewish Conflict,” October 26). However, the thread that links all human beings regardless of race, religion, culture or gender is the suffering of trauma on some level or another. Fear and distrust are the common denominators of all people. What is lacking is the absence of empathetic application.

Arabs need to learn the history, atrocities and traumas the Jews have experienced and vice versa. Through empathy, tolerance and compassion we may come to the understanding that we all have more in common than we may think.

Odeh and Lena Aburdene
Washington, D.C.
Hans Jonas’s Genius


I was elated to see the review by David Kaufmann of Christian Wiese’s “The Life and Thought of Hans Jonas” (“One of Most Relevant Thinkers You’ve Never Heard Of,” October 19). Yes, Jonas’s writing, like much Germanic philosophy, could be turgid, dense and difficult, but when he soared, he reached heights of insight that could cover eons of human and earthly life. His “The Phenomenon of Life: Toward a Philosophical Biology” sums up millennia of human and non-human life, sets this development in a startling light and reintroduces respectability for the concept of teleology.

Jonas’s concern with the problem of how consciousness arose out of non-consciousness will give support to closet vitalists, and his 1984 book “The Imperative of Responsibility” pointed with almost eerie exactness at the problems of global warming and of technology over-reaching itself.

I hope this new publication reverses the trend of Jonas’s obscurity.

Roberta Kalechofsky
Marblehead, Mass.


Paternalism Lives

As an admirer of the Forward, I was shocked and offended by Paul Marx’s opinion article (“Create a ‘Bar Mitzvah’ for Black Boys,” October 19). The piece raised serious questions about the lingering effects of racist, paternalistic attitudes among the Jewish community.

It is naïve to assume that by transferring a Jewish custom to the African-American community, the complex problems of crime and drug abuse will be solved. Not only would such an idea be unsuccessful, but it is also deeply disrespectful to assert that our own traditions should be copied by the black community. Marx’s proposal for a “black boy” bar mitzvah would be laughable if it did not reflect the disturbing fact that many Americans, including the highly educated, do not consider blacks to be their intellectual or cultural equals. As Jews, we should be particularly sensitive to articles that denigrate others.

Joe Huennekens
Arlington, Va.


A God for Everyone

David Klinghoffer misses the nuance (“When Democrats Become Instruments of God,” October 19) when he decries the “muted reactions from Jews and other liberals” regarding the injection of religion into the Democrats’ presidential campaigns. The Democrats speak of God (acceptable to all religions). The Republicans speak of Jesus Christ. Ah, there’s the rub!

Gwen Weinberger
Aventura, Fla.


Compassion Deficit

I agree with the October 10 editorial “Bush and the Children.” I was genuinely shocked by the president’s lack of compassion when he vetoed a bipartisan bill that would extend medical insurance for poor children under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Unlike many other countries, we have an abundance of medical resources available. With our resources comes a serious moral responsibility to make them available not only to poor children but to anyone who needs help. Our government must live up to this responsibility, and Congress must override the President’s veto of the SCHIP program.

**Nathan Weissler **
*Chevy Chase, Md. *


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.