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January 4, 2007

All Jews Have a Share in Jerusalem

The Orthodox Union has not, as a December 28 editorial argues, said that the Israeli government “has no right” to negotiate the fate of Jerusalem, nor would we ever suggest that “Israelis must continue waiting — and continue dying — until Jews in Baltimore and Las Vegas approve the deal” (“‘If I Forget Thee…’”).

We have, as the Forward editorializes, strongly expressed the view that all Jews have a share in Jerusalem — the city to and for which we and our ancestors have prayed for millennia. Thus, we have both the right and the responsibility to advocate our views. The prime minister of Israel himself has said so.

As demonstrated by the most recent polling, our position against the re-division of Jerusalem reflects the views of a majority of Israeli and American Jews. The O.U.’s advocacy against the re-division of Jerusalem — mandated by a policy resolution adopted by delegates to our last biennial convention — will continue in the vigorous, heartfelt and respectful manner in which it has been conducted to date.

Stephen Savitsky
Nathan Diament
Director of Public Policy
Orthodox Union
New York, N.Y.

Where Is the Outrage Over Twin Experiment?

Though I’m glad that Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein were able to reconnect, I am saddened by the fact that more outrage has not been shown with respect to the fact that these twins were subjected to psychological experiments that were not, when it boils down to it, that far removed from some of the things the Nazis did (“Long Lost Twins, Reunited,” October 5).

That this work was sponsored and performed in large part by Jews in the postwar era makes these acts even more heinous. Regardless of how many years have passed, the people and entities associated with allowing and facilitating this evil should be documented and, where possible, tried in civil or criminal courts. Their professional licenses should be evaluated for suspension, and notes should be sent out to pertinent publishing and academic entities so as to discourage the use of this data by others (unless said use is done with the express consent of the twins that were studied).

For acts as heinous as this, even the dead will need to take responsibility for their sins. Bernstein and Schein’s book “Identical Strangers” should be viewed as a critical first step to this process of legal, moral and historical atonement.

“Never again” is not just a bumper sticker, and such acts in the name of science represent the same kind of evil that Josef Mengele performed in the name of science. This cannot be said too many times. Although the scale was small, this was a crime against humanity and should be treated as such.

With respect to the data, the morally correct thing to do is for ownership and control of pertinent personal records and data to be immediately transferred to each of these twins without argument or hesitation. Any entity that tries to stop said transfer should be regarded as being a co-conspirator after the fact to a crime against humanity. Each pair of twins should be able to decide who, if anyone, gets access to what, and when.

Erik Kassebaum
Escondido, Calif.

Catholic Circumcision Violates Moral Code

A December 28 article about mohels circumcising non-Jewish babies reveals an appalling lack of knowledge by some Christians about Christian teaching concerning circumcision (“Mohels Give Non-Jewish Babies a Slice of Tradition”). For some mohels to take advantage of and profit financially from this ignorance is reprehensible!

St. Peter, who was Jewish, dismissed circumcision as unnecessary and disadvantageous: “And now are you going to correct God by burdening the Gentiles with a yoke that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10)

St. Paul, who was also Jewish, warned Christians: “Pay close attention to me, Paul, when I tell you that if you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no use to you.” (Galatians 5:2) He also said, “Be on guard against those who mutilate” (Philippians 3:2), and “Circumcision counts for nothing, and its lack makes no difference either.” (1 Corinthians 7:19)

For a minister, a Catholic priest and supposedly Christian parents to be circumcising their babies in violation of Christian teaching is a sad state of affairs.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: ““Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.”

Any Catholic priest who attends and blesses the non-therapeutic circumcision of a Catholic baby is violating the moral law, and his actions need to be condemned. Any mohel who participates in this evil act likewise violates the moral law, and his actions, too, should be condemned.

To understand more fully the horrendous nature of this situation, imagine if you will how Jews would feel if Christian clergymen traveled around baptizing Jewish babies.

Petrina Fadel
Catholics Against Circumcision
Groton, N.Y.

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