The marketplace of Judaism
In “Flourishing Judaism” (Editorial, February 7), you quote Uri Keidar as saying that a “framework” that “regulates” interaction between religion and state should ensure that “there is a place for everyone and... Judaism draws people in and doesn’t distance them.”
You agree with him in that “there needs to be room for more opinions, more diversity and more ways to express one’s Jewishness.” You add: “Judaism is a living entity, and by granting a monopoly to any single [religious] group, no matter how honorable, principled and distinguished...
Judaism’s tremendous potentials are stifled.”
To be a Jew, one has to live it according to the laws and commandments handed down at Mount Sinai. This certainly does not “stifle”; it only stops it from being trashed, misquoted and changed to suit the many forms of liberalism that come onto the “market.”
What your editorial recommends is “free market Judaism,” an atmosphere in which different expressions of Judaism are given the opportunity to compete freely. Huh? Are we talking about a shuk or the life-blood of the Jewish people through which we have survived thousands of years of pogroms and the Holocaust to return to our historic, God-given land? Tellingly, you also say that “market forces – resulting most notably from the huge wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union – have created a demand for non-kosher food, more commercial activity on Shabbat and civil marriage.”
Herein lies what is at the bottom of the hullabaloo over Jewish practice. I believe it was always the intention to bring over people with no – or the most tenuous, bordering on the ridiculous – connection to Judaism to make us into a country for all people rather than the historic Jewish state for the Jewish people. This will not allow Judaism to develop; it will destroy it.
Can it be that after fighting and dying for this Jewish land, all we are now looking for is traffic on the road on Shabbat, places of entertainment open on Shabbat, shops and restaurants open on Shabbat, and the sale of non-kosher food with, perhaps, pigs as a centerpiece? We would not only be the laughingstock of the world, there would be no reason for denying the Arabs their stolen narrative, as we will have relinquished it.
Cancel the plan at once!
With regard to Moshe Dann’s “The World Bank’s Red-Dead Sea gamble” (Comment & Features, February 7), it is not only horrifying, it is inconceivable that our government could possibly have agreed to go along with such a huge mistake! Are we all aware of the main advantages of the World Bank’s scheme? Do we truly want to ensure that control over Area C would shift from Israel to the Palestinian Authority? That all Jews be removed from the area, including the IDF? That the armistice lines of 1949 be reinstated? Mr. Dann points out that this plan would not prevent the Dead Sea from receding. He also notes that Israel would give precious fresh water from the Kinneret to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority with little or no payment, and that PA claims over the entire Jordan Valley would be strengthened.
In addition, he writes that it would be much cheaper, faster and environmentally safer to supply water to the Dead Sea by a canal or pipeline from the Mediterranean.
Have we totally taken leave of our senses? This plan must be canceled at once!
The making of a sports fan
I am not a real sports fan. Growing up in the US, I liked playing sports such as baseball, touch football, tennis, bowling, sailing and even skiing. I have dabbled in these and others, but never to the point of sitting in front of a TV and emitting screams of joy or anguish as a team of highly paid professionals plays a game to satisfy the investment of millions by Wall Street-types.
But being back in the States, visiting my daughter’s family in Philly on Super Bowl Sunday, I came close to being the second type of sports participant, or what is commonly called a “fan.” Israelis are serious sports fans – just ask any of my Israeli grandchildren or great-grandchildren. But I came close during the Super Bowl.
During one of the Philadelphia Eagles’ touchdowns, amid all of the screaming and high-fiving, I almost let out a scream, waved my hand at my grandson’s high-five, missed and settled back in my chair without showing too much daylight between me and my comfortable seat.
I might become a true fan. After all, I was born right here in the “city of brotherly love.”
I might actually enjoy this fandom business and become an 80-year-old groupie.
When I get back home to Israel, watch out Hapoel Jerusalem! Here comes an Eagles fan!
Time to think about peace
As we emerge from the tormented darkness of Holocaust Remembrance Day toward the invigorating sunshine of the State of Israel’s coming 70th-anniversary celebrations, it behooves us to think about peace – or rather the lack of it – in this strife-torn world of ours.
For the life of me, I cannot and will never understand why we human beings live in constant state of danger of destruction despite all the advances humanity has made in this century alone. Have the leaders of the nations learned nothing from the woeful pages of history – not least recent history? With the Holocaust horror leading the way, we all vow piously “never again.” In the meantime, even well-meaning powers in Europe and America, as well as our own beloved Israel, have no option but to continue arming themselves to the hilt with the latest in weapons of mass destruction. In other words, nations and their leaders have apparently learned nothing from the relentless parade of war and massacre adorning the pages of history and marked remorselessly in red.
Is this really what we ordinary people have come into the world for, to live lives of perpetual fear, hopelessness and helplessness? Untold millions of ordinary folk of all creeds and hues in all nations undoubtedly want to live out their short sojourn on this Earth in peace and happiness. But the world’s leaders are seemingly unable or unwilling to change the traditional course of history and come together to inaugurate a new era and world of peace, friendship and cooperation for the benefit of all on God’s Earth.
You might say that this vision of mine is ridiculous because the nations and their leaders will never have the urge to change the course of history and hearken to the prayers of ordinary people the world over. Yet I tremble to think what the future holds in store for humanity unless Messrs. Trump, Putin, Khameini, Kim and their counterparts throughout the world finally come to their senses, destroy their weapons of mass destruction, reconcile with their enemies and usher in a new age of world peace such as mankind has never known and endlessly yearns for.
The writer has dedicated this letter to “the amazing and indefatigable Toby Willig, of blessed memory, whose numerous letters graced the Letters Section of The Jerusalem Post for so many years.