Jewish Journal


January 30, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Israeli elections, Rabbi Brous, Hebrew charter concerns


Israeli Election: Another Perspective

I found David Suissa’s column enlightening (“Israelis Voting for Reality,” Jan. 25). Given the intransigent Jew-hatred in the Arab world, the merits of “hunkering down and waiting ’em out” was persuasive. On the other hand, Suissa omitted another aspect of the situation: Poking your enemy in the eye with a stick — which is what additional settlement-building amounts to — is not helpful. It comes in response to political considerations within Israel and the ideology of one faction in Israeli society, rather than any necessity for building in provocative locations. Patience is one thing; poking your enemy is another.

Phyllis Sorter, Santa Monica

Examining Religious Prejudices

I would like to thank the Jewish Journal and Sinem Tezyapar for such a timely article (“Are Anti-Jewish Slogans Truly Islamic?” Jan. 25).

In my work with Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, I have come across many Jewish and Muslim persons who have common prejudices toward each other’s religions and norms. When you go deeper in discussion, it often come out that such views are more political and cultural than religions itself. 

The important thing is that those who work with interfaith and intercultural issues are aware of this fact and should therefore separate normative discourse of culture, religion and history. It is the media and politicians who always misuse and misinform people. 

Bashy Quraishy, via jewishjournal.com

Thank you for the article. It is a perfect illustration of how orthodoxy — in all religions — destroys the ability of people to see “the other” as they are today, without referring to texts hundreds and thousands of years old. Yes, the world today is changing so radically and so rapidly that many need something to cling to in order not to feel overwhelmed. Rather than the various religious texts of antiquity, I would suggest another ancient proverb that I believe still holds true for all: The Golden Rule — do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Jerry Beigel, via jewishjournal.com

If most Muslims interpreted the Quran as Tezyapar does, we wouldn’t be facing the world we are. Any text can be interpreted in different ways, and the predominant cultural values and political realities influence such interpretations. That is how Christianity, a faith of loving your enemies and giving the other cheek, ended up creating the Inquisition. Obviously, Christians of today overwhelmingly reject the interpretations that led to such aberrations. Muslims of today do not overwhelmingly embrace Tezyapar’s interpretations, and unfortunately are moved by messages of hatred. Islam needs more Tezyapars. It needs tolerance, not just toleration.

Lilliana Torres, via jewishjournal.com

Calling Out Rabbi Brous

It was disheartening to read Rabbi Sharon Brous’ Washington inaugural address in the current issue of the Journal (“Rabbi Sharon Brous Blesses Inauguration,” Jan. 25). To proclaim that we need to be more understanding, compassionate and giving, who is she referring to? Americans? I would find that there needs to be all those qualities in Islamic countries and communist countries. But, of course, being a leftist, it is obvious she is referring to us big, bad, greedy Americans.

Melissa Cohen, via e-mail

Hebrew Charter Concerns

To Tamar Galatzan: What is wrong with white Jewish Israeli Valley kids going to a public school (“LAUSD OK’s English-Hebrew Charter School,” Jan. 25)? A public school cannot discriminate based on religion, and as long as religious classes are not taught there is no legal violation. It should not concern anyone who attends the school. Public school is about ensuring education for everyone.

Chris Tomson, via jewishjournal.com

Whatever happened to separation of church and state?

Jessica Jimenez, via jewishjournal.com

A Case of the Blues 

It seems like a contradiction to kiss the white threads on our tzizit while saying a prayer that specifies the inclusion of a blue thread. Baruch Sterman, author of “The Rarest Blue” which Jonathon Kirsch awarded the Jewish Journal Book Prize for 2013, searched for and discovered a source of existing murex snails, and developed a technique for dyeing the tekhelet. The author reminds us that the tekhelet, the blue thread, “literally and figuratively points the way to an ethical path...” He catches hundreds of the snails at a time, breaks the shell with a hammer, and with a razor blade, slices off about a quarter-inch- long gland on the snail’s back, to obtain the dye. One contradiction is solved, but are there any new ones?

Marilyn Russell, Los Angeles

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