September 20, 2007
Cake is taken; happiness is not a warm gun; go veg, young man!
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Through your publication, we are pleased to extend Feuer an invitation to join us on one of our upcoming missions to Israel. We are sure it would be a real eye-opener for him. Last summer, several missions spent the majority of their time in shelters in the north giving comfort to residents who were besieged for weeks by bombs raining from Lebanon.
Hadassah has a full schedule of missions coming up for this year that suit every level of interest and background. We promise there will be no mean-spirited anecdotes to report later -- just lots of good memories and wealth of knowledge about the land and people of Israel.
Annette Meskin and Gail Lieb
National Missions Co-Chairs
Hadassah -- The Women's Zionist Organization of America
I received my jury notice for the week of Sept. 10. I knew Rosh Hashanah was on Thursday of that week and took my chances, hoping I wouldn't be called in or be given the day off if I was. I wasn't called until Thursday.
I called in and talked with someone to get an excuse and was told I should have postponed my service until after the holiday. If I had done this, and anyone else going to services did this, then there would be no observant Jews on any jury that week.
I was given an excuse not to appear, but it's really just postponing jury service altogether. No credit was given for the three days I was on call.
What really irks me is that when court is in session on a High Holy Day, there really is not a "jury of your peers," as no observant Jew would be represented on the jury, so is someone really getting a fair trial?
I'll live with repeating being on call, but it's hard to live with knowing the outcome of a trial isn't really the result of input from a true representation of the community at large.
Julie Friedman Kagon
In his speech before the Islamic Society of North America, reprinted in your Sept. 7 issue, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie laments: "There is no shortage of voices prepared to tell us that fanaticism and intolerance are fundamental to Islamic religion, and that violence and even suicide bombing have deep Quranic roots" ("Time Has Come to Stress Islam's Positive Side," Sept. 7).
Yoffie's concern about one-sided, negative portrayals of Islam may be justified, but he goes too far in the direction of a whitewash by claiming that "Anti-Semitism is not native to Islamic tradition...."
One hadith, or saying of the prophet, reads: "The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews, and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree, and a stone or a tree would say: 'Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' but the tree, Gharqad, would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews" (Sahih Muslim 41:6985).
The haditha are not part of the Quran and therefore not viewed as divinely inspired, yet are accorded much more authoritative weight by all the schools of mainstream Islam than traditional Jews ever gave to rabbinic pronouncements in the Talmud.
Unfortunately, the hadith inciting genocide against the Jews is a favorite in the sermons of popular Egyptian preacher Sheik Yusef al-Qaradawi; it's incorporated in official Saudi ninth-grade textbooks, and it's enshrined in Hamas' charter and spouted regularly by clerics on Palestinian television.
Yoffie is right that Judaism and Christianity also have their own problematic traditions. The difference is that in Western society, these are subject to scholarly criticism -- see Peter Schäfer's recent book, "Jesus in the Talmud" -- and public debate.
In the Muslim world, this genocidal hadith is either passed over in silence or enthusiastically embraced. That's the real barrier to serious interfaith dialogue between Islam and the other Abrahamic faiths.
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie's speech, portraying the haters as the victims before the Islamic Society of North America, is reminiscent of the German Jews who defended Nazi Germany. Since it is impossible to refute this outrage in a letter, it would only be fair if The Journal would allot equal space to one of the critics of Islam who Yoffie attacks.
Better yet, sponsor a three- or four-page written debate between this rabbi and Emerson, Pipes or Spencer. However, people like Yoffie are seldom willing to enter a fair debate.
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie has evidently not read the Quran, or he would know that this is a book filled with hate, especially directed toward Jews. If he is interested, I would be happy to send him numerous quotes from the Quran to that effect.
The immense hate in the Quran directed toward Jews in itself should be sufficient for any normal person to be discouraged from thoughts of appeasing the Muslims, but having contemporary mass killings occur weekly throughout the world, with the Muslim instigators openly citing the Quran as their inspiration, is still not sufficient for the leader of the Reform Jews. Incredible!
And then to compare the hate in the Quran to that expressed by other religions -- including Judaism -- is doubly incredible. It shows that Yoffie is more moved by leftist political ideology than he is by his religious affiliation with Judaism or reality.
That Yoffie alleges abuses of the civil rights of American Muslims, and even implies including the civil rights of those caught on the battlefield or involved with terror incidents against Americans, without citing a single case suggests strongly that this rabbi is more inclined to group suicide for the Western world than to common sense.