Good Intentions Hurting Jerusalem


There are currently an estimated 9,000 ghost dwellings in Jerusalem that are owned by foreigners (“Jerusalem Is Becoming A Ghost Town,” Jan. 6). The average vacant, shuttered home is twice the size of the average apartment occupied by Israeli families. Hence, in effect, there are 18,00 units that are unavailable and unaffordable to real Israelis.

Doubling the real estate tax is a joke, as that tax, even doubled, is extremely low compared to real estate taxes in America. 

Affordable Jerusalem Housing


Your article on the lack of affordable housing in Jerusalem offered an evenhanded review of the issues (“Jerusalem Is Becoming A Ghost Town,’” Jan. 6). As a Queens resident who owns an apartment in Jerusalem, I can reiterate the sentiment that it is absurd to expect a large number of absentee owners to rent their Jerusalem apartments to strangers.

Part-Time Residents Helpful


The article “’Jerusalem Is Becoming A Ghost Town’” (Jan. 6) does not consider the facts that the part-time residents have invested huge amounts of money in Israel. We pay taxes, we pay maintenance fees, we pay insurance, we keep accounts at local banks, we support the airlines, silver and art shops, and charities for Israel. We love Israel and support it politically, economically and any other way possible.

To single out Jews who buy apartments in Israel and live there part time is not right.

Bring Them Home


Thank you for your excellent editorial regarding the latest delays in bringing the remaining Ethiopian Jews to Israel (“Why The Delay In Ethiopian Jewish Aliyah?” Dec. 30).

I would like to raise my voice to cry out at the injustice of this delay, at the discrimination of this delay and at the sorry excuses the Jewish Agency has created.

“A possible shortage of beds” for incoming Ethiopians at Israeli absorption centers as a reason for cutting numbers admitted each month from a meager 200 to a paltry 110?

Lack Of Leadership


Though I am acutely aware of polarization within the Jewish community, I was particularly distressed by Michele Chabin’s report on haredi extremists attacking schoolgirls because of their “immodest” dress (“In Beit Shemesh, Modesty Wars,” Dec. 30). 

Need For Sensitivity


The news these last few weeks from Beit Shemesh about some people spitting at little girls, calling girls zonot (prostitutes), physically attacking other people and throwing stones at them is disconcerting to say the least.

When we accidentally drop a siddur (prayer book) or a sefer (holy book), we kiss the sefer. Does the siddur or sefer feel anything? Clearly the act of kissing the siddur is meant to inculcate within us a sensitivity that should translate into the respect we need to show to another human being.

Bride’s Choice


Menachem Rosensaft’s opinion piece on ultra-Orthodox Judaism’s need to be more open-minded (“Ultra-Orthodox Judaism Need Not Be Closed-Minded,” Jan. 13) makes some valid points, but also a misleading one.

Unfair Portrayal Of Haredim


I find the coverage of recent events regarding the haredim extremely biased and one-sided (“Beyond Beit Shemesh,” Jan. 6).

Beit Shemesh And Torah Sages


The recent incident in Beit Shemesh has made waves in the media and elsewhere, starting from the yeshiva world down to the most secular. They all appropriately condemn reprehensible acts of this fanatic mob.

Media Bias Against Haredim


Your editorial, “Beyond Beit Shemesh” (Jan. 6), states that the behavior of some haredim calls for “for deep reflection and introspection on just what it means to call one’s self Orthodox.”

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