We applaud your article reflecting a realistic picture of Jewish life in Europe that is far more positive than that often depicted in American and Israeli media (“LimmudUK: Success On A Grand Scale,” Between the Lines, Jan. 7). As well as the large cultural events you mention, such as Limmud and the growth in Jewish cultural centers, there is also a growth in synagogue-based activity.
Kudos to Gary Rosenblatt for his poignant and timely appreciation of the valiant efforts to promote serious, intellectually engaging and spiritually inspiring adult education endeavors, such as Limmud (“LimmudUK: Success On A Grand Scale,” Jan. 7).
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin states: “God teaches Pharaoh and his people basic lessons in theology and informs Pharaoh of the Divine concern for every human being” (Sabbath Week, Jan. 21).
How does this reconcile with the killing of the Egyptian first-born or the Egyptian deaths in the Red Sea. Where is this concern for every human being? I am sure there are better ways to understand the process and lessons of the Ten Plagues.
Jonathan Mark writes that much of what happened in Israel in 2010 was ignored by the mainstream media. He adds, “Yet, the general media covered the settlements incessantly” (“Most Ignored Story of 2010? — Israel,” Jan. 7). In other words, what might make Israel look bad was reported; what showed Israel’s virtue was ignored.
Even though there are no Jewish Republican members of the House besides Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia (“Republicans Thin On Jewish Muscle,” Jan. 7), there are certainly plenty of Jews in both the House and the Senate. There are 12 Jewish senators (all Democrats) and 27 representatives (including Cantor).
Two states have two Jewish senators. Considering the membership of the Senate, that makes a 12 percent Jewish representation, far greater than statistically reasonable. There are still enough for a minyan.
Stewart Ain trivializes the needs of observant Jews for an eruv (“Eruv Suit In Hamptons Fueling New Tensions,” Jan. 21) by describing observant Jews hiring non-Jews to push their baby carriages, strollers and wheelchairs so they could attend synagogue on Shabbat.
Paying a non-Jew to push strollers and wheelchairs is normally not permitted. “Amira Leakum” (asking a non-Jew to violate the Shabbat for a Jew) is permitted only in restricted circumstances.
In another embarrassing moment for Israel, Shas has issued a “fatwah” of sorts against a well-meaning, peace-loving individual who happens to disagree on how the “haredi problem should be approached (“Expelled From Shas, And Preaching Tolerance,” Between the Lines, Jan. 14).
Concerning the dispute over retaining the name of Helen Thomas on a lifetime award (“No More Helen Thomas Award?” Jan. 7): Lloyd Weston is absolutely right in contending that the same First Amendment that protects his right to be a Jew and a Zionist also protects Helen Thomas’ right to express her opinions of Jews and Zionists. He is missing an additional point, however: The same First Amendment protects the right of the Society of Professional Journalists to rescind any honor it bestowed upon Thomas, to demonstrate its own opposition to her pernicious beliefs.
I was surprised to note that there was no mention of tuition for the religious after-school program that pairs with the Hebrew charter schools cited in Julie Wiener’s article, “For Charters’ Jewish Cousins, So Near, So Far” (Dec. 31).