Editorial & Opinion

Counterproductive To Snub Obama


As a longtime advocate on behalf of Jonathan Pollard — and one of the first — I find the efforts now underway to try to convince Israel President Shimon Peres to decline the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in June unless President Barack Obama grants clemency to Pollard to be foolish and, in fact, counterproductive (“Pollard Supporters To Lean On Peres,” April 20).

One-On-One Training


Suggestions to get rid of the one-on-one teaching of haftorot are quite misguided. (“Changing Up The Bar And Bat Mitzvah Experience,” April 20).

Value Of Haftorahs


I was more than a little surprised to read in Gary Rosenblatt’s column Rabbi Joy Levitt’s belief that teaching our kids to chant haftorah “is wasted training,” contributing to the sabotage of their Jewish life (“Changing Up The Bar And Bat Mitzvah Experience,” April 20).

Israel, When She’s 64

Special To The Jewish Week

The State of Israel is nothing short of a true miracle: in her 64 years, Israel has achieved more than any other nation on earth, a miracle that was created by a mosaic of different groups.

A wise man once said that Israel is the only country in the world that was founded on a dream: each group had its own — one was hoping to recreate an Eastern European shtetl, another was dreaming of an egalitarian kibbutz; one aspired for an urban Western style of bourgeoisie, and the other was eying the Orient. At times, our various dreams and aspirations collided.

Ido Aharoni

A Kind Word About Unkind Words

Special To The Jewish Week

Candlelighting, Readings:
Shabbat candles: 7:30 p.m.
Torah: Lev. 12:1-15:33
Haftarah: II Kings 7:3-20
Havdalah: 8:33 p.m.            

Nehemia Polen

A Smoke-Free World: A Jewish Ban On Tobacco

Jewish Week Online Columnist

We have been very aware of the addictive nature of nicotine and the serious health risks of lung cancer (which kills more Americans than any other cancer), cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (eventually leading to emphysema). About 20 percent of Americans still smoke, around 450,000 Americans die prematurely every year from smoking, and researchers have shown that a smoker loses an average of 14 years of life.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

Godless Judaism


My vote is with Rabbis David Wolpe and Dan Ain (“Are You There God? It’s Us, The Jews,” April 13). A godless Judaism has no transcendent meaning, no absolute morality and therefore no magnetic north on a moral compass, no Divine partner with whom to improve the world.

Friends Mideast Visit


 In his “Mideast Visit With An Arab Slant” (March 30), Steve Lipman reports on the latest fallout from an ongoing controversy largely invented by Alan Dershowitz, and now perpetuated by Abraham Foxman and colleagues at the Anti-Defamation League, against Friends Seminary, a respected New York City independent secondary school. Lamentably, while Friends is known for its long history of promoting fairness, tolerance and justice and asking its students (including my children) to live these values, it has not received similar treatment from Dershowitz, Foxman and others.

Stony Brook Calendar


Vice Provost Charles Robbins of Stony Brook University wrote (Letters, March 23) that Stewart Ain’s article was “rife with inaccuracies and, as a result, aims to stir up controversy where none exists” (“Revised Stony Brook Calendar Draws Fire,” March 16). However, anyone familiar with the situation would see that Robbins’ letter is misleading and even contains falsehoods. He is defending an unfortunate university decision, and apparently has to state untruths to do so.

Boteach And ‘Downtime’


For a candidate supposedly running on a Jewishly grounded “values renewal” program (according to the misleadingly titled “Boteach’s Kosher Candidacy,” March 30), Shmuley Boteach betrays considerable confusion about “values” generally and Jewish values in particular.

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