Jonathan Pollard is entering his 26th year in prison, and there’s a minor buzz in Washington about what JTA Washington correspondent Ron Kampeas called “the biggest push in years” to free the Israeli spy (See story on page 35). That effort includes a letter signed by 39 House Democrats calling for his release and a similar statement by former Assistant Defense Secretary Lawrence Korb. There are also wispy rumors his release could be part of the U.S. incentives package offered to Israel in return for a 90-day extension of its settlement moratorium.
I got the feeling that my extended hour with Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, late in the afternoon last Wednesday, was going to be more shmooze than interview when his assistant, on entering my office with him, asked if I would mind if the prolific scholar and author ate the chocolate rugelach she brought for him during our chat.
Why does the Torah suddenly tell us of the death of Deborah, Rebecca’s childhood nurse (Genesis 35:8)? Deborah dies in the course of journeying with Jacob and Rebecca, and the family buries her at Beth El. We are told absolutely nothing else of her in the Torah. So perhaps the account of Deborah’s death is intended to teach us about Rebecca.
Jerome Chanes’ insightful review of Gal Beckerman’s outstanding new book on the Soviet Jewry movement (“Inside An ‘Epic Struggle,’” Nov. 19) cites the handful of other books on the topic. However, he omits the excellent, detailed “Triumph Over Tyranny” by Philip Spiegel, (2008, Devora Publishing), which has a foreword by Natan Sharansky. These books go hand in hand with the seminal film documentary, “Refusenik” (2007, produced by Laura Bialis). Taken together, they paint a more complete picture of the Soviet Jewry movement.
In 2008, when he was 92 years old, legally blind and not very mobile, Rabbi Bernard Lander received a presidential salary of $350,000 from Touro College, a nonprofit university (“Touro Says Lander Pay Was Deferred Comp,” Nov. 19). The school had decided that the salary for Lander, who died last February, was insufficient, and he was awarded a bonus of $4 million.
Many in the “mainstream” Jewish community, including some in the media, handle the generational divide in a shortsighted and thoughtless manner. The hostility directed at J Street is actually more an emotional symptom of generational flux than anything having to do with J Street itself.
Last month, StandWithUs sponsored a 25-city national tour of IDF soldiers to college campuses, high schools and communities. Disturbed by misinformation and propaganda about the IDF, these young reservists volunteered for Israeli Soldiers Speak Out (ISSO) to inform Americans about their real-life experiences and about Israel.
Yet David Sable (“IDF Soldiers On Campus,” Letters, Nov. 12) criticizes the tour, misrepresents it and misinforms readers.
I was appalled at [Daniel] Vitow’s comments regarding his North Shore Hebrew Academy’s (NSHA,) aggressive marketing tactics (“Cutthroat Education: Pilfered Class Lists,” Nov. 19). Last year members of my shul received solicitations from NSHA for both their middle school and high school open houses.
Regarding Stewart Ain’s “Cutthroat Jewish Education: Pilfered Class Lists” (Nov. 19), the sharing of contact information is not limited to day schools in the Jewish world. It has been my experience that membership lists, whether in a synagogue, PTA, sisterhood, outreach organization or some other communal institution are shared more often than most people realize. Often it is done by well meaning people who assume those on the list are fine with their contact information being shared.