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Home truths about a third-state solution
Through your letter pages. I would like to ask those MPs and others who wish to see a “third-state” solution who read Jewish News some open questions. Let us first remember that the original British Mandate of Palestine included the complete bank between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan. It also included the bank east of the river up to the then new artificial border of Iraq, prior to Britain handing this territory to a Hashemite prince from Arabia. Britain has been officially pro-Arab after the San Remo Declaration and had done everything it could to forestall the Jewish state coming into existence.
Until today, the UK still operates as a paid propagandist for the Palestinian state and is still pro-Arab. With Palestine being a third-state solution to join Israel and Jordan, do these MPs believe peace will reign? Do they agree that another Arab state, that will be totally free of Jews, is a satisfactory conclusion or morally correct? If not, how can they agree to this motion in the first place? Do they want to see Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or prefer to see it divided, probably with a fence between Israel and Palestine? Let’s be realistic here. If Palestine is to become Jew-free, do they agree that Israel should do the same and expel those Israeli Arabs, other than the Druze and friendly Bedouin along with the exodus of Jews within a new Palestine?
Where is the help my son needs to socialise?
I was motivated by the column written by Adam Goodman on dating with a disability (Jewish News, 8 October). I, too, have a son – named Russell – who has a learning disability. He is 32, but there are a lack of social activities for him to attend in Essex to meet other Jewish singles. I had to fight for him to have a Jewish education, then a barmitzvah owing to the lack of support I had expected from our ‘caring Jewish community’.
When I talk to the rabbis, I ask them if they know of other families who may have a nice Jewish daughter looking for a nice Jewish boy. I have the boy, but where is the girl? They ask me to email them the details, but I just think it falls on deaf ears. I can’t believe they don’t know of anyone asking their help. They are more involved in their own perfect little world with their own families that I feel they hope I will just go away. Only one rabbi, who has Friday night dinners, did respond. He introduced us to a local guy who fitted the bill. He took Russell to the dinner or they went out once or twice a month. Because he also works full time, and now is at yeshiva in Israel, we don’t see him much. He introduced us to his friend, who also befriended Russell and they may go out to play golf then have a meal once or twice a month. He also works full time and has a girlfriend so doesn’t go to the type of social events Russell would like.
I am very much aware everything social seems based in north west London. I have tried advertising on EdgwareK. I have contacted Kisharon. I am aware Langdon have social ‘get togethers’ in Edgware, but Russell would need someone to take him. We live in Loughton, Essex, not a London borough, so we don’t get Taxicard or dial-a-ride. We live near Chigwell, Barkingside and Buckhurst Hill where there is a Jewish community but I am not aware of any events. So this brings me back to ask why there is nothing in Essex that Russell could attend with someone? Ideally a single male aged 25 to 30, who drives and would be prepared to be a befriender/support worker so he could make Jewish friends and even maybe find his ideal Jewish girl with whom to settle down, like any other single person.
Unfortunately I feel there is discrimination if you don’t ‘fit in the right pigeonhole’. I’m certain there is a family out there who have a daughter – who is maybe a bit shy or has a mild disability – who also don’t get the help and support they want to find her a partner. I tend to agree with Adam that some people are ignorant after reading that he has also experienced a type of discrimination where people only see the disability on the outside, not the real person on the inside. Russell is a mensch and has a heart of gold, but I really believe today’s society is just full of ‘pass the buck’, ‘fob offs’ as well as ‘it’s not my problem’. Only those who have experienced this problem would truly understand. I was surprised Adam is a Norwood resident because they used to have links in Essex, but that has since folded, so Norwood is not providing any social activities in Essex. I hope you may consider printing this to create more awareness so others realise that life can be tough when you need support from another caring person to live a life others just take for granted.
Let our own schools teach jewish values
Clearly Ofsted caused some offence in Orthodox Jewish schools asking children’s views on lesbianism, same-sex marriage and whether Charedi girls had boyfriends or knew how to get pregnant. In one primary school, Charedi boys were apparently asked: ‘Do you think your religion is the best religion?’ The boys’ opinion was: ‘Please sir.Jewish is the only religion we’ve got, sir.’ What Jewish schools may not have known then, is that Christian schools have had it even worse, judging by an article in the Telegraph of 20 October: “A successful Christian school has been warned it is to be downgraded by inspectors and could even face closure after failing to invite a leader from another religion, such as an imam, to lead asemblies, it is claimed.” The small independent school [no state funding] in the home counties was told it was “in breach of the new rules intended to promote ‘British values’ such as individual liberty and tolerance in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal…” In Jewish terms, this could mean our schools being required to invite imams to take assemblies and lessons in Jewish schools.
The basic and eternal Jewish belief that all mankind is created in God’s image and worthy of the greatest respect would no longer count as our Jewish contribution to ‘British values’… Nor would the Jewish Bible’s command: ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’, and both state-aided and independent Jewish schools could also be downgraded or even face closure if they don’t ‘actively promote’ harmony between different faiths and invite Muslim, Hindu and/or Christian clergy to take assemblies and lessons. Our assemblies tend to revolve about Shabbat and chagim, so that may have to be adjusted to suit the clergy of the week. We have had truly great education secretaries, such as Margaret Thatcher, Shirley Williams, Keith Joseph and Michael Gove. Let us pray that God opens Nicky Morgan’s eyes and she changes direction in line with parents who support faith schools of all faiths.
Masorti is correct to reflect equality
Mazeltov to the Masorti movement for the efforts made in recent years to support lesbian and gay individuals and couples – and now for the proposal to endorse same-sex marriages. The Masorti Movement has demonstrated Blu Greenberg’s dictum that, “where there is a Rabbinic will, there is a Halachic way”. When Liberal Judaism began to create the conditions for the equal treatment of lesbian and gay couples and families in 2000, discrimination was the order of the day. Today, following the Civil Partnership Act in 2005, and then the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, equal treatment is now the law of the land. The Masorti movement is right to ensure the new era of equality is reflected in its practices. Hopefully, the United Synagogue will take the same steps in support of its lesbian and gay members and the lesbian and gay children of its members.
Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue
Will Palestine welcome those of other faiths?
If Muslims wish to live in a Muslim nation, they are free, rightly, to do so, in the numerous Muslim nations around the world. If Jews wish to live in a Jewish nation, they are free, rightly, to do so. In the one Jewish nation in the world. Muslims are free to live wherever they wish, establish communities (settlements), within any country, under the laws of the host nation, where one exists. Jews are free to live wherever they wish, establish communities (settlements), within the laws of the host nation, where one exists. In a nutshell, this is the real Israel/Palestinian issue. World politics now increasingly sprinkles its poisonous dust into the conflict, while the Arab nations/Palestinians are succeeding with the most effective propaganda campaign of modern times. As for those who are not prepared to accept that Israel is the Jewish nation state, do they really think that a Palestinian state, when it arrives, will be anything other than another Muslim state? Do they really think it will welcome people of all religions, including Jews?
Harry Levy Pinner
El al can help charedi to feel more accepted
It would appear J D Milaric (Jewish News, 23 October) basically agrees with me when s/he writes that the problem of Charedi men asking not to have to sit next to ladies on flights “can be solved partly by El Al introducing on some, if not all, flights specific blocks of seats that can be allocated for the benefit of more Orthodox people”. This is is more or less the same as I had written (Jewish News, 8 October) that it “could be solved easily if El Al gave passengers the facility, when booking, to ask not to be seated next to someone of the opposite sex” which would be no more difficult than other airlines providing kosher meals. Personally I don’t find this a problem, but I am prepared to accept that others may feel uncomfortable doing so and I think their views should be respected. Of course those not bothering to make use of such a booking option should not be allowed to demand a change of seat once they board. If they cause any trouble, they should be removed from the flight as would happen to a passenger who was drunk or otherwise disorderly. There is no reason why boorish behaviour, by Charedim as much as by secular people, should be tolerated.
As regards his/her comment that “10 or more men praying together on a flight represents a safety issue since in many instances access to toilet facilities is blocked or restricted and members of the crew cannot go about their work as they should be able to”, it may come as a surprise that many leading Charedi rabbis have ruled that one should not do so but, rather, pray without a minyan sitting in one’s seat. Unfortunately, “a small minority of Orthodox people act in an unseemly manner” but others use this as an excuse to vent their own anti-Charedi prejudices. El Al’s failure to make suitable arrangements at the time of booking shows a lack of consideration for Charedim, an unfortunate symptom of the growing Kulturkampf in Israel, which both sides need to do everything to counter. Is it not time for everybody to accept that others have different lifestyles to which they are entitled?
Martin D. Stern Salford
For our sake, board must embrace yachad
As people who lead or have led organisations whose memberships comprise of the grassroots of Anglo-Jewry we know how important it is to bring people into the community. When we seek to exclude people from communal conversations we weaken the community and create unnecessary divisions. The Jewish people prides itself on debate and discussion and this is core to how we conduct our affairs– whether that be in the Talmud, among our own families, or within wider communal settings. Excluding, or forcing out those who opinions you do not agree with, goes against the grain of tradition. Regardless of what individuals think about Yachad, it is clear that it represents a significant number of people in the community. As the democratic body of the Jewish community, the Board must seek to represent the widest cross-section of opinion. A vote against Yachad’s inclusion will undermine the Board’s credibility and cause untold damage to the community, leaving many people feeling unrepresented. We urge the Deputies to put aside their own personal politics, and use their vote to support accountability, democracy and representation by voting for Yachad’s inclusion.
76 current and former leaders of Zionist youth movements.
Full list at www.yachad.org.uk
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