Forced marriage a minor issue
I would like to respond to a recent article on forced marriage in the Cherdi community by Eve Sacks. Personal observations and factors including extraordinary demographic growth make it clear that those leaving the Chasidic fold due to forced marriage do not represent a sizeable percentage.
Many Chasidic practices are carried across centuries, with couples of previous generations married this way, almost all of whom will wish to see their children do so, too.
There are individuals whose experiences are troubling. Perhaps this small percentage is too high. However, in labelling parts of Chasidic marriage a “harmful cultural practice”, could Ms Sacks provide insight into the 90 percent or so of intelligently loving parents who, as “victims”, will wish to watch their children go down to the chuppah in this way?
Relative to more progressive forms of dating such as online dating, social media and couples living together for months or years, can she provide findings on any detrimental effects on the physical well-being and the mental health individuals experience in pursuing these methods?
In lambasting the Chasidic community’s methods, surely she will have weighed the alternatives in concluding one way is more harmful.
Surely Ms Sacks’ efforts should be focused on her immediate community before finding fault in a community about as culturally distant from her as Martians?
If I had to bet on whose great-grandchildren will still be reading the Haggadah in 2250, I know on which community I’d put my money.
Joe Gordon, By email
Covid has shed light on Israel
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article in last week’s edition headlined: “Israel has been light years ahead on vaccine roll-out,” (Jewish News, 15 April).
Sadiq Khan is quoted telling Jewish News: “What Israel did with what is called vaccine hesitancy – they were light years ahead. We were speaking to them regularly on how you bust the myths.”
Such content was a welcome sight for my hitherto sore eyes that are more used to reading anti-Israel tropes trotted out by various people.
Government ministers and politicians of countless countries have for decades been in the dark ages regarding their attitude towards Israel.
It has sadly taken the devastating pandemic of the past 14 months, and Israel’s much-publicised pragmatic and organised response to the danger to life, for many finally to see the light.
J D Milaric, By email
Let’s wish queen long life
During the last week, as the Queen mourned the passing of her husband, soulmate and father of her children, it has been difficult not to reflect on the loss of my own spouse who, like Prince Philip, stood tall in his constant support of us all.
However, with the Royal couple having, over the years, spent innumerable happy times together, the loss is suddenly felt. This is where the shiva is so meaningful to the bereaved – when friends and family can help, honour and reflect on the loss of their dear one.
A female lecturer in Jewish topics who was not Jewish took a great interest in our faith and, when her son died, she sat shiva and found it deeply consoling. We can all wish the Queen a long life as is the Jewish custom.
Norma Neville, Hendon
Troubled by KKL-JNF
I wish to object to the resolution for KKL-JNF to purchase land in the West Bank for the purpose of expanding Jewish areas.
If this resolution is passed, I will no longer donate monies to the
I have written to the Israeli Embassy on many occasions objecting to similar schemes without receiving a reply.
Basil H Mann, Isleworth
Stephen Vishnick yearns for a stable government in Israel, but would not see this outcome by distorting the election system or creating coalitions of parties when the system has broken down because ideology has been supplanted by the constant formation of personalised parties where the leader is more important than the policies they espouse.
The only way to break this cycle is for voters to be presented with a set of policies with majority support. The difficulty is that when there are 10 Israeli voters in a room, there will probably be 20 opinions!
Alan Finlay, Hendon
How good it is to read on your front page that World Jewish Relief has launched a campaign for the Uyghur community in Turkey (Jewish News, 15 April 2021).
As a regular traveller to Turkey prior to the pandemic, I have seen first-hand the challenges this small group of people have faced in creating a life for themselves, while all the while fearful of the fates of loved ones left behind in north-west China.
Beijing has a lot to answer for, be it the Uyghurs, Hong Kong, its intimidation of Taiwan or, indeed, the cover-up that enabled the pandemic to cripple the world.
Abraham Felman, By email
My fond memory of the duke
I was privileged to meet Prince Philip twice. On one occasion, I was introduced by Henry Grunwald, then president of the Board of Deputies.
The subject of schools came up and I politely reminded the prince that he had attended the Open Day of Hasmonean Grammar School for Girls at the former Copthall Stadium, where we, the young pupils, danced the figure of eight in his honour. He said: “Would you be a sport and dance it for me now!” I answered: “Your Highness, I really do not think it is fitting to do so!” which he accepted in good humour.
The prince’s easy-going and approachable manner enhanced and complemented the seriousness and dignity of the office of the Queen.
He will be fondly remembered by his subjects. May his soul rest in peace.
Flora Frank, Israel
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.
We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.
Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”
By Joe Millis