Letters to the editor: ‘A psyche of tears and smiles’
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Letters to the editor: ‘A psyche of tears and smiles’

Send us your comments by writing us a letter to: PO Box 815, Edgware, HA8 4SX or emailing us at: letters@thejngroup.com

People watch the aftermath of a rocket fired from Gaza after it hit in the southern Israeli port city of Ashdod, Monday, May 6, 2019.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
People watch the aftermath of a rocket fired from Gaza after it hit in the southern Israeli port city of Ashdod, Monday, May 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

 A psyche of tears and smiles

Jenni Frazer questions the conscience of Israel whereby some are running to shelters to shield themselves from rockets being fired from Gaza (and, in turn, unfortunately making the ultimate sacrifice) while less than 40 miles away plans for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest are in full swing.

This epitomises the mindset of Israelis; within one week, we commemorate and remember via Yom HaShoah those who were murdered in the Holocaust following through to Yom HaZikaron, remembering our brave soldiers who died defending the country through its many wars, and then immediately we are found celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, the founding of this very special nation.

Yes, tears and laughter play an important role in the Israeli psyche and are a major survival mechanism for living in this very dangerous neighbourhood.

In good times as well as bad and sad ones, it is all about having the courage to carry on, whereby we pay homage to our past and look forward with hope for our future.

Stephen Vishnick, Tel Aviv

Great news about shtisel series!

I was so excited to read on your website that Jewish televison drama Shtisel will have a third season. I can’t wait!

Everyone I know here in Philadelphia and Florida, where we have a second home, is talking about it and watching. It’s the best thing on TV. We got Netflix just to see this show. Thanks for the wonderful news.

Hollis Berney, Philadelphia

Hatikvah song message changed

Rosa Ben-Horin’s reference to the Hatikvah recalls an old Al Jolson version of it I own on a 78rpm record (Jewish News, 9 May). [Big shellac disks, kiddies, with songs on both sides and you play them with a needle on a turntable!] Pre-independence, the words are different at the end.

Instead of ‘Lihyot am chofshi, be’artzenu; eretz Tzion ve’Yerushalayim’, ie, ‘to be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem’, Jolson sings: ‘Loshuv le’eretz avoseinu, le’eretz Dovid, Dovid Hanos,’ ie, ‘to return to the land of our fathers, the land of David, David the Prince’.

It is assumed that with the establishment of the state and ‘return’ achieved, ‘a free people in a free land’ became the priority message.

Barry Hyman, Bushey Heath

Hatikvah was correct

I’m responding to Rosa Ben-Horin’s letter suggesting it was wrong for the British Jewish leadership to sing the Hatikvah at the end of the Yom
HaShoah commemoration.

She proposes the leadership should instead sing the Internationale in Yiddish. Her letter contains misleading information and smacks of revisionism.

The main leader of the uprising, Mordechai Anielewicz, was a Zionist and not a Bundist as she claims. He started off in the Betar youth movement and later joined Hashomer Hatzair. He studied Hebrew.

Zivia Lubetkin founded the Zionist anti-fascist bloc and was also on the steering committee of ZOB, the main resistance organisation participating in the uprising.

She managed to escape and settled in Israel.

Another of the sub-leaders was Yitzhak Zuckerman, who was also leader of the Zionist Dror Hechalutz youth movement. He also escaped and settled in Israel.

It is true Marek Edelman was a Bundist, but the Bundist youth movement put their differences aside and joined the Zionists in participating in the uprising.

Even the Stroop report submitted by SS General who repressed the uprising makes reference to “captured He-Halutz women” whom you can see in the photos staring defiantly at the Nazi photographers.

One of Poland’s leading partisan figures was Avi Kovner, a poet and Zionist member of Hashomer Hazair.  He later moved to Israel to join the Haganah and fight during the war
of independence.

Sonderkommando Filip Muller, who was in Auschwitz-Birkenau in March 1944, witnessed Czech Jews singing the Hatikvah as a demonstration of defiance as they refused to undress while being brutally beaten by SS guards.

It was entirely appropriate for the Hatikvah to be sung at the end of the ceremony.

Should Rosa wish to sing the Internationale next year, she’ll probably be singing it solo.

Leonard Herman, By email 

Reubens is such a great loss

I’m really sad for the loss of the member of the Reuben family that has triggered the closure of a much-loved kosher reastaurant. I wish them all a long life. They gave us such a welcoming place and such great food. My family went there for years. We celebrated our mother’s 85th birthday there, and its food helped heal my sister. I’d pop in to get her something on my way to visiting her in hospital, which made her feel better and whole again. It was our central meeting spot. We will miss it.

Sandra Judah, By email

We salute memorial

The Raoul Wallenberg Foundation praises the decision to site the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to Parliament (jewishnews.co.uk).

We celebrate Ms May’s unflinching support for the initiative and, in particular, this line in your report: “Seeing this through is a sacred, national mission. In the face of despicable Holocaust denial, this memorial will stand to preserve the truth forever.”

We are also delighted that four former prime ministers back the project. We hope the British Righteous will have a special place within the memorial, along with one of the greatest Second World War heroes, Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved the lives of 669 children in 1938. The descendants of the rescued can be counted by the thousands.

Eduardo Eurnekian, Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, New York

Precarious Housing

I’m a young man of 81 living in a social supposedly ‘sheltered’ flat in Stamford Hill, owned by a housing association started in the late 19th century.

Budgetary constraints have led to staff cutbacks, and the recent withdrawal of 24 hours on-site staff cover. Me and more than 70 elderly neighbours, including H.M. Forces Second World War and IDF veterans, no longer feel properly cared for. Remaining staff are demoralised, and worried about their jobs. The withdrawal of the United Synagogue and Jewish Care from Stamford Hill leaves us feeling
further unwanted.

Leon Newmark, Stamford Hill

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