Don’t blame dogs for barking
It’s regrettable to see the usual coterie of Reform rabbis in the UK quoted in your lead story ‘Most olim not Jewish’, bashing Israel and the Orthodox rabbinate there, but no one from the Orthodox rabbinate in the UK (Jewish News, 4 January).
Rabbi Jackie Tabick, a reformist I like and respect but have always disagreed with on most things Jewish for the past 40 years, and Rabbi Danny Rich, a Liberal who wants to suck up to Corbyn and his friends, have beliefs that would cause or contribute heavily to the very dismantling of Orthodox Judaism, and with it the traditional values of the Jewish nation.
While Reform and Liberals may think they mean well, the path to hell is sometimes paved with good intentions such as theirs. When the law is right but the circumstances wrong, they prefer to ditch the law to fit the circumstances.
What the Orthodox should be doing, meanwhile, is addressing more proactively how the circumstances can be assisted to fit the law and be communicating that. And the Reform and Liberals should respect that.
The fact they don’t and won’t will and probably should perpetuate a commensurate response from the Orthodox, which is the one they are already getting.
To use a metaphor, why criticise a dog for barking when that it is precisely a part of what it is designed to do?
William Comet, By email
This law targets Muslims and Jews
Belgium’s schechita ban has won widespread support, with animal rights activists being one of its main promoters.
The law also means the many Muslims fleeing turbulence within their native lands will also be unable to obtain halal meat.
Simply put, Jews and Muslims (for once a possible common cause), plus a number of other faiths affected by this law, are being blatantly targeted and, as we are only too well aware, the banning of what are basically one’s civil rights doesn’t end with what you consume.
Should the likes of Jeremy Corbyn gain access to the highest office, I am sure those promulgating this issue will find a sympathetic ear, no doubt casting Jews as the main protagonists.
Stephen Vishnick, Tel Aviv
Missing Torah treasures sought
AJEX archives are seeking information about two framed portions of a Torah scroll liberated from the Nazis by a Jewish officer, Major David Stern, RE, in Italy, and once kept in picture frames at Brixton Synagogue. If any former members of the synagogue know of their whereabouts, please contact AJEX Archives by emailing Martin.Sugarman@yahoo.co.uk or call 07806 656756.
Martin Sugarman, AJEX
Charedim and schools
I’m an admirer of Alex Brummer as an economic commentator, but his fictionalised representation of the Charedi community (Jewish News, 10 January) is well below par.
I was a trustee of the Stamford Hill Jewish housing association for
17 years. I can tell Mr Brummer nearly every representative for the Charedi communities willing to discuss social and economic problems with me highlighted the same issue.
Young Charedi men receive an inadequate education to equip them for life; young women have a better chance, but this primarily reflects the expected roles of women as breadwinners, home-makers and primary parenting while their husbands continue learning in yeshiva.
In the same edition, you reported a group of Orthodox rabbis setting up a working group to scrutinise Ofsted rulings on Charedi schools, quoting religious tolerance.
Behind this is a cynical attempt to preserve in aspic an education system that has contributed to the worsening socio-economic deprivation in Charedi communities, including many instances of family breakdown, which Mr Brummer somewhat obscurely was attempting to highlight.
Russell Levenson, Stanmore
In labelling Sholom Rubashkin ‘a convicted criminal’ in his letter, professor Geoffrey Alderman fails in his calling as a historian (‘Fraudster as not pardoned’, Jewish News, 10 January).
He has done so by failing to employ basic historical research methodology to look behind the conviction in question. Had he done so, he would have seen the astonishing elements of judicial collusion, witchhunt, bias and disproportionate sentencing, as highlighted by distinguished jurists.
This would have entitled him to reject the conviction as being unsupported by impartial judicial process, in much the same way that one would reject the findings of a Soviet show trial.
Geoffrey Niman, By email
A prayer for all our pasts
It’s rare for a newspaper front page to reduce me to tears, but that’s what happened on seeing the mourner’s prayer on page one of last week’s Jewish News. This weekend’s symbolic funeral for six unknown victims of the Holocaust will be a profound moment in our community’s history. We are now many decades from the Nazi Holocaust, yet its horrific impact is still being felt, and continue to be, for many decades to come.
Emma Arnold, By email
Great news on Grenfell help
Amid all the doom and gloom that makes the news, it was truly amazing to read about the Jewish-Muslim youth initiative to help the childen traumatised by the Grenfell tragedy. What brilliant ambassadors – well done to all concerned, and keep up the good work.
Henry Jacobs, By email
A very ordinary rant
Self-righteous Mr Edwards has clearly left his medication behind (Letter, 10 January). There can be no other explanation for his offensive and inaccurate rant last week responding to my letter merely correcting the headline of an article.
According to him, I was “overly enthusiastic”, “gloating in the extreme” and “bragged about those who may or may not be Jewish”. He then questioned my Jewishness.
I did not think one had to be Jewish to write to your newspaper; the fact he assumed I am makes his argument and the stones and glass houses analogy irrelevant. I suggest “ordinary” Jew Mr Edwards Googles the word “dreck”.
Russell Ballen, By email
*Clarification: Last week’s letter ‘Stop Hurling Stones’, was written by Isaac Cohen, while ‘Spurs, Please Get Rid of Yid’ was by Michael Edwards. Apologies to both.
Let’s clean up game
Hurrah (at last) for a campaign to rid our football grounds and hopefully everywhere else of the deeply unpleasant “Y-word”.
Its origins may be as innocent as its supporters claim, but history has caught up with it and the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the Board of Deputies has now called on fans of Spurs, the main offenders, and other London clubs to stop using the term.
WJC chief executive Robert Singer has acknowledged the word did once have an innocent connotation. But he is right when he says this innocence has now disappeared. As Singer summed it up: “The word yid has for years been reappropriated from its original Yiddish to carry a distinctly pejorative and antisemitic message and its use … must not be tolerated
in any way.”
That’s not such a bad new year resolution to adopt, is it?
Malcolm Ericson, By email
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