Letters to the editor: Four questions about apology

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Letters to the editor: Four questions about apology

Send us your comments: PO Box 815, Edgware, HA8 4SX | letters@jewishnews.co.uk

Send us a letter by emailing: letters@jewishnews.co.uk 
(Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash)
Send us a letter by emailing: letters@jewishnews.co.uk (Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash)

Four questions about apology

I have four questions regarding last week’s story about the Church of England apologising for its ‘Haggadah’ book.

Why would any Jew feel upset at Christians wanting to enhance their own spiritual understanding of Easter by seeking an insight into the centrality of seder to Jews? Christians wanting to deepen their knowledge of their own religion by finding more about its roots in Judaism are to be applauded.

Why is the Shema not considered as suitable to be read by Christians, as suggested in the article? To read the prayer and hear it in Hebrew, as Jesus would have known it, must be a wonderful opportunity for them. The text of the Shema is found in Deuteronomy, part of the Torah known to Christians as the Old Testament, which is a respected holy text in both our faiths. For any Jew to feel this is inappropriate ‘cultural appropriation’ just shows ignorance.

Why would any Jew be offended when others can relate to the history of the Israelites being redeemed from Egypt? Our story of enslavement, redemption and freedom has been a powerful one to which many in human history can relate.

Why make anyone feel in the wrong for ­trying to learn at a demonstration seder about the Jewish understanding of Pesach? Building bridges between people of different faiths has been one of the great positive achievements in my lifetime. The Council of Christians and Jews also produced similar resources. I know of such seders from the 1970s.

Fiona Hulbert, Woodford Green

African Jews

I was interested to read your article telling the remarkable story of the continent’s Jewish ­communities (Jewish News, 8 April 2021).

I have spent time in Uganda visiting the Abayudaya Jewish ­community in Mbale in the east of the country, where I celebrated Shabbat and Chanukah.

It was such a wonderful experience.

Basil H Mann, Isleworth

Set to rights

I write in response to last week’s article about the veteran Tory Sir Alan ­Duncan’s claim that he was prevented from becoming a government minister by Conservative Friends of Israel.

It may be deduced from his diary, and indeed his speeches in the House of Commons, that he believes in the rights of the Palestinians over other people in the Middle East.

Leila Cumber, Hendon

Sympathy for the queen

Following last week’s sad news about the passing of Prince Philip, never before have the words ‘Long may she reign over us’ been more appropriate.

Martin Levin, By email

I recently lost my husband after more than 50 years of marriage so my heart goes out to Her Majesty who must be feeling utterly bereft. She is in my prayers.

Alice Morris, By email

Poll Lunacy

The phrase ‘We can’t go on like this’ sits uncomfortably on the lips of many Israelis, following a fourth election in two years. This electoral merry-go-round has the legs to continue ad infinitum.

The need for reform is paramount to achieve a workable majority, be it through the coming together of parties under umbrellas or a voting procedure aligned to MKs answerable to a constituency. Israel requires urgent action through a stable government. Currently, it is a rudderless ship.

Stephen Vishnick, Tel Aviv

Covid caution

I fully agree with the contents of Emma Adams’ letter (The worst is behind us, Jewish News, 8 April). Too many Jewish deaths (and those of people of all faiths and none) have occurred during this pandemic. A minority might now relax and behave inappropriately going forward, post-vaccine, assuming the worst is over. Social distancing, wearing a face covering and regularly washing hands should continue regardless in the months to come.

JD Milaric, By email

I was most amused to read that Jews in the former Soviet Union are the world’s most voracious matzah-eaters, consuming nearly three times as much as the average Israeli soldier (Jewish News, 6 April 2021).

Eastern bloc

Matzah is my year-round cracker of choice, lighter and tastier than Jacob’s Cream Crackers and other high street brands. But even my consumption cannot compare to the Azerbaijanis, who average almost three pounds each during Pesach.

Philip Melfield, By email

Mind bender

Bristol University political sociology ­lecturer Professor David Miller’s right to free speech is not questioned, but his right to continue as a educator of young minds, bending their way of thinking, certainly is.

There are too many universities in this country that allow teaching professionals to make use of their influential roles to infect the minds of students, as Miller has done by accusing Jewish ­students of being “pawns of a racist ­regime engaged in ethnic cleansing”.

Sidney Sands, By email

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

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”

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