Sex education protects our kids
According to Brian Gordon (Jewish News, 11 April), an ‘unprecedented’ crisis facing Jewish schools is the introduction of sex and relationship education (SRE), with its emphasis on positive relationships and consent.
Far from being a threat, SRE will protect our children ensuring that not only are different family models represented, but that children are aware of their agency, and the respect due to them and their bodies. This is vital in a world where pornographic and sometimes disturbing images are easily accessible, particularly online, where values of respect and partnership are rarely present.
There will be no ‘promotion of lifestyles’, but students who don’t fit the heteronormative models they see around them (and experience disproportionately high levels of depression and suicide), will see that they too were created Betzelem Elohim; in God’s image.
Cross-communal and Progressive Jewish schools already promote age-appropriate values of self-care, inclusion and sexual safety to their students, as do many Orthodox schools. They do so not just because it is the law, but because our values as a community are about caring for one another and creating loving homes.
We should welcome the government’s attempt to address issues that ultimately can be destructive, sometimes life threateningly so, to our young people. Ignorance is not protection, and in some cases is hugely damaging.
Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, The Movement for Reform Judaism
My h-word for Roger Waters
Simon von Someren in last week’s edition uses words such as over-emotional, presumption and assertion when referring to Roger Water’s criticism of Israel (Jewish News, 11 April 2019).
What Mr Waters said previously about the Gaza marches is exactly what he believes, and nothing will make him change his skewed mind.
What never ceases to amaze me is he and his fellow travellers, such as the Stop the War Coalition, have never taken part in any large demonstration against a Prominent Muslim country that has been waging war on its own inhabitants for more than seven years, killing them in their thousands, far more than during the far longer period of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
He never uses the S-word (Syria), the A-word (Assad), the I-word (Iran), or the H-word (Hezbollah).
All should be held to account for their genocidal actions in the court of war crimes, boycotts, sanctions, and divestment.
My word for him – and all those other one sided critics of Israel – is the other H word – Hypocrite.
Robert Dulin, Herts
Israel’s Moon ambitions are far from forgotten
Last week, Israel failed narrowly to land the Beresheet spacecraft on the moon. It would have become the fourth country in the world to achieve such a feat, although by orbiting the moon it did join an
illustrious list of six other technologically-advanced nations.
Dark Israeli humour was quick to follow, for example: With the craft almost certainly crash-landing and scattering into small pieces, Israel hadn’t landed on the moon once but thousands of times!
While it’s tempting to view this as an heroic failure, it’s the mere attempt to carry out the mission that is so compelling. Israel takes pride in trying to achieve the seemingly impossible, whether designing a bionic assistance system to allow paraplegics to walk or seeking a cure for Parkinson’s disease or developing a drip irrigation system or creating the pill cam.
These accomplishments result from a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship as well as a belief that one must expand the frontiers of knowledge to serve mankind. They also reflect a spirit of determination and willingness to persevere.
Hence Morris Kahn from SpaceIL, the private company behind the mission, has already announced plans to try again and place Israel’s flag on the moon.
Few should doubt Israel will reach this milestone and we should salute its efforts.
Jeremy Havardi, London
Inspiring work by Chelsea FC
Way to go, Chelsea! I’m a Jewish News reader but not a soccer fan (yes, we do exist), but your account in last week’s issue of Chelsea FC throwing its weight behind a fundraiser for the new Holocaust Galleries at the Imperial War Museum was inspiring.
It also raises the point that not all football is a hotbed of antisemitism despite the best efforts of certain elements of hooligan so-called fans, incidents involving some on a train on Saturday being merely the latest example.
Malcolm Ericsson, By email
From chametz to redemption
The gematria of Pesach (148) is the same as kemech (148), flour.
My late relative, Rav Avrohom Genechevovsky zt”l, conveyed to me that chometz and matzah have the same letters, except that the letter hey, unlike the letter chet, has a minuscule opening.
He said that for one to transform from a life of chametz to one of matzah, only a mere protrusion must be overcome.
My cousin, Rabbi Yakov Nagen, points out that chametz is symbolic of hesitation, namely a failure to seize the opportunity, which was the unfortunate choice of many Jews who never left Egypt.
Flour can create two realities, one steeped in purity and seizing the moment, the other in impurity and the failure to act in time.
Pesach affords one the opportunity to change from a life of chametz to one of matza and achieve true redemption.
Steven Genack, By email
Eurovision and the rabble
What a shame the Eurovision gathering, an event that brings simple enjoyment to millions of people across the world, should become a target for the antics of political opportunists because this year it is being held in Israel.
We hear from the news this week that the comical and misguided Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) rabble have lost no time in charging up their tired bandwagon in response to the news that Madonna is to perform at this year’s contest in Tel Aviv.
BDS has launched a social media campaign (what else?) calling for the event to be boycotted and for the singer not to go.
No better reason I can think of for as many of us as possible to tune in and cheer the show on.
Barrie Alexander, Barnet