Last year, the downtown Hamilton Public Library ran an exhibit in its main lobby called “A Child’s View From Gaza.” It featured drawings, supposedly by children, of Israeli planes bombing Palestinian homes. An accompanying written commentary described in graphic detail how Israelis allegedly abuse Palestinians.
After thousands of library patrons had passed the exhibit, the Hamilton Jewish Federation’s public relations committee persuaded the library to move the exhibit to the less visible fourth floor. Recently the library CEO offered an apology for “the hurt [the exhibit] caused the Jewish community.” He offered no apology for authorizing this repugnant exhibition.
The library has agreed to allow the committee to sponsor an exhibit, Oct 1 to 15, showing how Israel does humanitarian work throughout the world. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that the positive message of the Israel-aid display will erase the intensely negative impact generated by the Gaza “art” exhibit, one reason being that the Israel-aid display is on library’s virtually deserted fourth floor.
The committee was remiss in not taking stronger action against the Gaza art exhibit when it was first featured last year. Its questionable “compromise deal” with the library is not a satisfactory resolution to this distressing issue.
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Diaspora Jews are not inferior
In his column “Mitzvot mean more in Israel” (The CJN, Oct. 3), Rabbi Ilan Acoca discusses the religious importance for Jews to live in Israel. To stress his point, he refers to the Torah and the sages from which he draws the conclusion that “only in Israel is the worship of God pure without any barriers or impurities.” He concludes with the statement, “In the land of Israel, we’re a living people. In the Diaspora, we’re like bodies lacking spirit – the physical shell of a people without inner life.”
This is insulting to all Jews, religious or otherwise. Neither I, my family, friends nor the vast majority of Jews who don’t live in Israel share this sense of inferiority. If the good rabbi feels so empty inside, I suggest he make aliyah as soon as possible.
Richmond Hill, Ont.
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Deuteronomy isn’t dreary or boring
In her column (“What we’ve got that robots don’t” The CJN, Aug. 29), Jean Gerber writes that Deuteronomy is “dreary,” “boring” and has “too many admonitions.”
No, Deuteronomy is the most absorbing book of the Pentateuch. Many of the ethical mitzvot are found in Deuteronomy. There are resonant teachings such as “justice, justice you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20) and, “See, I have set before you this day life and death, and good and evil… therefore choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:15 and Deuteronomy 30:19).
Indeed, Deuteronomy (31:19) describes the Torah (Pentateuch) as a shirah (a poem or song). The book portrays the great leader Moses’ love of the Jewish nation. Gerber is right that there are too many rebukes, especially the curses that outnumber the blessings in Deuteronomy chapters 27 and 28. But is this not true to life, where we are swamped today with warnings about hazards that will affect our environment and health if we don’t obey the rules?
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Rouhani and Putin share PR strategy
So, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani thrills U.S. President Barack Obama and others by condemning the Holocaust (“Rouhani PR blitz masks lies” The CJN, Oct. 3). Wow! Next he might even shock the world by saying that Hitler was an evil monster. What really matters is whether he condemns President Bashar Assad of Syria for murdering more than 100,000 Syrian civilians and for gassing hundreds, including more than 400 children? Will he stop funding terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, or are they not quite as bad as the Nazis? When he renounces the current evils that his government supports, then he will be worth listening to. I think he retained the same public relations firm as did Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.