Sally Zerker commits the same offence that she lays at the feet of the left in “The wrong-headedness of the left” (CJN Perspectives, Nov. 27). She treats the left as homogeneous, except for distinctions between the old Stalinist left and the new Chomsky left, and collectively targets the entire left for the defence of communism and for anti-Israel propaganda.
She would be one of the first to denounce similar collective aspersions against the Jewish community for controlling western finances or the foreign policy of the U.S. government. As well, in the same way, Zerker would complain against anti-Israel criticism that singles out Israel for some improper conduct if other countries engaged in similar conduct were not criticized, she commits a similar offence for singling out the left for “backing the wrong horse.” The right and even the centre have been guilty of the same conduct. A few examples include the backing of Iraq in the 1980s and then invading Iraq two decades later, and backing the Argentine and Chilean generals.
Finally, why does Zerker limit herself to foreign policy issues? The right and the centre have proven themselves to be wrongheaded on domestic and economic issues, the highest-profile one being reliance on the correctness of the hidden hand of the free market. That ideology is being completely discredited by the economic meltdown currently taking place. Demonizing the left can only inhibit necessary interactions and efforts at mutual understanding between it and any ethnic, cultural or religious community.
The left in Israel
Including “The wrong-headedness of the left” (CJN Perspectives, Nov. 27) in your newspaper ought to be applauded. But while it dealt with the left globally, any discussion of the left in Israel was missing.
The left in Israel is co-operating with the Arabs to defame the pioneers of today’s Israel in the West Bank.
The organization Peace Now, in Israel or abroad, would have credibility if it could forward the address of the stores that sell their imaginary peace.
I know of no Israeli who is not craving peace – a true peace, a peace that is built on educating generations of children to be tolerant, to accept others in the neighbourhood, and not to hate, as the Arabs in that part of the world do.
Avoiding reality and living in a dream world will bring only disasters.
One or two days of yom tov?
Gil Troy in his column “We should all turn toward Israel, (CJN, Oct. 30) decries the practice of Diaspora Jews visiting Israel who observe yom tov sheini shel galiyot, a second day of the festivals, at a time when observant Israelis go back to work. He claims this practice is absurd and diminishes the holiness of the Land of Israel. The Land of Israel is inherently holy and cannot be sullied by visitors keeping an extra day of yom tov.
The Chacham Tzvi did write that a tourist should observe only one day when in Israel. However, the bulk of rabbinic opinion (Rabbi Yosef Karo, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, the Chazon Ish, the Mishnah Brurah and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein) did not accept this argument. They wrote that one must keep two days, and throughout Jewish history, this has been the accepted practice.
Why does Troy condemn those who follow the majority halachic opinion? It is unfortunate that we are not all united in our observance of the festivals, but that is the result of our sins, as we (Israelis included) say in the Musaf prayer of the festivals: “Because of our sins we have been exiled from our land.”
Rabbi Mordechai Bulua
The Silvermans from Cornwall
After reading Daniel Held’s column “A gift that bridged two generations,” CJN, Nov. 20), I realized my mother’s family is truly unique. If I had a grandchild in Daniel’s history class, he or she would be able to say that their great-great-grandmother was born in Cornwall, Ont., in 1893. My great-grandparents names were Jennie and Jacob Silverman. I do know they had a farm in Cornwall and moved to Montreal in their later years. If anyone from the Cornwall area remembers the family, I would be very happy to hear from them. I can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. My mailing address is 150 Connaught Ave., Toronto, M2M 1H4.