It is so easy to blame Israel for the wrongs of others, as it aids with food, medicine and energy those who constantly attack her with rockets and mortars. Who else would supply a belligerent antagonistic neighbour?
If the fisherman of Nova Scotia were angered by the fisherman of Maine and these Nova Scotian fishing boats bombarded Portland every day with Katyushas, the U.S. Navy would destroy the Nova Scotian fishing boats and not allow for years of rocket volleys upon their residents.
The lack of a Palestinian homeland has not been the fault of Israel. The Palestinian’s grievance should be with Jordan and Egypt, who could have alleviated the squalour in Gaza and the West Bank when they controlled these territories before 1967. When Israel entered Gaza after the Six Day War, the Jewish state pumped significant money into the building of homes, schools and hospitals for the Gazans, something that had never been done by previous landlords.
Now that Israel has withdrawn from Gaza, the Palestinians have attained independence after hundreds of years, but can they rule themselves without a symbiotic relationship with Israel? Do they still need a foreign body to leach onto? Will the terrorist machine of Hamas take complete control of Gaza and its residents as they use Iranian-built missiles and rockets against their neigbour? Or will Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas find his backbone and act like a leader?
The State of Israel has been instrumental in the creation of this new quasi-nation, Palestine. Now it is up to the Palestinians.
Bombing Gaza is reasonable force
As Hamas’ shelling of Sderot constitutes a crime against humanity, reasonable force should be applied to stop the Qassams (“Hamas always wins,” CJN, March 6). What is reasonable force? Surely it can be defined as enough force to stop the crimes against humanity. The United States could not win the war against Germany without bombing its cities, so it did so. The United States could also not win the war against Japan without excessive loss of life and without bombing its cities, so it did so. The world considered these actions reasonable under the circumstances.
Israel first left Gaza. That didn’t stop the Qassams. Then it built a protective fence. That didn’t stop the Qassams. Then it held back vital supplies. That didn’t stop the Qassams. Recently, Israel brought in troops and killed both militants and civilians. That hasn’t stopped the Qassams. Israel has unsuccessfully tried all reasonable actions short of bombing Gaza. Israel must stop the attacks on its own people. Since it has tried everything else, Israel has proven that bombing Gaza is the only force that will stop the assaults. Bombing Gaza is therefore reasonable force at this point. Israel must now have the courage to act in the interests of its citizens and its existence.
Women may not have an aliyah
Regarding the article “Woman can have aliyot, Orthodox scholar says” (CJN, March 13), the Gemarah (Megilla 23) clearly states that woman may not have an aliyah “because of the respect of the congregation.” This is codified in the Shulchan Aruch (Laws of Shabbat 282:5). One cannot override “respect of the congregation,” even if the congregation does not mind! (Laws of Morning Prayers 53:9)
Regarding a wedding, there are halachic concerns about mixed seating. According to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 149:1, a wedding would not be considered a simchah if there is mixed seating. In such a case, you would not be able to mention the simchah in the introduction of the Birkat Hamazon. Rabbi Daniel Sperber claims “this [separate seating at weddings] is something that only started about 50 years ago.” The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch was codified by Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried in 1864.
Don’t Close She’arim!
Mourning took place at the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre recently after the closing of the Dr. Abraham Shore She’arim Hebrew Day School was announced to the parents of its students and staff (“She’arim to close its doors in June,” CJN, March 20).
Jewish educators created She’arim – meaning “gates” in Hebrew – to accommodate children who are unable to master the skills needed for a dual-language day school program. The school accepts students from all streams.
These students, who failed in regular classrooms, often had behavioural problems that could not be managed by their schools.The program at She’arim enabled them to return to the Jewish day school system within a few years. The learning strategies they acquired gave them the skills and self-confidence to finish high school, to eventually attend colleges, universities and yeshivot, and to obtain professional degrees.
The school’s success is in large part due to the fact that the children are removed from their regular schools, environments in which they could not compete.
To close down this unique remedial school will deprive Jewish students and their families of a tried and successful learning environment. This school is staffed by experienced, compassionate educators who would be difficult to replace.
Keep in the gates open.
Sara Edell Schafler Kelman
Conservative gov’t should be applauded
The United Nations Human Rights Council recently endorsed a resolution by the United Nations condemning Israel for a recent armed incursion into the Gaza Strip that claimed more than 120 lives, many of them civilians. While there were a number of abstentions, only Canada had the courage to vote against the resolution. Included with those countries censuring the Jewish state were China and Russia. Never has the council entertained the question of Russia’s brutality against Chechens or China’s onslaught against civilians in Myanmar and currently in Tibet. It is also worth noting that Canada withdrew from attending the next UN conference on racism even before Israel decided to withdraw. Today’s Canada is a true ally and friend of Israel. The position taken by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government should be applauded by the Jewish community.
Conservative shuls’ new siddur
Of course, Rabbi Philip Scheim and his Conservative rabbinical colleagues who have opted for Siddur Hadash (Conservative shuls adopt new siddur, CJN, March 6) are free to adopt their liturgical book of choice based their congregations’ preferences, and I applaud them for selecting a siddur that includes transliteration. However, the reasons Rabbi Scheim lists for choosing not to use the Siddur Sim Shalom, the official siddur of the Conservative Movement, are flawed.
Rabbi Scheim is bothered by Sim Shalom’s optional inclusion of the matriarchs in the Amidah. This apparent obstacle can be solved by simply choosing to read the traditional liturgy, which is set as the standard text within the siddur. The text, which includes the matriarchs, is on a separate page, allowing congregants and clergy the easy option of turning to the next part of the service. This, in fact, is part of the beauty of Sim Shalom. It allows Conservative congregations of various liturgical practices to remain unified through the same prayer book.
Rabbi Scheim also takes issue with some liturgical changes within the Sim Shalom. However, many of these adjustments are also found in the Silverman siddur, previously used by these congregations. Rabbi Scheim complains that the Silverman siddur’s English translation is not contemporary and that the siddur does not properly deal with events such as the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. This is all certainly true, yet a siddur that offers a modern English translation and that speaks about the Holocaust and the State of Israel has been in existence within the Conservative movement for more than 20 years – the Siddur Sim Shalom!
I was taken aback by the title “Kids and chiropractic: proceed with caution” (To Your Health, CJN, Feb. 7). I understand the writer’s well-intentioned effort to portray both sides of the issue. However, the end result was a distorted picture. There are many studies showing the safety and beneficial health effects of chiropractors adjusting children.
There is also ample scientific evidence showing the safety of chiropractic neck adjustments (“Dangers of chiropractic treatment,” CJN letters, Feb. 28). The most recent study, in the journal Spine, showed no more increased risk of stroke, whether a person visited a chiropractor or a medical doctor, and that, in general, the correlative cases of stroke were not causal (i.e., the chiropractor did not cause it).