How the UN could help
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of incitement by falsely accusing Israel of upsetting a delicate status quo at a sensitive holy site revered by Jews and Muslims. Abbas says the violence is a natural result of decades of occupation and the lack of political solution.
United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon recently visited Israel and he could help solve the situation by visiting the Temple Mount and observing for himself that there has been no change in the status quo. If the secretary general is truly honest and objective, he would stand before the United Nations and indicate that the Palestinians are wrong and that Israel is upholding the agreement with respect to the Temple Mount that was made after the 1967 war.
I am afraid it would take a bigger man than the secretary general to make an honest proclamation, even though it would likely end the violence.
Renewed memorial a ‘shandeh’
I have visited the Earl Bales Shoah memorial many times (“Refurbished memorial draws 600 to Shoah event,” Oct. 15). This profoundly moving place has always deeply affected me. I’ve always taken foreign visitors to the site. Without exception, my guests have been visibly moved and have fallen silent when they beheld the message, the chimney, the markers, and, sadly, the many names.
I shall never visit or show visitors this new travesty. From a successful, almost holy place, to remember, we now have a crass, tasteless, loud shandeh. The monuments are now worthy to compete with the advertising billboards on Bathurst Street.
The names of the martyrs are diminished. The donors are the focus. In starkly contrasting colour, script and huge in size, the donors have become the heroes. From what was once the reverent approach from the driveway, one now passes between heavy obelisks shouting,“Look at me! I gave!”
I thank and respect the donors. The donors should be recognized, but they should not be centre stage. They should not overwhelm the real purpose of this memorial.
Place the names of the donors a little distance off. Do not have the donors’ names belittle our martyrs. Let’s re-donate and rework this embarrassment.
Let us recall Maimonides’ eight levels of charity.
Benjamin Shinewald wrote a very good piece (“After the election, a new day for the Jewish community,” Oct. 29).
I, for one, am sick of being told by Jewish Conservatives that I have to vote Conservative in order to show gratitude to outgoing prime minister Stephen Harper, regardless of my views on the economy, social policy, the environment, etc. It is good to see that Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair neutralized this issue and made it clear that none of the major parties are anti-Israel.
The attempt to make Israel a wedge issue failed, as it looks like Canadian Jews trended away from the Tories in the recent election.
Comment from CJNews.com
Asking the right question
Paul Socken’s article, “The gift of a good question” (Oct. 8), and his assertion that “Jews in particular are a curious lot, obsessed with questions, whether or not there is an answer” brought to mind an anecdote about the late Nobel Laureate physicist, Isidor Rabi. When he was asked why he became a scientist, he said, “My mother made me a scientist without ever intending it. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: ‘So? Did you learn anything today?’ But not my mother. She always asked me a different question. ‘Izzy,’ she would say, ‘did you ask a good question today?’”
Years ago, I mentioned Rabi’s comment to a colleague of mine, Barry Hennick, at the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto. Later that day, he put up a sign on his classroom door which read: “Did you ask a good question today?”