The JC Letters Page, 26th October 2018

Joshua Carmel-Brown, Stan Labovitch, Hana Kleiner, David Chesler, Melvyn Carloe and Deborah Nathan share their views with JC readers

October 26, 2018 12:08

Headline was ‘fear mongering’ 

I am the Head Boy of Kantor King Solomon High School.

What are you trying to achieve with your headline, Racism fears as mob fight erupts at school (October 19)? 

How can you take one incident and one parent’s comments and create a story which in effect tarnishes a whole school with a deeply upsetting and completely untrue perspective?

The school has indeed changed over the last few years as we have welcomed children of all faiths into our student community. We pride ourselves with the fact that our Jewish ethos remains strong and, in May this year, your paper published a very real account of how the school had worked so hard to create a welcoming environment for everyone. 

Has it changed dramatically since May?  Is there a sudden concern?  Absolutely not.  

There are Jewish families for whom the present makeup of the school is used as a reason not to send their children to the school. I would argue that if you are truly looking for a story which seeks to divide communities as opposed to unite them, they are the people you want to talk to. 

You have offended hundreds of students, families and staff. I for one do not accept your fear mongering approach.  It does nothing to help the Jewish community, not in Redbridge or beyond.

Joshua Carmel-Brown
Head Boy, Kantor King Solomon High School 

Jew hate in schools

The numerous instances of antisemitism and Holocaust revisionism experienced by assistant teacher Marie Tierney among teachers is shocking (Nearly all teachers I worked with habitually excuse Hitler, October 18). 

This was not the case at the large multi-ethnic west London comprehensive where I taught. Every year, Holocaust Memorial Day was celebrated with deeply moving assemblies — often given by children of different faiths — and even included the appearance on stage of Holocaust survivors who brought the children to tears. 

One of the Jewish teachers was invited to explain Judaism to the sixth form. 

Of course there were a number of revolutionary socialists who were viscerally anti-Israel but they were far outnumbered by those sympathetic to Jews and Jewish history.

Stan Labovitch
Windsor SL45

I was dismayed to read Marie Tierney’s article. 

My late sister and I were the only ones from our close family in Czechoslovakia to survive the Holocaust. Our parents were able to send us to Britain and we arrived in August 1939 on the last of the ‘Winton Trains’ to leave Prague. 

Only one of our extended family of 56 remained alive. He was Otto Kraus, my father’s cousin.

I have been giving talks to schools and adult groups on behalf of the Holocaust Education Trust for some years.

I have never experienced antisemitism in this country, neither at school nor in my workplace, not from colleagues or management.

The schools who request a speaker are a self-selected minority, where the teachers of either RE or History have a positive approach to teaching the Holocaust.

It is disturbing to find that the negative attitude and prejudice toward Jews which has pertained for two thousand years is being conveyed to pupils in a liberal country like Britain. 

The existence of social media and a high level of ignorance of history allow misinformation and lies to be passed on. 

Surely university authorities and school inspectors should be aware of these prevalent attitudes, blindly expecting the truth to be told to young, vulnerable minds.  

Hana Kleiner
Edgware  Middx  

Shoah speculation

Melvyn Lipitch and Stephen Green (Letters, October 19) adamantly believe that Britain is partly to blame for the Holocaust for restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine. 

But their assertion that countless lives would have been saved is mere speculation. 

The Arab uprising in Palestine had left thousands dead and wounded and Britain risked forfeiting its influence in the region had it not placated the Arabs by issuing the White Paper in 1939. 

Had millions of Jews flooded in to the country unimpeded, the Arabs would have unequivocally aligned themselves with the Axis. Would Britain have been able to contain continuing violence in Palestine, the defection of the Arab Legion and pro-Nazi, nationalist coups in Iraq and Egypt? 

An opportune decision by Hitler to divert resources in order to implement the Final Solution across the Levant would have resulted in a successful German-Arab advance in to Palestine resulting in an even greater Jewish tragedy.

David Chesler
Edgware, HA8

East End memories

I read with interest the letter about Oldhill Street from that indomitable letter writer (and my old class mate) Barry Hyman (Letters, October 19). 

I lived in Oldhill Street above Brenner’s drapery shop, run by my grandmother. 

I also rode a delivery bike for one of the Jewish grocery shops, to earn enough money to go with my Jewish Youth Group to Israel in 1956. 

Most of the shops were Jewish and the street bustled on Sundays. 

My booba’s business was primarily conducted in Yiddish. Many of her customers bought their items on tic and her books recorded them by their relationship to other customers rather than their actual name. For example: Sara’s daughter in law or Yetta’s sister’s daughter! Somehow it worked. 
My booba also closed the shop to daven twice a day.

She ran this business until she was 93, finally forced to retire when she had difficulty in speaking Yiddish to a growing Afro-Caribbean community. 

Melvyn Carlowe 
Enfield, EN2  

Surprising omission

I read with great interest the article about Michael and Isaac Herzog (October 19) but was surprised and disappointed that no mention was made of the contribution to the State of Israel made by their grandmother or mother.

Their grandmother Rabbanit Sarah Herzog played an integral role in the development and advancement of the Women’s Religious Zionist movement, ultimately heading the women’s division of the Mizrachi political party and culminating in the establishment of Emunah.

In 1977, Sarah Herzog became the founding president of World Emunah. 

Emunah today is one of the largest social welfare organisations in Israel, with supporters across the world and has helped shape Israeli society since the foundation of the State. 

Rabbanit Herzog was also awarded honorary doctorates from the Hebrew and Bar Ilan Universities and founded a hospital in Jerusalem.

Michael and Isaac Herzog’s mother Pnina served as President of World Emunah and was the first Israeli to be elected President of the International Council of Women as well as the first woman to represent Israel at the World Health Organization.

Two remarkable women who surely deserve recognition.

Deborah Nathan
Director British Emunah and Co-Chair of AJWO

October 26, 2018 12:08

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