The JC Letters Page August 25 2017

Alex Igel, Carol Caplan, M Schachter, Jonathan Hoffman, Barry Hyman, Simon Leigh and Sheila Chiat share their views with JC readers

August 25, 2017 15:32

Intolerance will see shuls lose members

I wholeheartedly agree with the views expressed by Miriam Shaviv, (JC, August 11). The vitriol that has emanated from the likes of Rabbis Bassous, Mizrachi and others does not in any way reflect the Judaism that I subscribe to — a Judaism of love, compassion, tolerance and mutual respect.  

Rabbi Dweck was subject to a Leninist-style show trial. It is appalling and draconian that a visionary like him is silenced in this way. These same rabbis were then emboldened to make further outbursts against JW3, a cross-communal institution for all Jews regardless of affiliation and sexual orientation.

The ignorance and bigotry shown by some rabbis to the LGBT community is woeful. A comment was made to me recently by one such to the effect that being gay was a disease that was “curable”.

What is so tragic is that there are Orthodox people who are gay and who have never come out, for fear of being excommunicated. What constant personal torture and turmoil these people must suffer.

This is an issue that will not go away. These rabbis certainly do not speak for me, and they certainly have not heard the last of this.

The United Synagogue appears deeply concerned at the 20 per cent reduction in its membership. If my synagogue is anything to go by, this figure is probably wide of the mark. 

I speak as a member of the United Synagogue and can’t help feeling that the organisation is becoming increasingly irrelevant. 

It may be appropriate to think about how to welcome and be inclusive towards the LGBT community under the circumstances. Otherwise it’s going to be a case of “will the last one left please turn off the lights”.

Alex Igel
London N3

Jew is the word

Russell Ballen (Letters, August 18) says that even after a grovelling apology (by a Swiss hotel manager as reported in the JC), these incidents “normalise and feed into the acceptance of antisemitic rhetoric”.  

There is a similarly growing tendency that has me very worried: none of the media nowadays uses the word “Jew”.   

It is always “Jewish people” or variants of that phrase. By doing so, they imply that the word “Jew” is offensive, something you don’t call people. If the word describing the person is offensive what does that say for the person themselves?

They have no problem with Christians, Muslims, or Hindus; we don’t talk about Christian people, or Hindu people. It is time we reclaimed our name and challenge the reluctance of the media to say or write it. I am a Jew (or Jewess) and proud to be so called.

(Mrs) Carol Caplan                                               
London N11 


Fools who drool

It is obvious and necessary that Jews should condemn and oppose neo-Nazis and their kind. 

However, in the United States especially, this has meant that many Jews have joined the tidal wave of largely synthetic outrage after Charlottesville alongside “progressives”. 

These are the people who regularly attack Jews who show any signs of supporting Israel, with the increasingly obvious lie that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism. 

When hearing or seeing words such as “liberal” and “progressive” many Jews — especially of the Reform or Guardian-reading kind — start drooling like Pavlov’s dogs. 

But it is clear that the left is a much greater threat to Jews and Israel than the small percentage of antisemites on the right. 

M Schachter
London NW6

What Myers said 

Gideon Falter of the CAA (Letters, August 18) repeats the allegation that Kevin Myers claimed that Ms Feltz and Ms Winkleman earn more than many of their female BBC colleagues because “Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price”. 

He did indeed say Jews do not generally undersell themselves. But he did not say this was the reason for the two ladies’ high remuneration. He simply said that if other female BBC presenters used the same agents as them, they could have no cause for complaint as it can be assumed that these agents obtained the best possible deal on their behalf.  

Unfortunately, this misinterpretation has cost Myers his job. He should be reinstated. 

Jonathan Hoffman

Chabad in Radlett

I don’t think those of us worshipping in Radlett need fear the arrival of a Chabad base (Letters, August 18). As I understand it, they will be our almost next-door neighbours at Radlett Reform, founded 45 years ago as Bushey and District with 16 families. We joined a year later and the community moved home to Radlett when, as chairman in 1982, I acquired our current premises.  

As well as a Reform and Orthodox synagogue within a half-mile, there is a Liberal shul a little way towards the A41 and a shtibl in a former pub.  

While I do not imagine our Chabad neighbours, other than any of an enquiring mind, will enter our Shabbat service, they might care to risk a glass of Palwins afterwards. Like theirs, our door is open.

Barry Hyman
President, Radlett Reform shul

From erudite and eagle-eyed JC readers

Reading Dr Anthony Joseph’s comments on X marking the spot (Letters, August 18), I was struck by his final paragraph about registrants signing “more commonly” with a circle than with a cross.

This reminds me of the “likely to be true” story from my Zeida (Jacob Lisagorsky z’l) who suggested that when the Yiddish-speaking immigrants arrived at Ellis Island not speaking or writing English, they also refused to make a cross on their immigration papers, moved by the call in Yiddish from their Chevra in the queue behind of “Makhn a Kikle!”  — make a circle. This was heard by the officers present and they in turn referred to the

Jews entering America as the Kikes, as that was what they heard them being called.

Simon M Leigh
London NW4

In the travel piece on Malta, (JC, August 18), reference was made to the Star of David not appearing on Jewish gravestones.

But it could not have as it was not used as a specific Jewish symbol until the 16th century (a printer’s colophon in Prague), by which time the expulsion of Jews from Spain had taken place. The menorah is the symbol found in archaeological sites in the ancient Jewish world. 

In the same issue, in the obituary of Simone Veil, the date of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen was given as January 27, 1945 (the liberation of Auschwitz) instead of April 15, 1945. 

Sheila Chiat
Dagenham, Essex


August 25, 2017 15:32

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