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Letters week of April 27, 2006
What's the Problem? Maybe Saying 'Next Year'
Jews say, "Next year in Jerusalem" at Pesach, and God "makes a note" to bring all Jews to Jerusalem the following holiday season (A Matter of Opinion: "Choose Your Metaphor," April 13).
Some Jews even say, "Next year in Jerusalem" at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, so God thinks, "Well, perhaps they need a bit more time to wind up their affairs in the Diaspora. Okay, I'll bring Jews to Jerusalem for the next Yom Kippur."
Then comes Pesach, and the cycle repeats itself.
Maybe just saying "Next year" is our problem.
Rabbi Milton H. Polin
Products Produced Via Cruelty Cannot Be Kosher
Passover reminded us that God led us out of bondage in Egypt not merely to release us from slavery, but to fulfill our responsibility to set the highest example for the world in all behavior.
It is therefore disturbing that the world's largest kosher slaughterhouse, AgriProcessors - selling products under the brand names Aaron's Best, Iowa's Best and Rubashkin's - continues to violate shechitah, and performs egregious cruelty to animals that does not represent the ethics of Judaism (Nation & World: "PETA Remains Unimpressed With Probe Results at Meat Plant," March 30).
Turning animals upside down to slit their throats, tearing out their tracheas, dismembering them while still conscious, using equipment that traps and breaks chicken's legs - none of this follows humane ritual-slaughter concepts.
When animals struggle to stand five minutes after their throats are cut, something is very wrong.
For AgriProcessors to shrug this off as "normal" is outrageous and against all Jewish teachings. The Orthodox Union should do far more to rectify this situation.
PETA's complaint is not against all ritual-slaughter methods, but solely against AgriProcessors for shechitah violations. Their claims and recommendations are valid and reasonable.
When PETA and more than 50 rabbis and animal experts say the same thing, we should be listening.
A company that violates the prohibition against tza'ar ba'alei hayyim is not kosher and not humane, and its products do not belong in the homes of people demonstrating a higher ethic to the world.
Arlene B. Steinberg
Circus Cruelty to Animals: Not Very Entertaining!
Your profile of Nicole Feld spoke volumes in that it studiously avoided mention of the controversy over the continued use of animals in the Ringling Bros. Circus (Arts & Entertainment: "Think Your Job's a Circus?").
Ms. Feld's father, Kenneth Feld, would rather go into a cage of hungry tigers than admit that more and more people believe that the use of animals as entertainment is wrong.
People don't care if there is one ring or three; they care about animals being hit and whipped, chained and caged, and forced to perform tricks.
Mr. Feld's intransigence is preventing him from making the smart business decision to eliminate cruel animal acts right now.
Ms. Feld says that the circus is evolving; it's time that she convinced her father of that.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Not Wrong? Non-Kosher Seders Remain a 'No-No'!
In the recent "Passover Palate" supplement, in a piece titled "Waiter, More Kugel Please," Maxine Keyser's opening salvo reads: "Say it with us - There's nothing wrong in having your seder in a restaurant."
While I understand that the Jewish Exponent routinely takes ads from nonkosher restaurants all year (which is no doubt a valuable source of revenue), it is quite another thing to feature an article that exhorts its readers to book their seders at such places.
The piece went beyond reporting on a growing trend to plugging the opulent menus at these upscale, nonkosher restaurants.
What's the alternative?
The Haggadah opens with, "Let all who are hungry come and eat." This letter is an open invitation for any Jew waiting to experience a kosher seder to come to my house for dinner!
Miriam's Cup Runneth Over With Memories
It was good to see the article on Rabbi Sandra Berliner, a woman deserving of praise (Names & Faces: " 'God Willing, We'll All Be Elderly One Day,' " April 13).
At one point in her life, she was our rabbi at Congregation Tiferes B'nai Israel in Warrington, and was much appreciated.
I was most interested to read of the seder she led for Jewish women, which included an orange on the seder plate, and the introduction of Miriam's cup.
What a treat it was for me to see these same objects on the Passover table at my son and daughter-in-law's house this year.
When I saw them, I smiled, and thought warmly of Rabbi Berliner.
Rabbi Touched the Lives of a Grieving Family
The Jewish Exponent chose a worthy subject in Rabbi Sandra Berliner for its "Names & Faces" column (" 'God Willing, We'll All Be Elderly One Day' " April 13).
When my father died in October 2000 at age 78, Rabbi Berliner arrived at my mother's home the following night to prepare for his funeral service. She learned from me, my mother, brother and other relatives about the kind of person he was and heard our stories. A cousin recommended her; at the time, she was the religious leader at his synagogue.
The following morning, she led the service, and spoke at length about my father and the many lives he touched.
Rabbi Berliner is one of those professionals I will remember for touching the lives of myself and my family members. She helped ease one of the most painful weeks that my family ever experienced.
Bruce S. Ticker