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Letters week of May 21, 2009
Does World Need Another Holocaust Memorial?
As per your April 23 cover story, "Monument to the Six Million," about a possible Holocaust memorial being built in Atlantic City, I would venture to say there is one in every large city throughout the United States, plus the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
However, Rabbi Gordon Geller, religious leader of Temple Emeth Shalom in Margate, N.J., wants to build another one -- and this time on the boardwalk!
Considering all those in existence, none has stopped anti-Semitism anywhere in the world, especially in Europe, where the burning of American and Israeli flags, and mobs yelling "Death to the Jews!" are commonplace. Of what value is another memorial?
It would behoove Rabbi Geller, a teacher, to use the funds for Jewish children to attain a Jewish education in a Jewish day school.
Now what a mitzvah that would be!
Dorothy W. Glauser
Boynton Beach, Fla.
Lots of Sacred Places Right Under Our Noses
In his drosh on sacred places (Torah Portion: "How Do You Recognize That a Place Is Scared? May 14), Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman did not mention Torah scrolls, Israel, Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, Samaria -- or even Judea, for which we are named.
Jewish Ethics Teach More Than 'Justice, Justice'
Unfortunately, many well- intentioned Jewish activists are highly selective when citing what "Jewish ethical tradition" teaches us (Letters: "A Jewish Activist Calls for Peace and Justice," May 7).
Our ethical tradition also teaches us that "If someone is coming to kill you, rise against him and kill him first."
I would say the unprovoked Palestinian-Arab bombardment by thousands of rockets fired at innocent Jewish civilians for 10 years qualifies as "coming to kill you." If anything, Israel acted too late with too little to properly uphold our ethical tradition.
Thank God "Israel has military, economic and technological superiority" -- which letter-writer Susan Landau seems to resent -- as it needs each of these advantages to survive when surrounded by people dedicated to annihilating every Jew in the vicinity.
Ms. Landau hurls serious but unsubstantiated accusations against Israel for defending its people, yet the best she can offer to describe Palestinian missile attacks is "unjustifiable."
Of course, the entire verse from Deuteronomy reads: "Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you."
This means all of the land.
Greater Philadelphia District Zionist Organization of America
Those Who Love Reading Usually Have the Bug
Robert Leiter's "Speaking Volumes" column is the highlight of my reading of the Jewish Exponent each week. The prose is easy to read, informative and intelligently presented.
I was especially intrigued by a paragraph in his May 14 piece titled "A New Must-Have for 'Suffering' Bibliophiles" that discussed a "gentle madness" as the virus that infects all bibliophiles.
When I was a sophomore in college many, many years ago, I wrote an essay on this very topic, describing how my parents "infected" me with a love of reading. They read to me as a small child, took me to the big library on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sunday afternoons, and set an example by reading themselves.
The instructor in the English class for whom I wrote the essay took offense at my expression, tore the essay apart and graded it harshly. I got over all this, though it still rankles.
Reading remains a great part of my life, and I've passed that on to my son and grandson, who have "reading parties" each night before bedtime.
One small quibble: In a later paragraph in that same piece, Mr. Leiter speaks of three graduates of Yale and calls them "alumnae."
They are all male, so the proper expression is "alumni," plural of alumnus.
Myrna W. Birnbaum
Cherry Hill, N.J