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October 12, 2011
Letters Week of Oct. 12, 2011
Ad Told the Truth; Letter Writer Missed the Point
I read with interest a letter from one of your readers claiming that an ad stating that President Barack Obama is the most anti-Israel president of all times was unfair (Letters: "Full-Page Ad Took Unfair Potshots at the President," Oct. 6).
There were many Jews who did not want to believe the truth when it was presented to them -- 6 million in fact, and they all died in concentration camps.
Richard S. Mailman
Just Where on Spectrum Is GOP These Days?
The Oct. 6 cover story "How the GOP Learned to Love Israel -- Unconditionally"demonstrates clearly how the right-wing, Christian-dominated, Republican Party, with its unwavering support for the right-wing Benjamin Netanyahu government in Israel, is an obstacle to a Middle East peace.
That Noam Neusner, a former Bush administration adviser and now consultant to Christians United for Israel, could say that longtime Republicans Brent Scowcroft and James Baker would "find themselves more comfortable in the Democratic Party" illustrates how far right the GOP now is.
And with the GOP evangelical base needing Israel to control the whole country, including all of Jerusalem, for their "End of Days" to occur (including the end of the Jews), support for a two-state peace settlement is not part of their biblical scenario.
Source of the Kol Nidre Prayer Revealed in Book
Regarding the Oct. 6 cover story "Kol Nidre's Surprising Appeal," Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman does not mention what seems to me to be the most likely origin of the Kol Nidre prayer.
From historian Salo Baron's Social and Religious History of the Jews (Vol. III, pages 41 and 42), we learn that Visogothic King Recceswinth in 654 required all Spanish Jews to sign an oath "not to become involved in Jewish rites or customs nor enter into any association with Jews who remain unbaptized" and "not to follow our habit of contracting incestuous unions with relatives ... nor to choose wives from our own stock ... and to always link ourselves in matrimony with Christians. We shall not practice carnal circumcision or celebrate the Passover, the Sabbaths ... nor keep our old habit of discriminating in matters of food."
Baron concludes that the 7th century under the Visogothic monarchy in many ways anticipated the later tragedy of Spanish Jewry beginning in 1391 and ending with their expulsion in 1492. Certainly the horrific events of the 7th century more than justified a prayer asking God to relieve them of the vows they were forced to make, or those they would be forced to make in the year ahead.
ADL Has 'Cruelly Ignored' Its Most Urgent Mission
The Anti-Defamation League may claim to be fulfilling one of its many mission statements by "securing justice and fair treatment for all" when it speaks out for groups experiencing prejudice. However, ADL has cruelly ignored its more immediate and far more urgent mission -- to stop the widespread defamation of fellow Jews and to support those long desperately needing help, such as captive prisoner Gilad Shalit (Letters: "She's Proud Jews Stand Up for the Persecuted," Sept. 15).
The ADL also fails shamefully when it does not act on its first priority, which should be to lead a loud outcry defending current issues, one of which has become the growing prevalence of Sharia law that threatens our judicial system. This is incredibly regarded by ADL leader Abe Foxman as a "matter of myth" (Editorial & Opinions: "The Threat of Sharia Law: It's All a Matter of Myth Making," Sept. 1).