Letters the Week of Sept. 11, 2014

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A writer complains about the coverage of a new Jewish restaurant that serves treif while other readers weigh in on the Middle East conflict.

‘Rhapsody to Treif’ No Music to These Ears
Reading your page-long rhapsody to treif (Lifestyle & Culture, “Can Corned Pork Belly and Bacon Egg Cream Be Jewish?” Sept. 4) brought to mind a true story witnessed by my husband’s friend. The event happened on an Italian cruise liner. 
 
A rabbi, while ordering a ham dish, asked an Italian waiter: “You’re probably wondering why I, a rabbi, order a ham dish?” To which the waiter replied: “No, sir, I do not wonder why you order a ham dish; what I wonder is why you call yourself a rabbi?”
 
Just like the Italian waiter, I do not wonder whether a treif restaurant can be Jewish; what I do wonder is why the Jewish Exponent gives it so much free publicity, along with a plug to follow up on its opening on the Jewish Exponent’s new food blog.
Luba Anton | Philadelphia
 
History Lessons Should Be Two-Sided
Re: Jack Wertheimer’s call for teaching about Gaza (Opinion, “As School Opens, How to Talk to Children About the Gaza War,” Sept. 4), I suggest that the education of both Jewish children and adults include a fair, forthright statement of Arab concerns. Palestine was not a “land without people for a people without land.”
 
Many Arabs were forced out in the War of Independence. Left unspoken, this history becomes an argument for the de-legitimization of Israel. An appreciation of the trauma experienced by the indigenous Arab population in the creation of the State of Israel is necessary for engaging those who would take legitimate concerns such as equal citizenship for “you and the sojourner in your midst” and use them for anti-Zionist causes.
 
Our goal is for the Israel narrative to be respected and receive a fair hearing. To that end it is necessary to appreciate the Palestinian narrative. And yes, there are many supporters of Palestine who are willing to hold their animus in check to achieve a common goal of peace and coexistence rather than endless war.
Robert Karp | Princeton, N.J.
 
Let Us Not Act Like Our Own Enemies
Many people hate Jews and, more generally, those who are different from them or threaten them. This is our world. It is not pretty. It is true, as Daniel Bacine points out, that the Arabs have  rejected numerous proposals for peace that have been put forth over the past 65 years (Kvetch ’N Kvell, “Arab Hatred of Jews Is What’s ‘Inexcusable,’ ” Sept. 4). This may be because Arab leaders found these proposals far more favorable to Jews than to Arabs.
 
Clearly, Arab leaders, from Hamas to Middle East royalty, have abrogated their responsibilities toward their people, preferring instead to foment hatred and make war, all of which has led to killing of more Arabs and Israelis while gaining little or nothing for their own people. Some clearly want to destroy Israel, but none of this can justify increasing numbers of settlements in occupied lands or the use of excessive force against Arabs. Such behavior is, as Anya Friedman Hutter (no relation) wrote, inexcusable and not in keeping with Jewish tradition (Op-ed, “Reframing the Conversation on Campus,” Aug. 28).
 
We, of all people, should know better. Perhaps we should review our own long and tortured history and remember that we have seen and continue to see the enemy, and we should not wish to act like or be like them.
Frank Friedman | Delanco, N.J.
 

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