Letters, the Week of Dec. 24, 2015


A Question of Style

As far as I know, “Bar-Mitzvahed” has never been a verb. Your staff member, Jon Marks, employed it as such in two articles in the Jewish Exponent Nov 26 edition.
 The correct usage is: “[Name of boy] became Bar Mitzvah at ….. synagogue on …”
Fred Goldstein | Ambler
Editor’s note: We use “Bar Mitzvahed” in the same way that people stopped saying they “searched Google” and started saying “Googled” instead — it is simply part of our editorial style to employ usage as 
a verb.
Acknowledging Our Culinary and Literary Past
How can you write about Logan without celebrating the great Delicatessen District at 11th and Loudon Streets and the greatest writer to emerge from Philadelphia, David Goodis, who hailed from 10th Street and Wyoming Avenue?
Aaron Finestone | Philadelphia
In Portion, a Glimpse of What Might Have Been
In contrast to Adin Steinsaltz’s saccharine cheerleading (Dec. 10), Rabbi David Ackerman’s Torah portion (“Fanning the Fraternal Flame”) correctly notes the bloody nature of the “internal struggle” in Judea, including the Maccabees’ forcible circumcision of the uncircumcised.
In point of fact, the Maccabees were standard-bearers for freedom of religion the way Kim Davis is a standard-bearer; both share the same definition of freedom of religion: the freedom to impose their form of religion upon everybody else.
Chanukah was a nasty civil war between “old-time religion” and cutting-edge Hellenism, in which the bad guys — the zealots, religious extremist Jewhadism — won out. Illegitimate rulers to begin with — the Maccabees/Hasmoneans were of priestly lineage, and the Torah insists upon the separation of priestly and royal power — once in charge, they then fell prey to the same corruption of which they accused their foes, eventually embarking upon an alliance with, and subsequent take-over by, Rome.
Most importantly, the end result was Judea being consigned to backwater provincial status for centuries, politically and especially economically, which explains how a psychopath like Pontius Pilate wound up stationed there. (First-century Judea was where the Roman Empire sent the troublemakers, head cases and malcontent officials it was stuck with.) Consider this: A better, a more adept and sophisticated procurator would have handled the Jesus situation so much more adroitly by co-opting the Nazarene (e.g., by offering him a position as mayor of Jerusalem, religious affairs advisor and/or offering token redress of grievances) or, instead of arresting and then executing Jesus, round up his followers and hold them hostage and threaten to kill them unless Jesus behaved. It is one thing for Jesus to eagerly sacrifice his own life, quite another to have to forfeit those of his friends and followers. Would he want their blood on his hands? As an individual of principle, I doubt it.
Bottom line: No Maccabean “victory,” no Pontius Pilate. No Pontius Pilate, no Good Friday crucifixion. No crucifixion, no Christianity. No Christianity, no millennia of super-secessionist, deicide-based anti-Semitism. No millennia of religious anti-Semitism. No Holocaust.
 Steve Weissman | Narberth


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