Poll Results Point to ‘Forgotten’ History

I was taken aback when I saw the results from the JT poll of July 11. When asked how the U.S. should deal with the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who have flocked across the country’s southern border the past few months, 60 percent of respondents voted to “deport them quickly.” Amazing how so many of us have forgotten our history.

I remember learning about the MS St. Louis, which was turned away from our shores in 1939, denying 937 Jewish people the chance for a safe haven and a new life away from the atrocities that were taking place in Germany. I am in no way comparing the current situation to what took place during the Holocaust. But these are children, many of whom have parents who, like parents during World War II, sent them to the U.S. in the hope that they would find a safer and better life.

As Jews who should understand what it means to be ignored by the world and cast adrift to certain death, we should know better than to just say to these innocent children: “Deport them quickly.”

I hope we’ll be able to welcome these children and help them to have the life those 937 people were denied.

Gerri Baum
Editor’s note: The writer is an occasional columnist for the JT.

Diplomacy, Not Sanctions, for Iran

As negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program continue, I hope my senators and representative will seize the opportunity to publicly speak out in support of diplomacy. New sanctions (“Cruz Takes Aim at Iran,” Aug.1) or other saber-rattling measures could undermine the progress our diplomats have made toward a multi-year agreement that guards against a nuclear-armed Iran and the risk of another war over this issue.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation has more information on how Congress can support a peaceful resolution of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program at fcnl.org/iran.

Richard Golding

Don’t Say Cease-Fire

Don’t Say Cease-Fire
Why all the talk about a cease-fire with Hamas (“A Loss of Credibility,” July 18)? Hamas is a terrorist organization bent on genocide, and dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Diplomatic efforts to arrange a cease-fire give Hamas undue political legitimacy, and merely postpone the inevitable resumption of rocket attacks against Israel.

The primary obligation of the government of Israel is to protect the lives of its citizens. To fulfill this obligation in a morally responsible manner, Israel must insist upon the unconditional surrender of Hamas’ entire missile arsenal and destruction of its vast system of attack tunnels before any consideration is given to a cease-fire. The international community can be helpful in this regard by providing inspectors to ensure complete elimination of Hamas’ terror infrastructure. There is obvious precedent for this type of international involvement: the recent agreement providing for the removal and elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

The earliest recorded instance of a people devoted to terror (the Amalekites) is found in Scripture. With regard to misplaced mercy for a people prone to terror, our sages teach us, “He who is merciful to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the merciful.” So, too, will Israel fail in its mission of protecting its citizenry if it settles for a meaningless cease-fire with Hamas.

Marc L. Caroff
President, Louis D. Brandeis Chapter
Zionist Organization of America
Silver Spring, Md.

Birthright Goes On

Despite rocket fire from Hamas terrorists in Gaza, 6,000 young Jews, ages 18 to 26, have arrived in Israel in the last few weeks to be part of a 10-day “summer in Israel” experience (“Witnesses to Conflict,” July 18).

“Seven groups arrived on July 24 from North America,” said Gail Hyman of Birthright, the organization which has sent almost 400,000 Jews on such free educational trips to Israel. Out of the 6,000 sent “since the conflict began, … only 10 people left early.”

She said the Birthright program has made adjustments to ensure the safety of participants. Flights were switched to Israel’s national airline,
El Al, and itineraries are being adjusted based on consultations with Israeli security officials.

Of course, about 30 percent of the people who had signed up for the trip dropped out and postponed coming to Israel because of the fighting, but the 70 percent who did come will return home with a much greater feeling of commitment to Israel as a result of being there in a time of tension.

Rabbi Allen S. Maller
Culver City, Calif.

Real Terror for Israeli Families

I agree full heartedly with your July 18 editorial, “Support for Our Beleaguered Israel Family.”

Imagine yourself in Baltimore trying to calm your young child, explaining that there are no ‘monsters’ under the bed.

Then, imagine yourself as a mother or father in Israel who is in true danger of actually having real monsters under their bed entering through real tunnels with tranquilizers and restraints, not to mention grenades and machine guns ready to murder you or kidnap you and your family. How would you feel?

You hear mothers on Israeli radio tearfully saying that they don’t dare sleep through the night for fear of just that happening. Terrorists were already caught coming out of such tunnels that they have dug right under Israeli towns, ready to do terrible harm to innocent civilians.

Add to that the frequent warning sirens that a missile is heading toward you, and whether you are in a car or in the street, having to run for cover. This is the reality of the innocent Israeli citizen. It was forced on them by people who do not value life, whether Israelis or even their own people. While the Israeli army is warning people to get out of buildings before they are hit, Hamas is preventing some people from leaving those buildings.

Why do you think they hide their ammunition under innocent civilians’ homes, hospitals, mosques and schools? Because they, more than the rest of the world, know that the Israeli army is humane and will refrain from hurting innocent people as much as it can. Sometimes it is impossible, because when it comes to harming their own people or the other side, they have to choose their own. The Israeli people rely on and trust their government and their army to protect them even at the great cost of their lives. The whole country mourns the fallen victims, while the other side uses their people as propaganda.

Ada Grodzinsky

Work for Jewish Unity

In light of a letter to the editor (“Your Say…,” July 4), rather than argue each point, I would like to make some observations.

All of the Chabad rabbis I have encountered express a love of their fellow Jew. I do not detect a judgmental attitude, but rather have heard, for example from Rabbi Labkowski in Frederick, “Here at Chabad, we’re all Jews, no labels.” I see Chabad emissaries selflessly devoting their lives to serving the Jewish people. I see a Chabad website that talks about praying and doing mitzvot for the protection of Israel, including asking men to be sure to put on tefillin each morning, as the Rebbe had asked in 1967 so that Hashem would grant victory to Israel in the Six Day War. We Jews are so outnumbered and have so many enemies; we need to accept our differences, but emphasize what we have in common.

Brian M. Parker
Littlestown, Pa.

A Welcome Tribute

Thank you for recognizing the passing of a great explorer and innovative leader of the modern Jewish world — Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (“Crossing Boundaries,” July 11). In the early 1980s I attended a Shabbaton he conducted at the Sufi Center in Boston. I had read a book or two he had written and felt moved to meet him.

Within moments he bridged my fascination with Eastern spirituality to the intrinsic and deep spirituality of Judaism. Through that bridge
he set forth a path for many Jewish seekers to re-examine and experience Judaism for spiritual nourishment.

This was his greatest gift for me, and he kept evolving and kept exploring and creating, and mostly he kept giving of his depth of knowledge,
wisdom and wonder.

The Jewish Renewal movement may be small, yet its ripples have made their way into more traditional Judaism and other faiths.

While some sneer or smirk at Reb Zalman’s unique ways and his legacy, I know the Jewish world is far, far better for his time with us.

Harvey W. Cohen
Owings Mills

For Fresh Produce, Come to Pikesville

I read with interest “Come And Get It!” (July 11) about farmers’ markets popping up all over town.  There is nothing that says summer like a fresh juicy peach, a delicious ear of corn or a ripe tomato that is both locally grown and sold.  For those who are unaware, Pikesville has its own farmers’ market sponsored by the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce. The market has grown substantially over the years and is now conveniently located at Pomona Square, right off of Reisterstown Road.  Open every Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the market hosts more than 18 vendors offering an assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, baked goods and wines and an array of other products and services.

Marcy Gorman
President, Chamber of Commerce

Stand Up, Be Counted

Dear Jewish communities and Israelis overseas: This is not a time for complacency. We cannot afford it.

At 9 a.m. on July 15 the Israeli Cabinet ratified a cease-fire and stopped the bombardment of Gaza. Hamas waited 10 minutes, then fired more missiles, covering almost all of Israel. On the news, we see waves and waves of anti-Israel-ism. Let me tell you all something: Silence is not golden.

Not long after there was a demonstration at Zion Square in Jerusalem of the extreme right wing with the intention of marching on the Arab Quarter of the Old City to show them ‘who’s boss.’ A group of peace-loving left-wing Israelis stood in front of them with banners and songs facing the insults and curses hurled at them. My daughter was there, and together, with other likeminded men and women and the police, succeeded in avoiding a potentially violent and explosive confrontation.

Silence is not an option — not for us. Those who promote anti-Semitism are very clever. Their multileveled strategic agenda over the last 15 years is now paying off with dividends. They are winning on every level. International public opinion is being manipulated. They are the vociferous majority, and the world is feeling a vice-like grip tightening by sheer numbers.

You cannot allow yourselves to be turned into the silent minority. Speak out: Let your voices be heard.

The terrorists’ unscrupulous tactics are working because you are not coming. The empty hotels, beaches and restaurants are a testament to their master plan.

We cannot hear you!

Stand up and be counted. Time has run out. Raise your voices to avoid disaster.

Howard Burns
Haifa, Israel.

Pleasantly Surprised!

I was surprised and pleased that the JT would print “IDF Launches Gaza Operation” (July 11) because of your “partnership in liberalism” with the J Street nut jobs, who must be working up an apology to their friends in Gaza. I guess you and they can forget about a two-state solution, and J Street should return all the funds they duped gullible people out of. The JT was, not too long ago, fair and balanced. If I had my way, I would cancel, but there are two of us in this household, and she has to read about weddings, births and obituaries, which you still do right.

Norman Wolfe