Letters week of 1/26/06



In one column, Jonathan Tobin decries Steven Spielberg's "Munich" for suggesting a moral equivalence between victims (Israelis) and victimizers (PLO terrorists).

Soon after, (A Matter of Opinion: "Politically Holier than Thou," Jan. 5), he turns around and does the exact same thing with respect to Jewish religious progressives, such as the Union of Reform Judaism and Christian conservatives who are also, respectively, victims and victimizers.

There is a documented history of fraud and deceit in evangelical conservative activity, the most flagrant example being their no-holds-barred targeting of Jews for conversion.

Such "God-fearing" individuals apparently see no problem if the exercise of their freedom of religious expression means depriving others of similar freedoms.

How can notions of civility, common decency and religious pluralism compare to a gospel mandate to spread the "good news"?

As their end-of-time cosmic drama of Armageddon in the Holy Land demonstrates, theologically, for the religious right, there are only two bona-fide types of Jews: the dead and the converted.

Yet Tobin would have us rely upon these double-dealing scoundrels to support Israel in a time of crisis.

These are the sort of people whom Tobin has the temerity to equate with the URJ and even Abraham Foxman, an Orthodox Jew and a Holocaust survivor? 
Stanleigh Cohen 
Pikesville, Md. 

Editor's Response: I, too, deplore conversion campaigns aimed at Jews. But unlike the Palestinian terrorists, conservative Christians haven't killed any Jews. Whether or not you agree with their politics, there is a moral equivalence between two groups of citizens who advocate on political issues using religious language.

If the writer thinks Christians will turn on Israel when Jews fail to convert after Jesus "returns," he can say "I told you so" after it happens. But like most Jews, I'm of the opinion that he won't get the chance.

How Will Other Nations React to This Film?

Concerning the defense of Steven Spielberg's "Munich" by the Anti-Defamation League's Abraham Foxman (Letters: "No Real Threat to Israel in Spielberg's Movie," Jan. 12), Foxman is being disingenuous.

Foxman feels that this film is not a defeat for Israel. Actually, I am not worried about this film's impact on Israel or the United States. Americans and Israelis are smart enough to evaluate this film for what it represents – Spielberg's and Kushner's left-wing bias.

What Foxman as a Jew should realize is the impact this film will have around the world where Jews are not secure. I can foresee this film fomenting Jew-hatred throughout Europe.

Jews should be cognizant of their fellow co-religionists.

Apparently, Foxman chooses to ignore them. 
Jerome Cantor 

What Did 'Munich' Say? Sorry, Couldn't Hear It!

I went with my friend to see the movie "Munich," but we did not get any messages from it. Quite the contrary, we did not enjoy it at all.

Why? We could not understand it, as the accents were so broad! Granted, I have a hearing problem, but my companion's hearing is excellent.

Everybody is arguing about the meaning of this film. That means the movie-makers reap more profits at the box office.

We were aware of the events that happened at the 1972 Olympics, and we shared the sorrow of our Jewish people while the world stood still.

That is the point that should have been made in the movie. 
Mike Cooper 

Why Did I Wait to Take My First Trip to Israel?

I recently returned from my first trip to Israel, at age 65. Why did I wait so long? I guess I was a little scared that something was always going on over there.

But four days before Chanukah, I went along with my husband and our adult daughter, and 83 other people, most of them on their first trip to Israel. It was fantastic!

From the moment we stepped off the plane and went to plant a tree in the Ben Shemen Forest, to praying at the Western Wall and celebrating three B'nai Mitzvot, to Masada and visiting our sister city of Netivot, and to having homemade chocolate babka and tea with our host family, we had a ball!

Our days were filled with new adventures, wonderful traveling companions, and sights and sounds I've never dreamed of.

I must thank the Kehillah of Lower Merion, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Rabbi David Straus and Cantor Lisa Portnoy of Main Line Reform Temple, Beth Elohim in Wynnewood, and Rabbi Steven Wernick of Adath Israel in Merion Station for making this trip to Israel one of the most memorable journeys of my lifetime. 
Sheila Bell 
Lower Merion 

A Resident Appreciates Volunteers and Auxiliary

The article regarding the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life interested me, as I have been a resident here for almost two years (Focus on Community: "Abramson Center Aims High to Help Aging Individuals," Dec. 22).

The Women's Auxiliary does so many thoughtful and generous things that I want to publicly thank them for their many gifts, as well as their sponsored shows.

Also, the volunteers who push our wheelchairs are likewise appreciated! 
Gerrie Geld 
North Wales



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