Letters the Week of November 27, 2013


Language issues are on the minds of two letter writers — one is worried about Yiddish, the other about phrases that seem to legitimize Palestinian goals in the Middle East.

Misrepresenting the Mamaloshen?

This is a response to “A Bissel of Yiddish” by Jennifer Raphael, which ran Oct. 31 as an excerpt from the Exponent’s online blog, “Mother Words.”

How unfortunate that the Yiddish vocabulary passed on to Raphael by her grandmother are such unpleasant expressions for them to remember (farbisseneh, vildachayes, chazzerei — and the most offensive and disgusting — gay kaken oifin yam, which translates loosely as go take a *+%& in the ocean). It could have included such joys of Yiddish (shaneh punim, gay schluffin, zaiy gazint!)

I fail to comprehend the wisdom or benefit of including such
a distasteful expression as gay kaken oifin yam, which is by no means representative of the mamaloshen, and surely has no place in the esteemed Jewish Exponent.

Penina Gould | Philadelphia

Why Does Paper Insist on Using That Term?

It is bad enough, when reading mainstream media articles written by Jewish authors, to see the terms “West Bank” and “occupied territories.”

So why did the Exponent recently publish an article, utilizing “West Bank” twice, instead of Judea and/or Samaria, when referring to Mayor Michael Nutter’s recent trip to Israel (“Mayor Returns From Israel — Completing an Economic Mission and a Promise to His Grandmother,” Nov. 14)?

Using  such terms gives a level of credibility to that term, bolstering the Palestinian and Arab lies that lay claim to the land.

Glenn S. Berman | Southampton

Torah Portion Should Be Written Without Bias

The Torah portion feature of the Exponent should be uplifting, inclusive and overflowing with love for Jewish people of all levels of observance. It should not be partisan and political as, alas, was Rabbi Shmuel Jablon’s entry of Nov. 7, “Eretz Yisrael: Unique Gift From Hashem.”

His piece interpreted Gen. 28:14 as a “reminder that all of Eretz Israel belongs … ” What is meant here by “all” ? Apparently, it means the “Greater Israel” vision of hegemonic control extending from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Secondly, Rabbi Jablon invokes the Talmudic remark that “One who lives outside of Israel, it is like he has no God.”

The Rav — Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the leading Orthodox Jewish thinker of the 20th century — lived his entire life outside  the Land of Israel and is buried in America. Ditto, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. According to Jablon’s emphasis, these two spiritual luminaries, for all intents and purposes, were atheists!

Rachmiel Gottlieb | Pikesville, Md.