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Letters the Week of July 17, 2013
Sage Predated Hagee on Cause of Holocaust
While everyone was jumping all over Pastor John Hagee for his comments about the Holocaust (A Matter of Opinion: "Real Friends and Real Enemies," June 26), I wonder how many were aware of the book by Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teichtel that advanced a similar position.
A noted scholar in prewar Hungary, Teichtel originally believed, along with other religious Hungarian Jews in the pre-1940s, that Zionism was essentially sinful.
Indeed, as World War II progressed, Hungary's Jews witnessed what was happening to their Jewish brethren throughout Europe and thought it couldn't happen to them.
However, the rabbi considered Germany an instrument of God, pushing the Jews to Israel; and he advanced the position that had the Jewish leadership seen the handwriting on the wall and moved to Israel, the calamitous events plaguing them would not have occurred.
Teichtel rejected his previous philosophical stance, which stated that Jews should not move to Israel, and decided to repent for what he viewed as a terrible sin.
His attack upon the rabbis opposed Zionism, who left their followers to be killed in Europe, remains controversial. It was all the more so when made in the midst of the Holocaust itself. Teichtel, the head of the Slobodka yeshiva, was himself killed during the Holocaust.
In this context, we might query whether people were upset by Hagee's conclusion, or by the fact that it was articulated by a Protestant theologian who did not experience the Holocaust -- or both.
My guess is that those who bellowed so loudly never read Teichtel's book -- and never seriously addressed the substance of Hagee's comment.
Mainline Protestants Adopt Hateful Theology
The mainline Protestant churches that Jonathan Tobin identified in his column (A Matter of Opinion: "Real Friends and Real Enemies," June 26) are afflicted by a strain of theological anti-Semitism, and no amount of dialogue will eliminate it. This is a point many refuse to admit or accept.
These churches are solidly in the replacement theology school of thought that believes their church to be the true Israel of God, having displaced the Jews. The reason that they backed away from the divestiture debacle was purely pragmatic. It was caused by the departure from their pews of many who had not previously been aware of their leadership's anti-Israel commitment. Therefore, Jewish friends who are attempting to mend the breech will do so in vain.
Furthermore, these institutions harbor a deep-seated hostility toward biblically motivated Zionist evangelical Christians, who have so positively related to Israel and the Jewish people. That's another bone of contention with permanent status among the extreme liberal wings of the denominational parties.
The Friends of Israel
Defense of Civil Liberties Cheers British Observer
Regarding the article on the controversial statement by a member of the Pennsylvania legislature (Cover story: "House Gets Heated With 'Religious' Talk," July 3) and the accompanying editorial (Editorial: "Religion and the State," July 3), I wish to thank the Jewish Exponent for its fair-minded stand on the Ahmadiyya Muslims.
Although a British citizen, I keep a close eye on American issues, and find such stalwart rebuffs to religious interventionism in U.S. public affairs reassuring. It is proof that many American Jews are to be found defending your nation's civil liberties, when others might claim the contrary.
As an Ahmadi Muslim, may I say, thank you!
Weigh the Capital Loss Against the Cost of Terror
It was encouraging to read that the Pennsylvania House has passed the Protecting Pennsylvania Investments Act (People & Politics: "Divestment Bill Surmounts a Major Hurdle in Harrisburg," July 3).
The bill forbids state pension funds from investing in companies that do business with Iran and Sudan. I thank Rep. Josh Shapiro and Rep. Babette Josephs for their efforts in sponsoring this bill.
It is now up to the State Senate to pass it when they return to the issue this fall.
A contested issue in trying to get this bill through the legislature has been concern over loss of value of public pension funds if they are divested from companies whose investments are supporting these terror-sponsoring nations.
Data does not reveal that losses that necessarily occur from divestiture. One should balance the loss of support for terrorism against the possible loss of some capital gains, even if the latter does occur.
Plenty of Good Stories to Be Had Meeting Online
It was with great disappointment that I read Roy Gutterman's most recent musings (Single & Mingle: "When You Meet on the Internet, You Lose the Chance for a Great Story," June 26 ).
I hope that anyone who may have been considering using one of the many online dating sites will not be dissuaded. Just because two people first connect online does not preclude the chance for a "good story."
I met my husband on a Jewish dating site, and we do have many good yarns to spin about the advent of our relationship. What's even more important, though, is that we're still living our story: We've just started the "parenthood" chapter, and never once have we lamented our fate to have met online.
As for the odds of meeting online being akin to the odds of winning the lottery, then my family must be some of the luckiest folks on Earth. This September, we will celebrate the third family wedding of couples who met online.
Are we all just lucky? Or perhaps the online singles venues are not as worthless as Gutterman would have us believe. If he has any time over the summer, have him stop over with us for a visit. We'll tell him all our stories.