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Letters week of May 25, 2006
Iran’s Demagogue: A Modern-Day Hitler!
I am saddened when thinking about what must be going through the minds of survivors as they witness the rise of anti-Semitism throughout Europe once again (Editorial: “A Message of Life,” April 27).
Today, it’s the violent actions of the Muslims that have Europeans cowering and willing to appease their large Muslim populations, which always spells bad news for Israel and the Jews.
What must survivors think as they witness Jewish leaders rushing to protest the genocide of other nations, while at the same time remaining silent about the language of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a new Hitler in Iran?
A few weeks ago was Yom Hashoah, the commemoration of those lost in the Holocaust. It seems to me that the greatest tribute we can give to those Six Million is to raise our voices in Jewish unity to protest the greatest threat to Israel, the Jewish people, America and all of Western civilization since the rise of Hitler in Germany.
With these voices raised, we must pressure our congressional leaders, the president and the media to see that the virulent anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism incessantly emanating from the Arab world is just the first step in trying to bring down America, too.
Our synagogues and Federations should hang signs proclaiming calls to stop Ahmadinejad and save the world now!
Helene S. Wishnev
Thanks for Observing the Fraud in the ‘Code’
Thanks to the Jewish Exponent for publishing an article by author David Klinghoffer on the anti-Semitism of “The Da Vinci Code” (Opinion: “Conspiracy ‘Code’ Conjures Up Anti-Semitic Canards,” May 11).
Klinghoffer saw the red flags there, and did an excellent job exposing the fraud in Dan Brown’s novel.
Why Skip the Facts About an Official’s Crimes?
Your recent article on a local appearance by former Clinton-administration national-security chief Sandy Berger did a great disservice to your readers (City & Suburb: “Former U.S. Official Takes Temperature of U.S. Relations With China,” May 11).
You failed to mention his conviction for stealing secret documents (stuffed in his pants!), and the fact that Mr. Berger has a vested interest in Chinese relations because he has acted as a paid representative in this country of the People’s Republic of China.
The article you published skipped over these critical issues without a single mention.
Without the facts, your article is simply propaganda.
Charles R. Smith
White House Shoah Snub: Not Forgiven or Forgotten
Your obituary of Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg noted that, in addition to his years as a Jewish organizational leader, he was a civil-rights activist who took part in the 1963 march on Washington with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Obituaries: “Arthur Hertzberg, Rabbi, Thinker and Iconoclast, Dead at 84,” April 27).
Of equal significance is that a young Arthur Hertzberg took part in another extraordinary march in Washington some 20 years earlier —to urge President Franklin Roosevelt to rescue Jews from the Holocaust.
In October 1943, at age 22, he accompanied his father, Rabbi Zvi Elimelech Hertzberg of Baltimore, to the march organized by the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe (better known as the Bergson group).
He later wrote of this incident: “I saw their tears and heard their sobs. I cried among them and I could not stop — not that day and nor for many days to come.
“They were standing at the gate of the White House begging the president to see them and to do something for the Jews who were being slaughtered by the tens of thousands.
“The president himself never greeted them. We were soon told that several of his Jewish advisers had told FDR that these immigrant rabbis were not the official leaders of the Jewish community.
“All of us who had been there that day left feeling very bitter; America was our last great hope. If the president of the United States could not take the lead in this effort, or more precisely, if he chose not to be identified with the kind of activist effort that the rabbis were requesting, where could we now go?”
The experience haunted Hertzberg. In 1971, he was invited to a state dinner at the White House for the first time, and wrote: “Walking up the stairs toward the dining room, I found myself speaking in Yiddish to [presidential aide] Leonard Garment. I suddenly remembered the scene 30 years earlier, when [the rabbis] had not been admitted to the White House.
“In 1943, when it mattered, a Yiddish-speaking Jew was not acceptable in the White House.”
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
‘The Last Supper’: No Way Was It a Seder!
Hillel Halkin refers to the “last supper” as a seder (Opinions: “Discovery of New Gospel Rekindles Interfaith Jitters,” April 20).
This is an error in two ways.
The modern seder was invented to replace the service after the destruction of the Temple. The Passover was a seven-day pilgrimage holiday with both the first and seventh days as “sabbaths.”
The “last supper” was a Passover meal with sacrificed lamb, matzah and bitter herbs, washed down with wine.
According to the Christian Gospels, Jesus was crucified the next day, and taken down for burial before sundown, as the evening was the Sabbath.
Since this was Passover week, this particular Sabbath could well have been the seventh day of the holiday. If the last supper had been the first evening of Passover, the following day would still have been a Sabbath, which it wasn’t.
Accordingly, the Sabbath on the second day after the last supper could have been the seventh day of the Passover or Saturday — or both.