Letters to the Editor: Credentials and Context
I write to question Hadassah Magazine’s decision to profile Letty Cottin Pogrebin in the August/September issue. She is an accomplished writer in feminism and personal relationships, and my children grew up on her brilliant record Free To Be You and Me.
However, she has no credentials in the Arab-Israeli conflict. She “considers herself a loving but firm critic of Israel’s current policies.” In her writings in Moment Magazine and The Forward, her sole point is that we should have sympathy for the Palestinians. She gives no historical context or current context to allow a reader a balanced view.
I offer this glimpse of daily life in my north Jerusalem neighborhood of French Hill. It is adjacent to the Arab area of Isawiya. Hadassah Hospital–Mount Scopus is located between French Hill and Isawiya. The Arabic slang name for the hospital is “Hadassah Isawiya” because more than 70 percent of the patients are from the surrounding Arab neighborhoods. Isawiyans walk freely in French Hill and use our post office, bank, supermarkets and cafés. By contrast, no Jews enter Isawiya. The police enter only with the protection of the Army. Recently, a Jewish repairman entered Isawiya by mistake; he was saved by the local mukhtar, who defended him from the crowd stoning his car.
I invite Pogrebin to visit French Hill and gain some perspective. Despite the uneasy relations between Jewish and Arab Jerusalemites, she would see the prosperous Arab shops in East Jerusalem and the expert medical care they receive at Hadassah.
More from Salt Lake
Esther Hecht’s August/September Jewish Traveler article on Salt Lake City contains an error and neglects to mention three items that may be of interest to Jewish travelers to Utah’s capital city. She does discuss the business founded by my grandfather, Nathan Rosenblatt, the Eimco Corporation. But she writes that the Eimco Rocker Shovel Loaders were developed and manufactured by a company founded by Arthur Frank.
Frank established a clothing store on Main Street, which bore his name. He had nothing to do with Eimco, which was exclusively the enterprise of my grandfather, my father and his two brothers.
The president of the University of Utah resides in Rosenblatt House, which travelers can drive by, and the most coveted prize at the University of Utah’s annual graduation ceremony is the Rosenblatt Prize.
And it could have been mentioned that the leading force behind the founding of the medical school at the University of Utah was the Jewish Dr. Maxwell Wintrobe, who is still recognized as a pioneer in the field of hematology.
San Francisco, CA
Correcting the Route
Norma Rosen, in her August/September commentary “Jews and God,” makes much of Lucretius’s classic Roman poem “On the Nature of Things” (which she incorrectly called “The Way Things Are”) in describing her route to religion. She ascribes to “Lucretius, the Roman soldier-emperor,” her own recognition of an emphasis on living in this world, of living without fear of death or an afterlife.
Lucretius was neither emperor nor (probably) a soldier. As emphasized in Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve, also a mainstay of Rosen’s journey, Lucretius, in his lifetime, was a relatively obscure poet—not necessarily a member of an aristocratic family. He was certainly not the one to give comfort to the soldier facing death for God and country.
Still, Rosen’s device of linking the classic Latin (and Greek) philosophical poetry and the modern Higgs boson (the so-called “God particle”) was a very interesting part of an interesting issue.
Alvin M. Saperstein