Letters on Bernstein, Zionism and Settlements
70 Years Young
Hadassah Magazine Chair Marlene Post asked readers, in her May/June 2018 Hadassah News column, to contact us if they shared a birthday with Israel. Well, we heard from dozens of you turning 70 this year—but only from one who shares an actual birthday with Israel. Katharina Liston, who today lives in Mendota Heights, Minn., was born on May 14, 1948, in Budapest. Happy belated birthday, and mazel tov to all our readers turning 70 this year!
More on the Maestro
The informative article about Leonard Bernstein (“A Shofar Sounds in the Maestro’s Work,” May/June 2018) and his accomplishments and connection to Judaism is well presented; however, his infractions to his faith should be noted: his intermarriage and burial in a non-Jewish cemetery. Is that what Bernstein exhibit curator Ivy Weingram refers to when she says that “he walked a very fine line between presenting himself as the quintessential American and being true to his Jewish heritage?” There is no doubt that he was a “musical genius,” as the article states.
Zionism and Women
What a glorious day! Hadassah Magazine’s May/June 2018 issue arrived and on the cover is a tribute to women building Israel.
Immediately, I was brought back to the days when I was 9—I’m now 74—and felt such pride that Israel was mine. Women were allowed to defend the country and build the country, working side-by-side with men toward one grand goal: a country of our own.
Thank you for the memory of that burst of pride I felt at that young age, which has never left me.
In “Female and Zionist, Then and Now” by Gil Troy in the May/June 2018 issue, Golda Meir is quoted as describing Zionism as “acceptable nationalism,” not “national aggressiveness.” If she were alive today, I believe she would strongly disagree with the massive Jewish settlements in the West Bank, where Jews are and will continue to be a minority among an Arab majority. Meir’s Zionism was a Jewish majority for a Jewish democracy; the settlement enterprise is difficult to describe as fitting in with that fundamental and historic vision of Zionism.
West Bloomfield, Mich.
Settlements Promote Economic Coexistence
Michael Bassin’s commentary (“Changing Arab Minds in the Middle East,” May/June 2018) ends with a call for Israel to “encourage cultural and commercial ties between Israeli and Palestinian civilians.” Even more importantly, Palestinian leaders should be doing the same. Unfortunately, they are doing the opposite—inciting their people to violence, rewarding them for killing Israelis and warning against any attempt to normalize relations with the enemy.
Ironically, the best venues where Israelis and Palestinians can get acquainted are located in settlements. Though frequently described as obstacles to the establishment of a Palestinian state, Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria cover an estimated 2 percent of the disputed land. Businesses in those communities provide much-needed employment for Palestinians, with pay levels identical to those of Israeli employees, and serve Palestinian and Israeli customers. Opposing BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, is an important step in realizing Bassin’s vision of peace.
Toby F. Block
Where Are the Jews of Color?
The cover of Hadassah Magazine’s March/April 2018 issue depicts a Caucasian family engaged in the Passover seder. Just one problem.
It does not reflect the reality that 11 percent of the Jews of North America are persons of color.
Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff