Sadness and dialogue
There’s a certain sadness in reading the article about David Harris-Gershon and the controversy surrounding his memoir, What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife (“David Harris-Gershon, outside the tent,” WJW, May 8). First, there’s a sadness in trying to comprehend the horror of what Harris-Gershon’s family went through when his wife was injured in a Jerusalem terrorist bombing in 2002. It doesn’t take much empathy to share in the sense of trauma that he experienced. I am very glad that the visit to the family [of the bomber] was immediately cathartic for Harris-Gershon in relieving the symptoms of his PTSD.
But where I struggle is with the connection of Harris-Gershon’s visit to the family and his healing to his determination of what is the right national policy for Israel in regard to the Palestinians and, again, sadly, that the primary fault for the conflict seems to lie with the Israelis.
There seems to be an odd logic that because Harris-Gershon had his emotional experience and forgave the bomber and his family, therefore all Palestinians need not only to be forgiven but also, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their terrorist acts, are somehow the victims. Sadly, and odd or not, such extrapolations cannot be the basis for national policy. Prime Minister
Netanyahu might also visit a bereaved Israeli or (if allowed) Palestinian family and also come away with compassion and sorrow for their suffering. But his duty is to make an extrapolation that places this sorrow within a context shared with considerations of the safety of all Israelis and their yearning for a peace that is judicious and secure with Palestinians who serve as mutual partners for peace.
Sadly, I look at the current conflict and cannot draw the same expectations as Harris-Gershon’s of such a partnership. Until I see such signs, I will remain sad that the conflict seems to continue endlessly, but I am hopeful that I might be able to have a respectful dialogue with David Harris-Gershon on our perspectives.
Don’t forget Etz Hayim
I was very disappointed when I read the article about NOVA synagogues (“A guided tour of Jewish Northern Virginia,” WJW, May 15), because you left out Congregation Etz Hayim, Arlington’s Conservative shul. We have a fabulous rabbi, a vibrant religious school, a great preschool, a newly remodeled building and a friendly congregation. Looking forward to an informative article that corrects this omission.
Only half a tour
Regarding “A guided tour of Jewish Northern Virginia” (WJW, May 15), Fairfax is not the only part of Virginia in Northern Virginia. Please extend your tour to Arlington, Loudoun, Fauquier and Prince William counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church and Manassas. Northern Virginia is a fast-growing Jewish community where in the past very few Jews chose to live or congregate.
Also interesting would be a comparison of Northern Virginia’s Jewish community to that of the other distinctive Jewish communities of Virginia and how the Jewish community has grown in market and political strength, as well as its variance in social, political and Jewish interest thought. Remember, Eric Cantor – one of the most influential Republican conservatives and Jewish – is from the northern suburbs of Richmond.
Ridden with rage
The statement by Marc Caroff on behalf of ZOA, trashing J Street and J Street U (“Attacking the messenger,” Letters, WJW, May 15) is distorted and rage-ridden and, with respect, entirely ignorant. He wrote “[i]n reality, J Street’s campus arm, J Street U, corrupts gullible, uniformed college students with lies, half-truths, and anti-Zionist propaganda.”
Let me offer the profile of a kid very active in J Street U, my son, Asher, who is a junior at Dartmouth College.
Asher attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School for 13 years; was active in USY; is fluent in Hebrew; davens (prays) perfectly; leyns (chants) Torah fluidly; was vice president of religion for his campus Hillel and then was twice elected president of Hillel; keeps kosher (vegetarian); has been to Israel half-a-dozen times; and has family with whom he is close in Israel. He and I plan to go to Israel (again) this summer.
While one does not want to kvell (brag) unduly about the nachas (happiness) one’s children provide, my son is exactly the kind of committed Jew and Zionist on which the future of any non-Orthodox American Jewish community – and strong state of Israel as the Jewish homeland – depends.