Remembering Cantor Gershon Levin
Former Shaare Tefila Cantor Gershon Levin died on May 26. For 39 years before his retirement in 2005, Cantor Levin provided extremely inspiring and melodious holiday- and Sabbath-service prayers, and superbly trained 1,500 children for their b’nai mitzvah. No greater tribute can be offered to a person’s memory than have the rabbi in tears saying his eulogy as Rabbi Jonah Layman did as he conducted Cantor Levin’s funeral service at Shaare Tefila this week.
Your May 8 edition reported the fascinating conversation between David Harris-Gershon and the family of the Palestinian terrorist who planted a bomb that severely wounded, and almost killed, Harris-Gerson’s wife (“David Harris-Gershon, outside the tent”).
The terrorist’s family members told Harris-Gershon “they just want everything to end – the checkpoints, the hate.”
But according to your article, the terrorist’s family lives in Silwan, an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem next to the Western Wall area. Thus, their son the terrorist did not have to pass through any Israeli Army checkpoints to plant his bomb at the Hebrew University cafeteria. If he had, the soldiers undoubtedly would have discovered the bomb and Mrs. Harris-Gershon could have been spared the incredible pain she has suffered (not to mention those who were killed in the bombing, and the others who were maimed).
The checkpoints that the Israeli army maintains in various parts of Judea-Samaria (the West Bank) are not an act of oppression or persecution. They serve exactly the same legitimate purpose as the checkpoints in every American airport: to deter and identify terrorists. If Israel ever succumbs to Palestinian and international pressure to
remove the checkpoints, there will be one tragic result: many more victims such as Mrs. Harris-Gershon.
So yes, we can all agree with the Palestinian terrorist’s family that it would be wonderful if there would be no more “checkpoints” or “hate.” On the day that the Palestinians stop hating and murdering Israelis for good, Israel will be able to take down its checkpoints. And on the day that there are no more anti-American terrorists anywhere in the world, the U.S. government will be able to take down all of its airport checkpoints. Until then, checking is better than dying.
MOSHE PHILLIPS, president, BENJAMIN KORN, chairman
Religious Zionists of America-Philadelphia chapter
While the 22-17 vote against the admission of J Street to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations may have appeared to be close, a two-thirds majority was required. Essentially the vote was overwhelmingly against J Street (“Referendum on the Presidents’ Conference,” Editorial, WJW, May 8).
Based in the prior record of J Street, I was surprised that the membership of the conference even considered a membership for J Street. J Street from its very inception has attempted to undermine the Jewish state by supporting Palestinian Arabs.
It has argued for nonintervention in Gaza, even after Hamas had fired 10,000 rockets into Israel.
Certainly its opposition to the elected government of Israel and its pro-Arab position disqualified J Street from being a part of the pro-Israel Presidents’ Conference, an umbrella group that for maximum effectiveness should show a united front.
Support means support
I do not know the charter of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, but I would hope it is to support Judaism and the state of Israel (“What is the Presidents’ Conference?” WJW, May 8). If it is not to support Judaism, then it should invite “Jews for Jesus” to join. If it is not to support the state of Israel, then it should have accepted J Street.
The claimed 180,000 members of J Street who believe that Israel’s policies are always wrong are entitled to their opinions, but they cannot also claim to support Israel. Support means support. Support doesn’t mean I support you only so long as you do as I say.
I have never read a single article, op-ed or letter from J Street or its junior varsity J Street U, which didn’t criticize Israel or Netanyahu or that didn’t side with Abbas and the Palestinians. J Street wants Israel to follow its policies and its ideas of what is best for Israel, when it should be the reverse.
When I don’t agree with Israeli policy, I scratch my head and sit silently as only the Israelis and their elected government decide policy.
When I don’t agree with American policy, I vote against the elected government to change that policy. Foreigners have no say in American policy and have no right to claim they support the U.S. and always criticize it.
J Street can enlist radical leftists and naive college students to bolster its numbers, but fundamentally J Street represents the views of Ben Ami and his unelected cohorts, who fashion themselves as the real Israel. J Street was rightly rejected.