Letters, Aug. 5, 2015


Article brought back memories of Palermo during WWII

Your travel article, “Rediscovering Jewish Palermo,” (WJW, July 9) was a revelation to me. I was in Palermo during World War II and had no idea of its rich Jewish history.

I had to smile when I read about the many invasions of Sicily, and the sentence, “The last wave of invaders came after the unification of Italy in 1861.” I would like to update this.

On July 10, 1943, the U.S. 7th Army under Gen. George Patton and the British 8th Army under Gen. Bernard Montgomery invaded Sicily. I landed on D-Day at Scoglitti with the 45th (Thunderbird) Division. Many years later, I learned that Bill Mauldin—whose cartoons of Infantry soldiers Willie and Joe became famous—was on the same attack transport that my unit was on. Several years ago, he was honored with a postage stamp showing him, Willie and Joe. Your article brought back some of the most memorable days of my life. This was the first invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe and the beginning of the end for Hitler. I was proud to be part of it.
Silver Spring
Are we supposed to feel pity for Freundel?


I read with disbelief your article in the July 16 issue of the Washington Jewish Week (“Remorseful Freundel in solitary confinement”). It is regrettable that you to try to raise support and pity for Rabbi Freundel.

He has been legally condemned for crimes against innocent Jewish women who were trying to purify themselves, following the precepts of Jewish law. He took advantage of his position of power and their confidence to violate their privacy in a most despicable way.

And we are supposed to feel pity for this man because, suddenly, he is remorseful? It seems he was not remorseful enough to stop and ask for forgiveness before he was caught and sentenced. It seems that he broke several Jewish laws, all the worse for being a rabbi that is expected to uphold those laws.

Nowhere in your article did you show any mercy or any consideration for the victims. Poor rabbi deserves special attention because he is a rabbi? On the contrary, he should accept all the weight of the law as was explained to him at his guilty plea. First he begged for a reduced sentence; now he is pleading for a laughable sentence.

His victims have to endure the shame that he inflicted upon them forever. Let him think about his crime and find forgiveness in God.
Some congregants want page numbers announced

This letter was inspired by an article in the July 23 edition of Washington Jewish Week (“Type-B Tikvat Israel gets its new rabbi”), in which a lay leader stated, “We don’t want a rabbi whose feelings will be hurt if we don’t want him to tell us what page we’re on.  We know which page we’re on.”

Well, you might know. But it is extremely likely that someone in your congregation doesn’t know.  And they might be really confused or get bored.  Or they might bug another congregation member by peering over their shoulder to find their place.  So, I would ask your rabbi to state page numbers so that they can follow, understand and gain better spiritual benefits of your services.

Some people who go to Jewish services did not learn Hebrew as a child.  Some of us learn it as adults, some of us have a hard time with it, and some people just need to work harder than others.  So, I wanted to thank Agudas Achim in Alexandria for always having the page numbers in writing in front of the synagogue and having someone turn the page as the Friday night service continues. I wanted to thank the many synagogues whose rabbis announce page numbers at various points in the service.   And I wanted to request that rabbis and lay leaders who read this letter consider inclusion of people who are not good at biblical Hebrew.
Article brought Tahiti to life

Your article featuring Ben G. Frank’s travels in Tahiti and French Polynesia brought to life the sights, sounds and tastes of these magical islands (“An exotic locale, with a synagogue of love and friendship,” WJW, July 30). It was fascinating to learn there’s an active Jewish community there with a synagogue, and its name, which means love and friendship would win any synagogue name contest hands down.  The attention to detail and colorful reporting whet my appetite to book the next flight to the region.
I look forward to future articles describing exotic regions and remote countries, always with a nod to the Jewish angle.
Silver Spring

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