Letters | Sept. 26, 2018


Are the Palestinians really partners?
In the Rami Levy supermarket at the Gush Etzion junction, a few steps from where Ari Fuld was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist who was walking around freely, Arab shoppers were filling their shopping carts, confident they would not be randomly murdered (“Ari Fuld, U.S. expat slain in West Bank, remembered as combative, caring,” Sept. 20). After all, they were in a Jewish/Israeli community safe for all.

What would likely be the fate of a Jewish person entering an Arab community, wherein reside our “partners for peace”?
Davis, Calif.

The real inspiration for Dickens’ Fagin
As an Australian, I read Clifford Fishman’s D’var Torah with great interest (“Charles Dickens’ incomplete repentance,” Sept. 13). I am writing to set the record straight. The inspiration for the infamous Fagin was not Dickens’ supposed anti-Semitism. Instead, it was a real life criminal by the name of Isaac “Ikey” Solomon.

Born in London, Solomon pursued a long and varied career as a fence. He gained notoriety by his escapes from custody. Fleeing the authorities, Ikey lived in Denmark, the United States and Brazil. By the 1820s several highly exaggerated accounts of his criminal activity had already been published.


In 1828 his wife Ann was arrested and sentenced to transportation. She and her minor children arrived in Tasmania in 1828, where she was soon joined by her two adult sons, John and Moses, who chose to join her.

As for Solomon, he was living in Brazil. Finding out about his wife, he sailed for Hobart under the assumed name of Slowman. Shortly after landing it was brought to the attention of the governor that he was living in Hobart. When an arrest warrant finally arrived in Tasmania, settling questions about its validity took months before Solomon was on his way to London for trial.

In 1831, Solomon was publicly tried and sentenced to transportation. The trial was a sensation and Dickens seems to have attended. A few years later Dickens would create the character Fagin. As for Solomon, he and his wife were soon estranged. He passed away this very month just 168 years ago.

Silver Spring

Instead of ‘derech eretz,’ how about ‘ad kan’?
Would Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb invite a racist to speak on race relations (“Big tent, free speech and ‘derech eretz,’” Aug. 30)? Would he invite Harvey Weinstein to speak on American cinema?

Dr. Hasia Diner is rabidly anti-Israel. She regards Jewish immigration as racist. She feels a “sense of repulsion” when reading synagogue signs proclaiming “We stand with Israel.”

There is a point when “big tent” means no tent. Diner is free to say what she wants, but no one is under any obligation to provide her a platform on any subject, however expert she might be. Dodd writes of “derech eretz,” but what of “ad kan” (up to this point and no further)?
Silver Spring

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