Magazine article Tikkun

Letters to the Editor

Magazine article Tikkun

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

War and Peace

To the Editor:

Thomas Moore's statement "A Nation in Need of Renewal" (September/October 2002) echoes the plaintive cry of those who deplore America's recourse to war following September 11. He calls for responses to violence that are deemed more humanistic and "mature." I find in this an absurd calculation that literally extends what is presumed to be ideal for individual human development to an identical model for the actions of a state. States are not individuals, their options and responsibilities are not directly comparable even though, to some degree, each will be reflected in the other. Our founding fathers, who we recall as uncommonly wise and mature men, staked their political hopes and personal lives on waging war, a decision for which we have good reason to be grateful.

This is not to argue that our country has necessarily responded wisely in all respects to the terrorist threat, but merely to say that the proposed mantra of "peace" seems to me highly simplistic for the role of a nation, much less a world-leading nation.

SID HURWITZ St. Louis, MO

To the Editor:

As a strong supporter of Israel's right to live in security and prosperity, a strong opponent of terrorism and other acts of senseless violence, and the father of two daughters living in Israel, along with their husbands and my seven grandchildren, I want to commend you for giving space to voices actively seeking a political solution in the Middle East. At a time when so many are trapped by the rhetoric of war and violence, it is important that moderate voices be heard so that others will not feel isolated, marginalized, and voiceless.

At a time of widespread Palestinian terror which has resulted in Israelis being very much afraid to live their normal lives, go to public places, attend family gatherings in public spaces, even to ride on buses, and the hatred that is being taught in Palestinian schools, I fully understand the feeling that peace is not possible at this time. I also recognize that previous Israeli efforts toward peace have been rebuffed. However, I believe that we have a choice today between, in the words in the title of a book by Buckminster Fuller, Utopia or Oblivion. As difficult as it will be, if the Israelis and Palestinians, with the support of international groups and the nations of the world, can find a way to live cooperatively in peace, using modern technology and the world's resources, there can be far better conditions for all the people in the Middle East and beyond. However, continuation of present animosities and policies threatens oblivion: endless violence, terrorism, war, economic recession, and environmental degradation for not only the Palestinians and Israelis who are already suffering in so many ways, but potentially all the world's people.

I believe, very respectfully, that it is time that we moved beyond finding reasons to demonize our opponents, and started using our wisdom and resources to seek creative ways to end the present horrors and impasse and seek a longlasting solution that will benefit all of humanity.

RICHARD SCHWARTZ Staten Island, NY

Nightingale Kaddish

To the Editor:

My family name is Soloveichik, and that may tell you something about lineage in the Orthodox world of Judaism. From that background I grew up believing in empathy, the importance of living in another's shoes, the ability for which comes from the principles of teshuvah, or turning. As Abraham Joshua Heschel put it, "There are three prerequisites for turning. Eyes that see, ears that listen, and an understanding heart." Increasingly, I have felt that Jews (and Israel) lost this spirit, till I found TIKKUN and its voice-a voice which restores my faith in the knowledge that there are maybe many more Jews than I realised who are as disturbed as I am by what Jews are perpetrating in Israel/Palestine. And I couldn't agree with TIKKUN more in so many ways. …

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