Letters to the Editor: Hagel, Prager, Woody Allen
The Good, the Bad, the Confusing
Oh, yes, Hagel was bad for Israel — now he’s OK (“Hagel, Obama, Bibi and Red Lines,” April 26). Kerry was good for Israel — now he’s bad. And of course “good for Israel” means not pushing Bibi to actually stop eight years of talking about a two-state solution and doing nothing, not even bringing it up for a vote within his own party. Which I guess makes around half of all Israelis “bad for Israel.”
Dennis Prager states Heinrich Heine was a secular Jew. But, in fact, he converted to Protestantism in 1825, when he was 27 years old. Heine’s critical article about German Christians was probably written in Paris, where he lived for 25 years before his death. As for a secular Jew who supports Prager’s thought of causes of the Holocaust, he will find it in “Moses and Monotheism,” the last book written by the greatest secular Jew of the 20th century, Sigmund Freud, who wrote: “Under the thin veneer of Christianity, they have remained what their ancestors were, barbarically polytheistic. The hatred for Judaism is, at the bottom, hatred for Christianity, and it is not surprising that in the German National Socialist revolution this close connection of the two monotheistic religions finds such clear expression in the hostile treatment of both.”
The Roots of Anti-Semitism
With due respect to Dennis Prager and his quote from Yehuda Bauer (Letters, April 19), Rosemary Ruether, in her book “Faith and Fratricide: The Theological Roots of Anti-Semitism” (1974), seems to argue in favor of Michael Berenbaum’s points about a Christian worldview that fostered Holocaust Nazism.
Dennis Prager responds: It is an honor to have two such knowledgeable readers. As I agree with Ken Lautman, I will confine my response to Rachel Malkin by reminding her what I wrote in my original article: “Nearly 2,000 years of European Christian anti-Semitism — including from Martin Luther — rendered the Jew an outcast and thereby laid much of the groundwork for the acceptance of Nazi demonization of the Jews.”
I don’t see how that differs from Rosemary Ruether or Michael Berenbaum. But that is not the same as calling for or actually exterminating the Jews. As I wrote: “But no mainstream Christian institution or theology called for the extermination of the Jews. It took the secular shattering of the Christian conscience to accomplish that.”
Teaching a Tough Lesson
The curriculum in use for this class, and this lesson specifically, is straight out of Facing History and Ourselves, a nonprofit dedicated to avoiding genocide (“Nazi Role-Playing at High School Causes Stir,” April 26). You might want to contact Facing History and Ourselves to comment on the reasons for having students, rather than the teacher, verbalize why Nazi promises were effective during the Depression in Germany.
Sorry, Jewish Journal, but this story soft-peddles the entire incident. It’s much worse than described in the article.
I commend this teacher’s creativity. Teaching these subjects is not easy but must be taught. Stop being so sensitive, everyone, and let teachers teach and students form their own opinions on what they learn. Or, keep your kid home and school them there.
I pay homage to Sophie Lellouche for writing this story [“Paris-Manhattan”] (“What Would Woody Allen Do,” April 26). We should have more Jewish writers explaining the real Jewish life stories to make people who hate us, understand that our God teaches us only peace and love for each other. Are we so different from the majority of people?
Ginette Z. Cohen
Worship Woody Allen? That’s the same Woody Allen who films on Yom Kippur right in time for Mussaf across the street from an Orthodox synagogue and my building.
Movers and Shakers Inspire
My wife and I found the Milken student’s creativity and the words of the Holocaust survivors to be a most inspiring experience (“Moving and Shaking,” April 26). With grateful thanks to Samara Hutman for her energetic input to the project.