Letters to the Editor

Remembering 'Mr. Sukkah Builder'

In response to "Anglos go sukkah-hopping in Israel" (Judy Maltz, September 28 ).

The article was fascinating to read. A few details may be of interest on sukkah-hopping in the United States and how it has evolved.

The late Mr. Charles Schnitzer of Wilmington, Delaware was known as "Mr. Sukkah Builder" from the 1950s until his death a decade ago. Schnitzer was an architectural engineer and a very committed Jew and Zionist. Two of his sons made aliyah over 30 years ago. This Delaware personality let it be known over 60 years ago that he would help anyone who wanted to build a sukkah. My family were beneficiaries of his kindness. Actually I knew personally over 100 families whom he had assisted, and this was before any ready-made sukkah kits existed.

Annually, in the seven years we lived in Wilmington (1970-1977 ), there was a sukkah bus which left the Jewish community center and took a number of families to view our "Jewish booths," which had been constructed.

Dr. David Geffen


Shameful law that needs changing

In response to "30-year-old Canadian-Israeli woman jailed by IDF for 'draft-evasion'" (Gili Cohen, September 28 ).

This appears to be a complete miscarriage of justice. A minor leaves the country many years ago. The minor has no say whatsoever in the decision to leave the country and is certainly not expected to know the laws and regulations of the country, something that only adult parents can know and be responsible to comply with.

This certainly is not "Jewish justice" and should definitely bring our authorities to change such a discriminatory law. If this law remains unchanged, there is a moral duty of all the organizations which bring young Jews from the Diaspora to Israel to warn anyone born in Israel to carefully check their status before visiting so as to avoid becoming victims in the same way as Yana Gorelik. The "justice" meted out to her is certainly nothing to be proud of and I am amazed that questions are not being asked and pressure not being brought to correct a completely unjust law.

David Goshen

Kiryat Ono

Jewish immigrants, Jewish refugees

In response to "How many homelands do we get?" (Gideon Levy, September 20 ).

Gideon Levy attacks the Israeli government's new demand to place the question of Jewish refugees from Arab countries on the negotiating table with the Palestinians. He says it is impossible to have your cake and eat it too; either people are immigrants or they are refugees.

Levy's stance is dichotomous: either this or that. Unfortunately, this type of thinking characterizes much of the discourse here, while life teaches us the importance of complexity and nuance again and again.

This is also true in the case at hand. Yes, the Jews who arrived in Israel from Arab countries were refugees; most of them suffered from violence and were forced to leave their property behind. At the same time, these Jews were also Zionists in their homelands whose longing for the Land of Israel had always accompanied them.

It isn't "either or," but "both."

Claude Sitbon