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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Advocating for release of hostages

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Advocating for release of hostages

Although I have no family members in Israel who were killed by terrorists, I can fully understand Jason Kimelman’s article “Welcoming Gilad home with mixed emotions” (Perspectives, Oct. 27). My own feelings were torn as well. I remember when his sister Marnie was killed, as it was the first time an attack felt close to home, seeing both Marnie and I lived in Toronto. It was a horrible feeling knowing her family lived in the same city as I, almost as if we were family or close friends. I would, however, like to caution people in subtly pointing fingers at the Schalit family. Possibly, many fathers in Israel would do what Noam Schalit did – advocate for the release of his son – and if Jason had been in Gilad’s shoes, I am almost sure his family would have done everything possible to set him free. Yes, it is a very high price for Gilad’s freedom; however, I also caution the press to stop writing about this high price so much, for my innermost fears would be of Gilad falling into a deep depression or worse, as it is obvious being held hostage for over five years does not produce a great feeling of stability. Yes, we all had mixed feelings, but many of us would want our fathers to do exactly what Noam Schalit did, if we were being held hostage by a terror organization.

Vardit Feldman

Toronto

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Too much information

The article “Subdued celebration greets Schalit’s Release” (Oct. 27) contained some unnecessary and disturbing information. The writer’s reference to the release of terrorists convicted for the 1993 murder of Montrealer Joshua Friedberg was most insensitive! It served no purpose other than to reawaken feelings of despair, hurt and anger in his parents, siblings, family and friends. The media have been very precise in informing the public that more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners would be released. Was that not sufficient? Why cause so much pain once again to innocent people whose lives have already been permanently damaged and changed? What purpose does this serve? Sometimes too much information could be most destructive. In this case, the expression “leave well enough alone” would have been appropriate.

Barbara Goffman

Dollard des Ormeaux, Que.

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God and the Holocaust

 

I take no issue with Rabbi Ilan Acoca’s right to his beliefs, and when he publicizes them I assume he is prepared to substantiate his theories (“God watches over us,” Oct. 6). The rabbi states: “Our Father in heaven is here for us at every moment.” How does this impact on the misery, expulsions, degradation and hatred Jews have experienced throughout the centuries? Rabbi Acoca maintains that “God’s protection of us is beyond question,” but there is a question that has been posed many times since the Holocaust: what protection did God provide to a million innocent Jewish children gassed and slaughtered by the Nazis, only because they were Jews? The rabbi claims that “God is watching over us, has bequeathed to each a unique mission.” Does he mean to imply that God’s mission for the Nazis was to destroy the Jews? Was that their “unique mission” ? The rabbi has a view of God as a “refuge of love, hope and protection in good times and in bad.” I will accept “love and hope,” but protection? How? I know such questions are not original, but they do persist and perhaps the rabbi would explain.

Morley S. Wolfe

Brampton, Ont.

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Seeking babies born in DP camp

Were you one of 929 babies born in the Hofgeismar Displaced Persons camp in Germany in the years 1946 to 1949? If so, I’m hoping you will come to a reunion to be held May 12 to 15, 2012, taking place in Hofgeismar. If you want more information, please contact museum@museum-hofgeismar.de or go to the museum website, www.museum-hofgeismar.de. You may also contact Julia Drinnenberg at judri@gmx.de. We would love to hear from you.

Hynda Halpren

Dundas, Ont.

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