Capture of Saddam called ‘great present for Chanukah’

I’m so glad that such a horrible dictator of Iraq as Saddam Hussein was captured.

Iraqi people used to live by the horrible regime of Saddam, who was Hitler number two.

He was horrible for Israel; he was horrible for the United States and for all humanities. Thank God that we caught him.

Right now, he is supposed to give us information about all other terrorists that he supported, including Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat, Islamic Jihad, etc.

Look at Arafat, my friends; he is worried about Saddam, who was his best friend because he supported terrorism.

It took our troops in Iraq a long time to find Saddam, and finally it happened. We made the Iraqis a free people.

Let’s thank G. W. Bush and our troops in Iraq. It is a great present for Chanukah.

The next step should be bin Laden and al-Qaida, Islamic Jihad and al-Aksa, together with Arafat.

Israel will survive now for sure. The regime of the ex-dictator of Iraq will never come back again.

Paul Shkuratov | San Francisco

‘Inner strength’

At this time of year when we commemorate miracles, it is nothing short of a modern-day wonder that the two Palestinian Islamic Jihad suicide bombers sent to attack ORT Alon Junior High School in Yokneam were intercepted en route.

Yet one must also marvel at the inner strength of ORT Yokneam’s 950 students and teachers. The day following the incident, attendance was high because, as the school’s principal Rivka Tzafir noted, “Students and teachers felt that, despite their fears, there was nowhere else they would rather be right now than at school.”

Since the onset of the intifada, ORT Israel has lost 47 of its students and graduates to terrorism. ORT has established a trauma-counseling program encompassing all of its educational establishments and continues to provide security installations to protect its students and staff.

As members of the board of directors of Women’s American ORT, our hearts break that the money we raise must fund security in addition to labs and equipment and educational programs. Yet we embrace ORT Israel’s commitment to the ongoing security of students and teachers making coming to school a little easier and creating a safe environment where learning flourishes.

Randi Brenowitz | Palo Alto
Lee Maier | Alamo

Not his friend

It should not be reason enough for 72-year-old Hilda Fleisher to be on presidential contender Howard Dean’s side (Dec. 12 j.) because he slept in her house, cleaned the bathroom and made the bed before he left in the morning. I would have done the same.

I am against any person that calls the people of the terrorist gang Hamas soldiers, and this for any reason: How much more so must I be against a man who wants to become the president of the United States and finds it correct to call Hamas’ murderers soldiers. An absolute insult to the soldiers of Israel.

The difference between the Nazis and Hamas is that the Nazis murdered Jewish women and children wherever they found them. Hamas is more selective. They murder Jewish women, children and old people only in pizza bakeries, at bar mitzvah gatherings, on busses and on city streets.

Dean could not be my friend and certainly cannot be a friend of Israel, notwithstanding his being married to a Jewish woman and raising their children in the Jewish faith.

Gershon Evan | San Francisco

‘Utter nihilism’

How sick is it when the sole issue that focused recent university student elections on the West Bank was how many Israelis Hamas and Fatah student activists had managed to kill?

Should we expect any different? This generation of Palestinian youth has been fed a steady diet of provocation, demonization and anti-Semitic ranting against Jews and Israelis reminiscent of Der Sturmer in Nazi Germany.

The Palestinian Authority through its newspapers, textbooks, television programs and other media outlets portrays Jews with the worst anti-Semitic stereotypes, foists the chimera of alleged world Jewish domination in a cynical attempt to score bonus points with youth that have been robbed of their childhood by three years of unrelenting violence directed at Israeli civilians.

I am outraged when I read of such utter nihilism and I wonder how long it will take to rid this poison from Palestinian society.

As long as the glorification of shahid bombers characterizes Palestinian society, I fear nothing will change. What an utter waste of the potential of youth.

The Palestinian Authority should be ashamed of such cynical manipulations. Sadly they reap what they sow as all hope of peaceful coexistence with Israel fades like a mirage on the horizon.

Steve Lipman | Foster City

AIPAC and justice

I have two comments regarding your report of last week’s AIPAC events:

• AIPAC’s mission is not to support the Sharon government. It supports the people of Israel and their right to exist as a Jewish state along with their democratically elected government, whether it be Likud, Labor or any other party.

• As for the Jewish Voice for Peace and their sign reading “Security for Israel Requires Justice for Palestinians,” let us remember that “justice” also means punishing those who create or aid terrorism.

Ron Berman | Kentfield

‘Important work’

I was very disappointed in Alexandra Wall’s Dec. 12 coverage of last week’s AIPAC events. What troubles me is what was not said rather than the pittance reporting on four major events in San Francisco, the East Bay, Sacramento and the Peninsula.

People reading your article did not realize that a record number of people attended these lunches and dinners, where there were representatives of lawmakers from all branches of government, federal, state and local. No one reading your article learned of the important work of AIPAC, and its development as a national organization, and that the first regional office was here, in San Francisco.

We read on the front page of the Sunday Chronicle of the rise of anti-Semitism across Europe but fail to read in our own Jewish community paper the important work and success of AIPAC, which helps strengthen Jewish life everywhere.

We have witnessed Jewish and non-Jewish protestors at Jewish meetings and rallies for over 40 years. But for the thousands of readers of j., wouldn’t they be better informed by learning of the accomplishments of AIPAC rather than seeing a third of your page devoted to a handful of protesters?

Irving Rabin | Tiburon

Likes new format

Just a note to tell how much I am enjoying your new format … much easier to read and the articles are on a different level … catering to a younger audience. Kol kavod.

Carolyn Starman Hessell | Great Neck, N.Y.

Gays and fringes

Should Judaism endorse same-sex marriage? Even in ancient times there wasn’t one official Judaism. There were Sadducees, Essenes, Pharisees and others. And in our own time, some of the branches on the Jewish tree of life already celebrate marriages for same-sex couples.

The Torah is a living document. For example, Numbers 15:37, included in the Sh’ma, commands us to wear fringes on the corners of our garments, “throughout the ages,” with a blue cord attached to each corner. But who has fringes on their garments? Even prayer shawls, worn under or over garments, lack blue threads.

The rabbis of old said the blue dye was too rare and expensive. But I don’t know anyone who thinks they’re violating the Torah.

One day we will read the prohibitions on same-sex relations in Leviticus with the same facility to reinterpret them as we have done with that verse about fringes. Then all of us who love others, of whatever gender, will be honored by law and able to be blessed in holy marriage, in the presence of God, our families and friends, and the people of Israel.

Andrew Ramer | San Francisco