Ruin ahead?

Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the month of Av), which we commemorate this year on July 24, reminds us that over 2,000 years ago Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, which resulted in the destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem.

Now the entire world, not just Jerusalem, faces destruction according to many climate scientists and environmentalists — modern day “Jeremiahs.” Some noted climate experts, including James Hansen of NASA, are warning that global warming could reach a tipping point and spin out of control within a decade, with catastrophic consequences, unless major changes are soon made.

This Tisha B’Av we should heed the holiday’s basic lesson that failure to respond to proper admonitions can lead to catastrophe. The Jewish people must make tikkun olam (the repair and healing of the planet) a major focus in Jewish life today, and consider personal and societal changes that will start to move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a sustainable path. By doing this, we would be performing a great Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God’s name).

Richard H. Schwartz | Staten Island
president, Jewish Vegetarians of North America

Tenet defied?

I read Rachel Sarah’s July 13 column, and I think the interviewee should be honest and say, “Pay about $34 a month for our service and you might meet a Jewish single person.” True, he has to sell a product — JDate. But after many of my own failed attempts at JDate, I have found very few people try to follow what the interviewee suggests, “Be yourself.”

One would guess if they subscribed to JDate they might find somebody Jewish. Not everybody on JDate is Jewish (they have the vague “will tell you later” and “another ethnic” sections, which could mean a number of questions to contemplate). Also, in terms of distance, the reality is that one has to travel very far on these dates (up to even 160 miles, as they suggest).

Yes, JDate may be one way of meeting single people, but to me, it contradicts a main tenet of Judaism, which is a way of life based on trust and humility.

The best place to meet a date for somebody of your own Jewish preference is in the synagogue or any other Jewish organization.

Ben Pastcan | Sacramento

Good for everyone

Thanks for “Meat won’t be missed,” the July 13 cooking column by Louise Fiszer, and for j.’s vegetarian recipes over the years.

I agree with Louise that vegetarian cuisine can be easy, healthy and delicious, etc.

The lifestyle can also be inspiring, economical, environmentally friendly and, not to mention, kind to other animals.

Celia Menczel | Walnut Creek

Women’s plight

Janet Ghent’s recent j. column on the plight of those women who can no longer find narrow size shoes in local shoe and department stores certainly hit a note with me, and no doubt others in the same situation.

A simple solution: All in the same boat should cry out for help by sending e-mails to the many American shoe manufacturers — sooner or later they will get the message.

Barbara Rothenberg | Belmont

Misguided views?

Your recent report noting the appointment of Tony Blair as the Quartet’s Middle East envoy prompts concern over Blair’s statements, made to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in 2003, that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the primary reason for all the conflict in the region and the primary cause of Islamist terrorism around the world.

The Arab war on Israel has no connection to the war in Iraq, Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons, Syria’s efforts to continue to control Lebanon or al Qaida terrorism directed at both non-Muslim and Muslim nations alike.

All these conflicts would be ongoing even if Israel had never existed.

The only thing the Arab war on Israel shares with these conflicts is the extreme Islamist and pan-Arab ideologies that drive it.

Blair fails to see that Palestinian terrorism is the result of a desire to eradicate Israel, not the absence of a Palestinian state. The Palestinians have been offered statehood three times — in 1937, 1947 and 2000 — and on all three occasions refused because acceptance meant accepting the existence of a Jewish state.

We are worried that Blair’s misguided views will lead him to pressure Israel to make more one-sided concessions, further endangering Israel.

Morton A. Klein | New York
president, Zionist Organization of America