Humanity at stake

Rosh Hashanah reminds us of God’s creation of the world. Hence, it is an excellent time to consider the planet’s environment and steps toward shifting the world to a sustainable path.

When God created the world, He was able to say, “It is very good.” Everything was in harmony as God had planned, the waters were clean and the air was pure. But what must God think about the world today, when, for example, the rain He provided to nourish our crops is often acid rain, species of plants and animals are rapidly becoming extinct, and the climatic conditions that He designed to meet our needs are threatened by global warming?

Jews are mandated to be shomrei adamah (guardians of the earth). Hence, it is essential that Jews take an active role in applying our eternal, sacred values in struggles to move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

So, at the start of a new year, we should seek to reduce our environmental impact by, for example, using recycled paper, eating less meat, driving our cars less and using more fuel efficient light bulbs and other items.

The fate of humanity and of God’s creation is at stake.

Richard H. Schwartz

Staten Island

An affront?

When the Taliban blew up the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, Israel publicly deplored the action. Now the Israeli government is openly encouraging Arabs to destroy archaeological relics of the Second Temple.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has allowed the Waqf (Arab Religious Authority that controls the site) to bulldoze a trench one quarter of a mile long and five feet deep through the heart of the Temple Mount. The fast-paced bulldozing has destroyed an immense portion of the archaeological record of one of the world’s most historically and religiously significant sites.

The destruction that Olmert has abetted is absolute insanity. It is an affront to archaeologists and historians everywhere.

In civilized nations such as America, one can’t bulldoze an aboriginal site or a site with archaeological significance. Isn’t it enough that Olmert lost the Second Lebanon War? Now, he’s actively engaged in acts to destroy a World Heritage Site. And the media are silent.

Seth Watkins | Menlo Park

Falsified evidence

Contrary to his Aug. 31 letter, had writer Steven J. Alexander checked at all he would not have written his screed against Jewish leaders — breathtakingly including Gary Rosenblatt and Moses in his invective.

The truth is that the reunion photo was not airbrushed or cropped. It ran in the Maimonides publication exactly as shot. The photographer has provided proof of this.

Noah Feldman, the author of the hit-piece in the New York Times, and his Times editor were aware of this before Feldman’s article was published. Apparently, the factuality of this opening Feldman anecdote was irrelevant to Feldman and “America’s newspaper of record.” After all, there was an anti-Jewish point being made, even if the evidence had to be falsified.

Ken Cohen | Pleasant Hill

True or not?

I read Tracy Salkowitz’s review of the unauthorized biography on Billy Joel (Aug. 17 j.).

My question to her is, what makes you think that everything in this book is true? An experienced writer like yourself should know that unauthorized biographies often include exaggerated or untrue information.

Ian Rayder | Washington, D.C.

New ‘inquisition’?

The foul odor of a theological inquisition is intruding into presidential politics. The media are carrying all kinds of reports about the religious views and practices of candidates.

When asked by reporters, all the current presidential candidates affirm their belief in God and their unflagging commitment to attending Sunday church services.

The United States would be well served by a candidate who said something like: “My religion is my own personal business and is not relevant to this campaign.” The candidate might add: “I am running for president, not pope.”

If Americans want to see a pope, they can go to Rome.

Richard S. Colman | Orinda