Afterword: A Memoir Continued From Canada to Israel Some Reflections on Political Matters Back To My Two Worlds A Final Word Notes References

Ricardo It's An Ill Wind


*I am much obliged to David Ben-Natan, Haim Chertok, Tony Endres, Michael Fried, Isaac Hollander, John Hutchison, Ian Merlin, and Ajit Sinha for their comments both favourable and critical, on various drafts of this note.  It must be understood clearly that this acknowledgment ascribes to my friends no responsibility whatsoever for the final statement. This is my memoir and no one else’s.

(1) See also the autobiographical Introduction to Collected Essays I (Hollander 1995).

(2) A second retired departmental member to receive the award is Gerry Helleiner whose subject (graduate Economic Development), like mine, was decimated by the Department (see Hollander 1998: 16).

(3) It is a sad fact that support for Israeli policies all too often comes from those who should be classified as "classical" anti-Semites. Today they have other foci of attention.

(4) There is too the brutal policy of Zionist organizations in the early days of the state to force immigrants from North Africa to abandon their religious practices.

(5) Sunday Times (15 June 1969), The Washington Post (16 June 1969).

(6) I have before me as I write a report of the shameful treatment by the military of Palestinian minors (The Independent, 26 August 2011). The main headline in Haaretz (30 August 2011) reads: "IDF arms, trains settlers to face September riots." So the territory is first sprinkled with settlements large and small, many "illegal" even according to the Israeli lexicon, and then armed for fear that the local inhabitants might dare engage in acts of civil disobedience. Apparently the natives are expected to be passive and do their own policing as proxy for the occupiers. When they do not, the mask slips revealing the true face of the occupation.

(7) I understand that famers in certain areas, after appeal to the Supreme Court, are given the right to enter their lands at certain times of the day only, through specified checkpoints.

(8) My translation from the Hebrew here and below.

(9) Professor Leibowitz managed the balancing trick, but he was strengthened by a much more profound knowledge of our traditions than I can ever hope to lay claim to, so that he could easily put in their place those misusing religion for political ends, and continue his personal practise undisturbed.

There is, it has come to my attention, another prominent instance of a traditional Jew with impeccable qualifications in matters of religious practice who takes a moderate stance on the broad issues with which we have been preoccupied. I refer to Rabbi Menahem Froman, Chief Rabbi at one of the major West Bank settlements, who apparently supports the Palestinian Authority’s quest for recognition of a Palestine State at the United Nations later this month (Jerusalem Post, 1 September 2011).

(10) I had fallen into the trap when on first arriving I consulted the rabbi in question regarding the permissibility of watering my garden on the Sabbath with a pre-regulated, computer-directed, watering system. He replied in the negative on the grounds that the neighbour might believe I was watering by hand which is forbidden. (He was applying a catch-all formula, which adopts a negative ruling in all doubtful cases.) Fortunately, my neighbour had the custom of transgressing the Sabbath at the seaside, so I felt justified in ignoring the ruling.

(11) My grandson has the merit of binding the dog’s injury with a scarf and also providing me with the code to his car so that I might liberate my own from the garage way; and a granddaughter has the merit of accompanying me to reduce the chances of an accident on the way to Beer Sheba. As for the dog, he had to be put to sleep since the gravity of its injury and his extreme old age precluded an operation. All I had managed to do is save him from hours, perhaps days, of torture.

(12) Following a sermon by my synagogue rabbi on the significance of "taking responsibility" – for the Jewish people could have stayed at Mount Sinai and received instruction directly from God, whereas they settled down elsewhere at the cost of having thenceforth to make choices – I recounted the dilemma created for me by the injured dog, and thanked the speaker for implicitly confirming my decision.  He blanched and expressed his shock. I of course was delighted by this reaction because it showed that the point I was making was meaningful. I said to him that he evidently meant by decision-making communal choice, but left no place in his scheme of things for individual choice should it clash with tradition and law. In any event, I was further delighted to learn subsequently that the rabbi himself has been criticized for taking his own dog for a walk on a leach on the Sabbath by some yet more meticulous in their practice.

(13) And Messianism is in the wind. There are even those, still a small if noisy minority, who ready themselves for the reconstruction of the Third Temple and the reinstitution of sacrifices, a presumption on the part of mortal man that many of the great Rabbis of the past would have looked upon with horror. Also noteworthy is the circumstance that after the 1967 victory the Chief Rabbinate devised a prayer representing the State of Israel as the beginning of the Redemption. The Chief Rabbinate, I should add, is not recognized by most Hassidic sects and other traditionalists, and the prayer is not recited in their synagogues.