Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Readers respond

(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

Thank you, Josh Sivitz!
So, Josh, “the more frequent you get pummeled with” usages of our language that your high school English teacher wouldn’t approve of, the more you might consider celebrating — rather than bemoaning — the beautiful diversity of human language and our boundless ability to play with it and modify it (“Resurrecting ‘tucky’,” Feb. 4). Without such inventiveness, you and I would find ourselves still speaking Old English (and reading “Beowulf” knowledgeably in the original).

Of course, there are clear advantages to a nation and its people sharing a standard or prestige dialect (otherwise known, to the likes of high school English teachers, as “correct language”) — but where would we Pittsburghers be without our distinctive pronunciation and usages, so distinctive that Pittsburgh is its own color (er, “keller”) on any dialect map of the U.S.A.?

And hah-baht we Jews in the ‘Burgh? Not only can we go upstreet and dahntahn with the rest of Stiller Nation, but we can also watch a bar mitzvy boy in his brand-new yammicky leave the bimmy to go bless the chally (or the matzy)!

If readers have never heard these local usages, they simply have not met true Yidzers, tucky! That’s right: tucky, from the Yiddish “takkeh,” meaning “indeed, truly, really.” I look forward to Eric Lidji of the Rauh Jewish Archives enlightening us all about the Yiddish of the Jewish immigrants who settled this area and somehow bequeathed us this delightful transformation of the Yiddish final “eh” (based on the Hebrew final “ah”) into the English sound “ee.”

So thank you, Josh, for bringing to our attention this particularly delicious bit of Pittsburgh Jewish speech, which I plan on adding to my own because it’s just so infinitely useable, tucky!

Beryl Handler Rosenberg

The influence of anti-Zionists in synagogues should be limited
Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman’s ethos of synagogue inclusivity must stop — as must all similar doctrines and theories — at the point where it begins to endanger the Jewish community (“Your synagogue should be an ideological sanctuary,” Feb. 25). Today’s anti-Zionist Jews are encouraging and enabling antisemites who masquerade as people merely opposed to Israeli policies. Their antisemitic character can easily be discerned by their use of thinly veiled antisemitic tropes to savage the world’s only Jewish state.

History is replete with examples of inclusive, democratic countries and institutions that have been destroyed by permissive approaches to inimical ideologies. The central narrative of Judaism is the return to our indigenous homeland, Eretz Israel. As Jews we can certainly criticize Israeli policies, but if we go beyond that into Natan Sharansky’s three “D” criteria for antisemitism — demonization of Israel, delegitimization of Israel, or holding Israel to a double standard — we have crossed over the line into unacceptable territory.

Crossing this line endangers the local Jewish community, as recent events demonstrate there is a strong correlation between fanatic anti-Israel ideology and local antisemitic acts. When we encounter fellow Jews who may have crossed this line, we can certainly reach out to them and engage them in productive discussion, but their role, presence, and influence in the synagogue should be subject to needed limits.

Daniel H. Trigoboff
Williamsville, New York

Anti-Zionists should not work at pro-Zionist institutions
To an extent, I agree with Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman (“Your synagogue should be an ideological sanctuary,” Feb. 25). Rabbi Amy Bardack’s opinion piece (“How inclusive are we willing to be?” Feb. 11), however, dealt with a somewhat different matter. The question was whether an anti-Zionist teacher should be employed at a synagogue which has a pro-Zionist credo. My answer is, “No.” I would not want my child to be exposed to a teacher who promotes anti-Israel libels (such as those promulgated by Amnesty International, the American Friends Service Committee, Students for Justice in Palestine, B’Tselem, Jewish Voice for Peace and CAIR). Even if the teacher promised not to express these views in the classroom, the students could easily access them on social media.

Toby F. Block
Atlanta, Georgia

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