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Tech Talk Quote Lacked Discretion

Tech Talk Quote Lacked Discretion

When we picked up the latest Tech Talk, we noticed a photograph of Monday evening's memorial for the late Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, along with a quote from Professor Franklin Fisher -- "For the last several months, calls for Rabin's assassination have come from rabbis, if they are still entitled to that name. They cursed Rabin and held it halachically justified [under Jewish law] to kill him because his policies would result in giving up some of the Biblical land."

We were disappointed to find that Professor Fisher used the prime minister's tragic death as an opportunity to attack religious Judaism and generally spread divisiveness in the Jewish community. We are particularly distressed since we still find ourselves in the midst of the week of mourning. We believe students came to the memorial to share their grief, not listen to accusations.

Although we do not wish to engage in acerbic polemic, it must be made clear that Fisher's statement is incorrect in reference to those rabbis specifically, and misleading about religious Judaism in general. The only justification for assassination which was ever even considered in a Halakhic (Jewish legal) discussion, is that people's lives were being endangered. Never mind the overwhelming majority of rabbis and observant Jews who insist, and have always insisted, that Jews killing Jews is abhorrent and sad. Fisher's indiscriminiate use of the word "rabbis" was both misrepresentative and insensitive to the large number of Torah-observing Jews in his audience.

We are also disappointed in Tech Talk's editorial staff for selecting the most divisive quote of the talk to print on the front page. We understand their aspirations for professional, honest journalism, but we believe the Tech Talk is essentially a community publication; as such it should exercise discretion. We hope it does so in the future.

We also hope that Jews everywhere take this time to reflect on the causes of our disunity. To paraphrase Yehiel Leiter, rather than pointing accusing fingers, we must extend each other our open hands.

Ya'akov M. Mandelbaum G

Alan Mizrahi '97