Readers Respond: Letters to the Editor, Fall 2015
A NOTE ON LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
We welcome your responses to our articles. Send your letters to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember, however, not to attribute to Tikkun views other than those expressed in our editorials. We email, post, and print many articles with which we have strong disagreements, because that is what makes Tikkun a location for a true diversity of ideas. Tikkun reserves the right to edit your letters to fit available space in the magazine.
STOP BLAMING ISRAEL
Michael Lerner’s article on “What’s Next for Israel/Palestine” in this Fall 2015 issue of Tikkun ignores the simple fact that it takes two to tango. Unfortunately, the two dancers in this case (Abbas and Netanyahu) are equally uninterested in actually arriving at a two-state solution. To place all the blame for this tragedy at the feet of the Israeli government is both immoral and counterproductive. Michael Lerner and those who agree with him are not part of the solution but part of the problem. The simple reason for the nonexistence of a Palestinian state is that the Palestinian national movement appears to be uninterested in having a state.
The various organs of the pro-Palestinian movement are busy proving that they are not interested in the welfare of Palestinians as much as they are interested in destroying Israel—otherwise, there would be marches, demonstrations, sit-ins, and the like protesting the murder of Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp. Apparently, Arabs are allowed to kill Arabs without arousing the ire of anyone in the “progressive” camp.
THE ISRAELI ELECTIONS
My friends and I have often lamented that we in the United States don’t have a parliamentary government, which on paper seems more democratic. Viewing the recent Israeli election from this perspective brings a creeping fear that the Rush Limbaugh ditto-heads would be part of a “moderate” faction in any U.S. parliament as the real farther-out crazies of our right would create small bands of ideological tribes bent on forming power cults demanding death to abortionists, death to Iran, death to…well, you get the picture. The lesser of two evils? Well, maybe the lesser of many evils is the modern conundrum. Good luck, Israel! I’d pray for you if I were religious.
Santa Cruz, CA
INSIGHTS FROM KABBALAH
I am a new subscriber to Tikkun magazine. I must say that since I received my first issue in Spring 2015, my heart has been leaping with joy. The space that Tikkun is holding for the world is one of many pillars that support the totality of all life. But while your articles often discuss the consciousness of love and connectedness that we must attain in order to live fully as one, they rarely mention how we are to develop this consciousness. I suggest that you consider the writing of Rabbi Michael Laitman, who explains that Kabbalah teaches us that we are destroying ourselves and others because we have not learned to master the balance of receiving and giving, or bestowal. He argues that we must learn to receive in a way that supports all of life. We must receive for the sake of one; only in doing so in this manner do we give. We struggle as a society because we have been conditioned to receive only for the sake of self. The only way to wake up from the coma of being overly concerned with oneself is to develop a second pair of senses to feel and know complete connection with others.
DYING WITH DIGNITY
I have a yahrtzeit candle lit today in honor of my husband, Alan Alberts. He died two years ago today, when he decided to voluntarily stop eating and drinking (VSED) so that he would not have to live into the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. He was in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s when he did this, and he was still mentally competent. VSED is a legal choice. The U.S. Supreme Court has asserted that anyone has the right to refuse food and water. Alan had a kind and competent doctor and twenty-four-hour caregivers to support him through this process. It took him nine-and-a-half days to die. We learned about VSED from a volunteer chaplain for Compassion and Choices of Washington. It took months for Alan to decide that this was the most compassionate thing he could do for himself. He identified a marker so that he would know when it was time to start the VSED process. He had to VSED while mentally competent so that he would remember what he was doing. Two weeks before he started this process, he told me: “I’m not afraid of dying. I’ve lived a good life. But I want everyone to know about VSED.”
Until there is a cure for Alzheimer’s, please publish this letter so others know that it is a legal choice to stop eating and drinking rather than live into the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. My husband had a good life and a peaceful death. He died one month shy of seventy-seven years. My support of my husband through his process of dying peacefully and consciously was my biggest act of love.
I gave a TEDx talk about the five choices my husband made leading up to his decision to VSED. Google “Phyllis Shacter Not Here By Choice” to view it.
Editor Michael Lerner Responds:
Tikkun’s former publishers, Trish and George Vradenburg, are now leading an organization called USAgainstAlzheimer’s. Part of their focus is to spread awareness and information about the disease and the issues facing those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Another part of their focus is to ask all of us to demand that anyone who is running for Congress, seeking a presidential nomination, or running for president absolutely commit to dramatically escalating the amount of research money available to pursue paths for prevention and treatment of this horrible disease. Please join this effort. See usagainstalzheimers.org.
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