Ex Oriente Lux?
To the Editor:
There have been many times when I was tempted to subscribe and I do get COMMENTARY in bookshops occasionally. But despite its high intellectual content, the magazine is frequently so irritating that I forbear.
In the May issue, the pontifical Borkenau (“Toynbee’s Judgment of the Jews”) is certainly less convincing than the Toynbee he criticizes; certainly he is not supported by events. I say this as a Jew and one who has been in Germany and knows it well, though it is not my country of origin.
In addition, the Camp Ramah article is quite revolting. Talk about Roman Catholic and Soviet indoctrination, forsooth! Certainly, I see nothing attractive in a program of re-Orientalizing the Jewish people. Progress does not stem from the Orient.
Hebrew (and Yiddish) are among the least pleasant-sounding languages of the world, not excluding Swiss-German or Dutch. I see no functional or cultural value in promoting them, nor the concomitant religious practices.
Samuel E. Lessere
Northport, New York