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In response to the editorial on the ultra-orthodox and their recent excesses, I certainly can understand the predictions of a secular

reaction. However, I think that such a reaction is exactly what the extremists on both sides of the issue would like to see, whether they be fanatical secularists or religious fanatics on the extreme right (Neturei Karta comes to mind). Both of these extremes would like to see the Israeli Zionist state devoid of any meaning for their own twisted reasons, neither of which advances true spirituality in this angry world. Lapidniks simply want us to be a another member of the EU. Extremist haredim are uncomfortable with a state that is spiritual. It simply challenges their religious monopoly. I think particularly of the possible loss of Shabbat as a day when we can shake off the technology and insanity of the modern world for the quietness and peace to look into our own souls and recognize our humanity by smelling the roses. Secular Westernizers with the morality of Ace Hardware would have us throw that priceless spiritual treasure away for a Sunday shopping trip. Personally, I left America for just this reason. Without Shabbat and the Jewish values that come with it, this country is just a Hebrew speaking Western state that is no better than the spiritual wilderness I left. None of us who recognize our souls came here to these shores to shop or to make money. We live in this country to be moved and to improve the world. Somehow, I fail to see how a Saturday trip on the Dan bus line accomplishes this. The quiet of Shabbat does just this, at least for me and the Lapidniks can take a dive in the Mediterranean and cool off along with their Neturei Karta polar opposites. The maintenance of the status quo is important to keep the Jewish state what it is: a home for all Jews, no matter what their observance, non-observance, etc. All of us have miraculously been able to find our space until now. Personally, this is why I found Abraham as my personal savior (said by someone crazy enough to have signed up for this religion by choice). I plead with the government of Tel Aviv and the rest of Israel to please not ruin the embassy of God on earth by disturbing the rights of all Jews everywhere to have spirituality in their everyday lives in the land of the patriarchs and the

matriarchs. This middle ground is worth fighting for and is well worth the small sacrifices needed in order to do it. We all have a duty to defend the center against the fringe elements in this country that seek to destroy it.