Letters to the Editor

A Very Selective View of Torture

Bernie McGuire (Philadelphia Inquirer, Letters, 10/14) might have saved himself some embarrassment by actually accessing the website of Rabbis for Human Rights, which Carol Towarnicky briefly references in her column (10/11). The website is quite universal in its condemnation of torture, and does not at all limit its criticism to the United States. The "Al Cheit" prayer at the website, which Towarnicky excerpts, is modeled after the Jewish confessional prayer of the Yom Kippur service. In the religious service, the actual prayer is supposed to be a personal and collective inventory of sins, some which we understand, some of which may even be unknown to us, but only understood by G-d. As Americans, we can hardly take responsibility, in this way, for the sins others commit.  Five minutes of research could have resolved McGuire's cultural difficulty.

- Ben Burrows, Elkins Park, PA