Examining cork is valid practice
The reason for presenting and examining a wine cork is not, as suggested, to evaluate wine fraud or the quality of the wine (“Keep your nose away from the cork,” L’Chaim, March 9). Returning a wine because you picked one you don’t like is inappropriate anyway.
The patron — at home or in the restaurant — examines the cork to determine if the wine has been “corked,” that is, whether the wine has been poorly stored, resulting in the cork drying and leaking. The contact of the air with the wine allows the wine to “turn” to vinegar. The crumbled dried cork or the distinct scent of wine vinegar, easily identifiable on the cork or by taking a small sip of the wine before it is poured, is a reasonable basis for returning your wine selection. You should request or accept the cork from the waiter or sommelier. Roll it in your fingers briefly to check for drying and flaking of natural cork. Then, put it to your nose and check for a vinegar smell. If the wine hasn’t turned, that first scent of a delicious wine can also be the start of a lovely experience.
Next, those who appreciate good wine often use different glasses for white and red wine. White wine is generally served chilled.
Most red wines are served at room temperature, and their bouquet often develops even better when gently swirled and raised slightly higher with the warmth of a hand. To accentuate these features, white wine glasses have a longer stem and higher sides so it is easier to keep your hands off the bowl even if you swirl the wine. Red wine glasses have a bigger, rounder bowl to accommodate a warming swirl and a lovely bouquet.
RICHARD S. STERNBERG
The symbolism of the kippah
While I very much appreciate the Washington Jewish Week editorial calling out the European Court of Justice and Marine Le Pen for promulgating pronouncements to ban head coverings including the kippah in various public settings, I was sorry to see a conflation, even mild and apologetic, of the wearing of kippot by the Israeli team in the World Baseball Classic (“Kippah misuse and kippah abuse,” Editorial, March 23).
I did not apprehend the players’ wearing of kippahs as “kitschy” nor “cheesy.” Nor did I sense the wearing was an attempt to “telegraph ‘Jewishness.’” Rather, I took in its presence with pride, seeing it in tandem with the Magen David on arm patches and hats, as a statement about Jewish identity and history even though I, myself, don’t wear a kippah every day. You don’t have to be religious or even Jewish to appreciate what the kippah symbolizes for us all, not just a sign that God is always with us, but of the courage of our predecessors, whether Askenazi, Sefardi, or Mizrachi, to wear it publicly as ghettoized aliens in Christian Europe, marginalized residents in Dhimmi areas of the Muslim world, and even today spat upon and attacked as part of a resurgent anti-Semitism in various parts of the world.
The World Baseball Classic was a special occasion which may have not been a religious function. But it was a representation of Jews playing together, Jews coming together to watch, and Jews celebrating the first-round victories. In seeing the kippah in context of the larger backdrop, I cheered each at bat, whether a hit or easy out.
Toning down the rhetoric
The morning of the day the latest edition of WJW arrived, I received an unsolicited letter from a colleague agreeing with what I had written. Then I read a new letter to the editor “pushing back” (“Don’t blame anti-Semitic acts on Trump administration, Letters, March 16.)
Although I disagree with the sentiments of the follow-up letter, it is quite apparent that we all live in echo chambers to some extent. But the overriding precept seems to be extreme anger at President Barack Obama and his administration’s handling of Israel culminating in the abstention at the United Nations Security Council that allows an unprecedented favoring of President Donald Trump — regardless of his behavior since his inauguration.
Time to lower the rhetoric, talk to each other and pull our community away from the brink of splintering. This president has yet to demonstrate how he will be better for Israel than the last administration, and his erratic behavior relative to facts versus feelings should unsettle any of us.