Letters Week of Sep. 22, 2005

Missionaries: The Real Threat to Community

Contrary to the opinion expressed in your editorial, there is no “gray area” when it comes to “appropriate behavior for those who seek to share their faith with others” (Editorial: “The Real Threat Doesn’t Come From Missionaries,” Sept. 1)

If one were to compare the statement of belief published by Jews for Jesus with that of the Baptist Church or any number of other Christian churches and organizations, you’d find that they are identical. They are all Christians.

And while there is nothing wrong with being a Christian, it simply isn’t Jewish.

The experience of MAGEN: The International Counter-Missionary Organization with this group has shown that they are going to get attention and publicity, whether or not the Jewish community pays any attention to them.

But to allow them free reign — without a Jewish response that could potentially reach those who might be vulnerable — is unconscionable. It says that the Jewish community doesn’t have answers, or worse, that it doesn’t care.

The editorial is correct. There is nothing “illegal” about what this deceptive missionary group does — irksome as it is.

It’s also correct when you say that we have “failed to Jewishly educate our children.” In an ideal world, we would do so, and “have nothing to fear from groups that seek to lure our children with false information.”

But this isn’t an ideal world.

That’s why we cannot ignore the fact that this group targets college students and immigrants.

This group is here. They are here now. To worry about paying too much attention to them is ignoring reality, and in my opinion, is plain wrong.
Mark Powers
American director

Blame God for Suffering, as Well as for Laughter

Regarding Jonathan Tobin’s column about Hurricane Katrina (A Matter of Opinion: “A New Twist on ‘Intelligent Design,’ ” Sept. 8), two points need to be answered.

First, he wrongly equates those environmentalists who find a relationship between global warming and Katrina with the religious loonies who believe in God’s retribution as the hurricane’s cause.

Many scientists have written that the increased ocean temperatures from global warming may increase the severity of hurricanes.

Tobin wrote that many of those who “embrace the evidence” that supports evolution share his views about the role of the deity in the world. But contrary to his thesis, many of those who do support the theory of evolution, including many evolutionary biologists, do not “prefer to see” God’s design in the world.

If Tobin is going to credit God with the “beauty of a flower or the sound of a child’s laughter,” then God should also get credit for the multitude of horrible diseases, children’s tears, and rampant worldwide poverty and suffering.
Elkan Katz

Look to the Everyday Miracles for Proof of God

I think Jonathan Tobin’s column about the claim that hurricanes are a divine punishment is wonderful (A Matter of Opinion: “A New Twist on ‘Intelligent Design,’ ” Sept. 8).

I recently had a discussion with someone that shared writer Ariel Natan Pasko’s point of view that Hurricane Katrina was caused by U.S. pressure on Israel to withdraw from Gaza.

I have always admired this person’s intelligence and knowledge, but I couldn’t put into words how terrible I felt listening to this theory.

I am the kind of person who appreciates the everyday miracles that Tobin spoke of. He made my day.
Fran Alexander

Letter-Writers Should Really Quit the Kvetching

Two letters in the Sept. 8 Jewish Exponent beg for comment and correction.

Nanette Schriftman complains that edamame and quinoa can be found only in specialty shops (Letters: “Skip the Edamame Salad and Bring Back the Kugel”).

These items are available in many supermarkets. Edamame and quinoa are highly healthful foods, and as such, transcend any ethnic barriers that seem to trouble Ms. Schriftman.

Edamame are soybeans harvested just prior to maturity. They are high in protein and low in fat. One-half cup of these beans has 60 calories, 8 grams of fiber, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fat and 6 grams of protein.

Soy has earned the “heart-healthy” recommendation of the American Heart Association.

The health benefits of quinoa have been enjoyed as far back as the Incas. This grain is high in protein and loaded with niacin, iron, phosphorous and potassium.

Ms. Schriftman: Quit your kvetching and enjoy the health benefits of these foods that are available to all ethnic groups!

And then there’s Robert A. Faber, a reflection of our materialistic society, where it is believed that fashion is a passion (Letters: “Engaged Couples: Forget the Pet and Spruce Up!”).

It’s not the clothes a person wears, but who is under the clothes that should matter.

Pseudo-fashion-maven notwithstanding, Mr. Faber shows his speciesistic mindset by complaining about a dog appearing in engagement photograph.

Though not human, dogs are beloved family members.

Mr. Faber should remember Ecclesiastes 3:19: “… they all have one breath; so that man hath no preeminence above a beast.”
Gloria S. Feldscher
Plymouth Meeting



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