Letters Week of Sept. 14, 2011


Readers assert: An advertising insert in the paper denigrated an important concept in Judaism and several stories seemed to wallow in the PC pool.


Flyer Actually Denigrated a Sacred Idea in Judaism 
An advertisement was inserted into a recent issue of the Jewish Exponent from one of our local cemeteries. The flyer was intended to encourage members of our community to buy a cemetery plot and to pre-plan one's funeral.

The flyer asserted that, without such pre-planning, one might simply say, when the time comes: "Just throw me in an old pine box."

The rabbis of Philadelphia are proponents of preplanned funerals, although I would presume that most of us would prefer that one would consult first with one's rabbi prior to contacting the cemetery.

More importantly, the implications of the ad are that the choice of a "pine box" is somehow a de facto choice, a choice that people would certainly not make if they had the time and inclination to pre-plan a funeral. This presumption is an affront to Jewish tradition.

The use of a plain pine casket is part of a long-standing tradition of Jewish funerals, funerals that are characterized by modesty and simplicity. The greatest among us often choose to be buried in a "plain pine box." Far from a decision made in exasperation, the guidance of Jewish law and tradition favors such a choice.

In encouraging the pre-planning of funerals, one need not denigrate Jewish tradition in the process. I am confident that our Jewish funeral homes suggest the option of a plain pine casket as an honorable choice. I would hope that a similar approach to Jewish tradition could be taken by our local cemeteries. 
Rabbi Neil Cooper 
Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El 

Unrelated Items in Paper All Dip Into the PC Pool 
Three items in your Aug. 25 issue, seemingly unrelated, are insidiously linked by political correctness: the Crown Heights article, the opinion piece "Obama Hasn't Gotten Fair Shake When It Comes to the Jewish State" by Marc Stanley and the brief local news item "J Street Pushes Two-State Solution."

A friend defined political correctness as "a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of excrement by the clean end." This definition applies to The New York Times calling the pogroms in Crown Heights 20 years ago "racial conflict."

The assertion that Obama hasn't gotten a "fair shake" is also preposterous. Obama's ignoring Iran's repeated threats to annihilate Israel, continuing to fund the Palestinian Authority despite its support of terror and insisting that somehow Israel needs to do more for peace are reason to doubt his sincerity. In fact, given Obama's apparent lack of policy elsewhere in the Middle East, his "tough love" toward Israel is more like a shakedown than a fair shake.

Then, there is the pathetic J Street which refuses to let facts interfere with their ideology born out of PC. It seems to me that a two-state solution, Palestinian-style, is Palestine for Palestinians and Israel for the Palestinian refugees. 
Gadi Naaman 

She's Proud Jews Stand Up for the Persecuted 
I'll tell you what the initials ADL stand for (Letters: "Just What Do Those Letters 'ADL' Stand For?" Sept. 8). They stand for Anti-Defamation League.

If you notice, there is no mention of the word Jewish. Perhaps Ms. Dzubow was confusing the ADL with the JDL (Jewish Defense League). They're very different organizations. The ADL speaks out for groups experiencing prejudice.

Fear and paranoia cause bigotry. I feel that Ms. Dzubow's letter displayed such characteristics.

We Jews have been the victims of bigotry. Please let us not become the perpetrators. 
Melody Katz 



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