Letters the Week of Jan. 20, 2011


Being Vegan Answers So Many Moral Issues 

Thank you for your cover story on the "ethical dilemma" faced by many Jews concerned about the origins of animal-derived foods ("What's Cooking, Kosher-Wise?" Jan. 6).

Raising and killing animals is a topic that should receive more coverage in your paper as it encompasses serious moral questions that we Jews must contemplate.

In particular, we should ask ourselves whether raising an animal for her eggs and prematurely ending her life against her will is in line with the Jewish precept that we should not inflict unnecessary pain on animals (tsa'ar ba'alei chayim).

If we are truly concerned about the well-being of animals and honestly want to be compassionate per the biblical proscriptions, then veganism, not the local animal slaughtering company, is the answer.

In addition to compassion for animals, veganism furthers other Jewish principles: repairing the world, protecting the environment and respecting our bodies. As such, it is the only solution to our collective ethical dilemma. 
Dara Lovitz 

Editorial Made Several Incorrect Assumptions 
New York Times columnist Charles Blow, in his column of Jan. 15, 2011, refutes your editorial ("Assessing the Damage," Jan. 13), which charges that a "climate of hate" led to the demented act in Arizona.

He writes: "Within hours of the shooting, there was a full-fledged witch hunt to link the shooter to the right.

"The only problem is that there was no evidence then, and even now, that overheated rhetoric from the right had anything to do with the shooting.

"According to a usa Today/ Gallup poll released last week, 42 percent of those asked said that political rhetoric was not a factor at all in the shooting, 22 percent said that it was a minor factor, and 20 percent said that it was a major factor."

In other words, the Exponent editorial places you in the 20 percent. 
Benyamin Korn 
Director, Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin

There's a Link Missing in the Portrait of FDR 
In Robert Leiter's review of the book Prelude to Catastrophe: FDR's Jews and the Menace of Nazism, Henry Morgenthau Jr. is portrayed as instrumental in Franklin Roosevelt's decision to establish the War Refugee Board. But an important link has been overlooked.

Raphael Medoff's book Blowing the Whistle on Genocide describes the crucial role played by Josiah DuBois Jr. in Morgenthau's achievement.

DuBois, an official of the Treasury Department, initiated the investigation concerning the anti-Semitic machinations of some State Department officials, who suppressed news about the Holocaust. He relentlessly pursued his investigation, despite threats to his career.

DuBois gave his report, "The Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of the Jews," to Morgenthau, expecting he would relate his findings to the president, along with the need for FDR to establish a refuge for endangered Jews.

At first reluctant, for Morgenthau feared FDR would regard him as favoring his co-religionists, Morgenthau agreed to urge Roosevelt to create a rescue agency, partly in response to DuBois' threat that if he did not, he would resign, and expose the entire State Department's scandalous actions by informing the press. 
Bernice Berue Zoslaw 

When Heading for Israel, Don't Forget Volunteering 
We applaud your description of Israel as a "magical" destination with attractions to please virtually every tourist (Editorial: "Israel, Here and Now," Jan. 6).

Volunteering is another rewarding way to experience Israel. There are programs for families, couples, singles, students and retirees.

Thousands travel to Israel every year for an opportunity to show their support; to work and live with Israelis; for the satisfaction of making a personal difference; and to experience an adventure that many describe as life-changing. 
Carol Stein 
Beverly Cohen 
Co-directors, Volunteers for Israel, Philadelphia region


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