Letters Week of August 12, 2010



Truth About Allocations: Some Needs Unsatisfied

I've been involved in the allocations process at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia for the last three decades, so perhaps my observations can be helpful (City & Suburb: "Federation Gives Final Nod to Slate, Allocations," Aug. 5).

The process is time-consuming for the agencies, volunteers, and especially, for the staff.

There is no question that donors want to have an impact on how their money is used. And there are needs in this community and overseas that might not get their attention.

But those on the various allocations committees study the needs, and are in a very good position to suggest how the funds should be allocated.

Still, the problem remains: How do we protect the needy and still give donors flexibility? I think we must try to educate donors not to neglect the core needs of our community when they are making large gifts. Maybe we even need to develop a policy that all gifts have at least a certain percentage used for undesignated allocations.

The Strategy, Policy and Funding Committee should give the committees guidance on how much money they will have to allocate at the beginning of the process. It would save hours spent in meetings, and studying projects.

As one community, we must work together, listen to all sides and come up with a system that keeps us together, solving the needs that can never be fully satisfied.

Bernie Dishler
Upper Gwynedd

Lecturing the Israelis Isn't the Wisest Tactic

In reference to Rabbi Eric Yoffie's opinion piece ("It's Time to Address the Problem of Undue Religious Control," July 29), I must say how surprised I was to realize how little the rabbi understands that Israel is a sovereign, democratic state that should not be dictated to by outsiders.

Israel's internal political system is a multiparty Knesset that requires a coalition of different parties to form a functioning government.

The terrible flap brought on by the introduction of a new "conversion" law by an extreme Orthodox party member was defeated primarily by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a lot of intelligent, clear-thinking members of the Knesset.

Rather than putting the onus upon Israel for its "need to mobilize her friends," U.S. Jewish interests would be better served if we would mobilize our friends here for Israel's benefit.

To declare that "Israeli leaders vastly underestimated how sensitive U.S. Jews remain about religious matters in the State of Israel" amounts to a virtual slap in the face to Israelis.

Israelis do not need Rabbi Yoffie reminding them about the problems of religious extremism. They live with it daily.

Dr. H. Zigerman
Willow Grove

Paper Shouldn't Run Such Unconscionable Ads

Once again, you are either showing your bias or your incompetence by accepting political ads that lie, distort or irrevocably bend the truth.

I specifically have in mind the ad from the group that calls itself Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin.

This is the same unconscionable type of ads you accepted and ran during the 2008 presidential campaign smearing Barack Obama.

I continue to be disappointed in your paper.

Bob Hirsch
Upper Gwynedd

Solomon's Temple Built of Solid Gold? Really?

Concerning the Aug. 5 JTA news brief that discussed the replica of Solomon's Temple to be built in Sao Paolo, Brazil: Where on earth did the author of the piece ever get the idea that the original Temple was built of gold?

Gold may have been used to embellish the structure — perhaps even a great deal of it — but the entire building?

To the best of my knowledge, no building in history was built of solid gold, certainly not one the size of the Temple!

First Kings, Chapter 6, indicates the use of stone and wood (actually, cedar, as provided by King Hiram of Tyre.) It does state (Verse 21) that the interior was overlaid with gold.

Even the Egyptians and Babylonians at their most lavish never erected a building of solid gold.

Gary Kaplan



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