Letter week of August 19, 2010



Donors Important, Sure, but Pros Must Decide

In recent weeks, the Jewish Exponent has quoted Federation officials saying that "donor wishes are paramount" and that "we must try to educate donors."

The community is very dependent on the generosity of individual donors and foundations for funds to help those in our community and Israel who are in need.

However, we have paid professionals and dedicated lay people who strive long and hard to prioritize these needs and then, using the resources available in the most efficient manner, help as many people and agencies as possible. These are the people with the knowledge and experience to make these decisions.

Donors must be willing to fulfill the mitzvah of helping those in need while remembering that the highest form of charity is when neither the donor nor recipient is aware of the other. The needs of the community must come before the agenda of the donor.

Elaine Katz


Catching the Viral: Synagogues Affected, Too

It is not just Jewish organizations that are going viral in an attempt to reach young Jews (City & Suburb: "Going Viral to Entice the Unaffiliated Young," July 22), but savvy synagogues as well. After attending Jewish Outreach Partnership's seminar detailing best practices for synagogue Web sites, we at Congregation Kol Ami in Elkins Park set out to completely redesign our site, including a new URL to aid in Search Engine Optimization (www.kolamielkinspark.org).

Research provided by the Union for Reform Judaism emphasized the reliance of potential members upon synagogue Web sites to gather initial information so we made our Web site our No. 1 marketing priority.

In line with our five-year Strategic Plan, which focuses heavily on attracting young, unaffiliated Jews, we set out to build a dynamic Web site that clearly differentiates our synagogue, and uses those social media tools upon which our target visitor regularly relies.

Each page of our site was developed with great intention to provide access and information, but not to replace human contact. That is why, for instance, visitors can fill out an e-mail form to express interest in our congregation, but their email will be answered with a phone call. 

While we can all use technology to raise awareness of our Jewish institutions, ultimately this technology is just the stepping stone to actual engagement in a live, active community.

Rachel S. Ezekiel-Fishbein
Co-Chair, Web Site Committee
Congregation Kol Ami Elkins Park


Whole Truth, Nothing but the Truth, Please

I just read Bob Hirsch's letter (Letters: "Papers Shouldn't Run Such Unconscionable Ads," Aug. 12) of his disappointment with the Jewish Exponent for running ads attacking U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak. He claims you are printing political ads that lie, distort, smear or bend the truth.

Interestingly, Hirsch doesn't cite any example where there was a lie, distortion, smear or bending of the truth.

Unfortunately, Hirsch, like many of my Jewish brethren who read The New York Times, Newsweek or Time magazine are not aware of the whole truth.

Kudos to the Jewish Exponent. Please keep on disappointing Mr. Hirsch.

Jerome Cantor


He's a Real Schmuck and So Proud of It!

Thank you for including a reference to my Web site in your "On the Scene" review of "Dinner for Schmucks" (Arts & Entertainment, "When the 'S' on His Chest Is Not for Superman").

I did not want to see the movie, but my wife insisted that I had to see it. I agree with your opinion that it is an "artless yet arguably entertaining" film. (I give it a B.)

The best part of going to the movie was that after I walked out of the theater a beautiful young woman gave me a compliment of "awesome" for the Schmuck University T-shirt I was wearing.

Michael Prolman
Publisher, Schmuck University



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