Letter Week of July 16, 2009

You Got It Wrong Why We Left B'nai Aaron

As longtime residents of Havertown, as well as former members of Suburban Jewish Community Center-B'nai Aaron, we would like to correct some inaccuracies and mischaracterizations in your article about the congregation ("In a Period of Flux, Shul Decides It Needs Change," July 9).

For us, the sharp drop in membership between 2004 and 2009 — you report from 300 to 205 member units — was not caused by declines in Havertown's Jewish population, a rejection of the Conservative movement or problems with varying interpretations of kashrut. Like the majority of former congregants, we have all joined other Conservative synagogues in the area.

Moreover, the congregation's former leader, Rabbi Martin Sandberg, did not retire, but was let go after 23 years; he has been serving another congregation for the past five years.

It was largely developments after his departure, in addition to other factors intrinsic to the synagogue community, that contributed to our departure.

Frances Novack
Ken and Adele Franklin
Nancy Ruth Fox
Hope and Paul Uhr
Murray and Sharon Greenberg
Vance and Andrea DiCristo


Don't Forget Local Group Devoted to Summer Camp

As co-presidents of Camp Council, Inc., we were disappointed by the July 2 editorial ("The Bounties of Camp"), which noted the importance of camp and support of camping by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Foundation for Jewish Camp.

Camp Council opened as a camp for needy Jewish children in 1923 and closed in the 1980s.

With proceeds from the sale of its land in Phoenixville, two villages/cabins were built at Golden Slipper Camp. The remainder of the funds were invested and Camp Council, Inc., as a foundation, was born.

Camp Council has donated more than $2 million to support Jewish camps, campers and organizations devoted to that cause. It has also annually donated funds to the Federation's overnight-camp scholarship fund. Local JCC camps are also recipients of Camp Council's contributions. There is no other outlet in Greater Philadelphia with a similar mission.

We are troubled by the Jewish Exponent's failure to acknowledge the substantial contributions made by Camp Council, as well as the significant role that it has had in furthering and supporting camping in the tri-county area.

Judith Hahn Kramer Joanne Fishman
Camp Council, Inc.
Lafayette Hill

Too Much Ink's Wasted on the Wrong Subjects

I urge you to do more reporting on the five basic threats to Jewish well-being and survival:

· There is a worldwide explosion of anti-Semitism. Europe is beginning to look like the anti-Semitic and genocidal continent of the 1930s and 1940s. Jews are no longer safe on the streets, and are beginning to leave countries such as France.

· Examine the papers. The mainstream media — nationally, internationally, even locally — has a basically anti-Israel bias and, in my opinion, an anti-Semitic perspective. The distortions, biases and outright lies too often go unanswered.

· The Mideast is a mess. Israel is ringed by hostile Arab nations that are bases of terrorism, responsible for the incitement of anti-Semitism, violence and genocide directed at the Jewish state.

· Keep all eyes on Iran. It is approaching nuclear capability, and constantly threatens Israel with "being wiped off the map." If Iran gets the nuclear bomb, it is likely it will use it to carry out its threats.

· Watch what the government's doing. The Obama administration is taking an anti-Israel stance and seems almost ready to accept a nuclear Iran. As one pundit put it, our president seems more concerned about Jews building homes in Israel than Muslims building nuclear bombs in Iran.

Too much of the Exponent is devoted to matters not focused on the Jewish community (e.g., July 9 article on adult vaccinations) or stories that seem downright trivial (e.g., two articles on French cooking and salads, also in the July 9 issue).

Herb Denenberg



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