Letters the Week of Feb. 4, 2010


On This Particular Street, Lots of Potholes to Avoid

Concerning the cover story "A New Street in Town, and So Far, It's a Little Bumpy" (Jan. 28), J Street claims to be completely pro-Israel. Its aim is to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians, since only with such an agreement in place, it argues, can Israel continue to exist.

This is a most laudable goal, but it's an illusion. The only peace agreement the Palestinians will accept is to remove all Jews from the West Bank.

J Street also claims that the eastern portion of Jerusalem must be the capital of any Palestinian state.

A peace based on these terms gives the Palestinians free rein to finish their task of driving the Israelis into the sea, and occupying all of Zion.

Our experience with the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza is an example of what would happen with the "peace" J Street recommends. The Palestinians could achieve their goals without any need to fight Israeli troops, and the Middle East would be Judenrein.

Clearly, there is a big difference between reality and wishful thinking.

Julius Romanoff 

Is Group Just Filled With Lots of 'Useful Idiots'?

I do not doubt the sincerity of some of the spokesmen of the "pro-Israel, pro-peace" group known as J Street. However, they uncomfortably remind me of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, established in the Soviet Union during the 1940s, and of the dismal outcome of JAC's self-deception.

J Street's well-meaning intellectuals do not seem to recognize that too many of their financial backers and supporters really have agendas other than the survival of the Jewish homeland and its people.

In addition to their passive attitude toward Hamas and Iran, it was instructive to see that even liberal Rabbi Eric Yoffie was booed when he attempted to defend the Israeli army during the conference of 1,500 J Street adherents last October.

I hate to use the old Leninist term "useful idiots" of the West, but I'm afraid that the description does seem to apply.

Arthur Rabin 

Haitians May Need Help; So Do Those Next Door

I know that some people will consider what I am about to say politically incorrect, but I'm going to say it anyway: I am angry at the amount of money raised for Haitian relief.

I had similar feelings when former presidents Bush and Clinton raised millions for victims of the Asian tsunami.

Why am I angry?

I am angry that we pull out all the stops for others when in our own country — and, indeed, in our own city — there are thousands who are also suffering and who go unnoticed, under the radar as it were.

If I take a walk in my Center City neighborhood, I don't get very far without encountering a homeless person begging.

Not far from my luxury apartment building is a school where teachers buy supplies for their classrooms that the district can't provide.

And then, there are frail elderly living on fixed incomes who must choose between paying rent or buying food and necessary medication.

I wonder just why people open their checkbooks for victims thousands of miles away, but can't provide just a fraction of charity for the "invisible needy" in our midst, who are also worthy of our attention.

Rabbi Richard F. Steinbrink 

By Ceremony's End, Even the Guests Felt Married

"Teacher Ties the Knot at the School That 'Saved Her' " –what a beautifully written article (City & Suburb, Jan. 14).

One could say I am partial to the piece because I am also a teacher at the very same school that "saved" newlywed Janine Neff.

We all felt married by the end of the ceremony. The children used their little voices for an exuberant "mazel tov," and we happily skipped back to our classrooms, talking about the beautiful princess and handsome prince.

This is exactly what the Jewish Exponent needs to share with its readers — the life-cycle events that make us a unique and lasting people.

Marla Zipkin 



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