Letters Week of Nov. 15, 2007


Don't Forget Sacrifices Made by Armed Services

My fiance shipped out earlier this month aboard the USS Harry S. Truman. A member of a Pacific coast-based naval aviation squadron, he left Washington state to join the Truman, and had just enough time to unpack his gear before the ship headed out to sea.

Given that there has been minimal news coverage of their departure from the media, I was scouring the Internet, hoping for some news of the ship and crew as they left. This is how I found your recent articles about the Truman (A Matter of Opinion: "America's 'Silver Platter,' " Oct. 18).

The description of where my fiance will be living for the next seven months or more has given me a greater understanding and appreciation of what his surroundings are like.

In this war that has gained in unpopularity, it is all too easy to forget the extreme sacrifice made by the service men and women who volunteer to leave their families behind for these long and lonely cruises.

Wendy Engel
Mount Vernon, Wash.

Let's Define Who's 'Brave' and Who's Boisterous

Regarding Jacob Miller's letter, which says that the protesters are "brave" in relation to U.S. military service people (Letters: "Protesters, Not the Navy, Deserve Nation's Thanks," Nov. 1), I'd like to remind Mr. Miller that it is the soldiers and sailors who risk life and limb.

The only risk protesters take is that their Tivo will break down, and they may miss their favorite TV show.

Until protesters give up their U.S. citizenship, and move to Cuba, Belarus, North Korea or other similar countries to protest against those governments, they risk neither life, limb, nor even job prospects.

Therefore, Mr. Miller should stop patting himself on the back and not insult our intelligence by calling protesters brave.

The bottom line is that when facing the many real enemies who would seriously harm our freedom, I would much rather have U.S. soldiers by my side than his protesters.

Mark Girshovich
Penn Valley

It's Up to the Democrats to Get Us Out of Iraq

Contrary to those who claim that the Republicans have the monopoly on caring about Israel, those who support the campaign to elect Sen. Hillary Clinton president of the United States are very much pro-Israel.

The backlash against Bush and the GOP that Jonathan Tobin referenced in his column (A Matter of Opinion: "We Can't Wait for Hillary," Nov. 1) has much to do with the way the current administration has squandered America's capacity to respond to real issues, such as confronting Iran and facing down the Taliban in Afghanistan. All that has left us where we are today.

Only a new Democratic president can begin the necessary task of getting the United States out of Iraq and restoring its capacity to respond.

E. Grossman

For Action on Iran, Better to Elect a Republican

Jonathan Tobin writes about the country waiting for a Democrat to be elected before it is likely that any action will be taken about Iran (A Matter of Opinion: "We Can't Wait for Hillary," Nov. 1).

Here's a better answer: Why don't you just try voting for a Republican? This problem will be better fixed if the country rejects the Dems and endorses a vigilant foreign policy.

Tobin's hope that Hillary Clinton will support what needs to be done is not a good bet. He needs to get over his misguided devotion to Democrats; they are selling us out.

Robert MacArthur
University of Arizona
Tucson, Ariz.

Bible and Archaeology: Distinct Disciplines

Thank you for reporting on a lecture delivered by Lee Levine, professor of Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who is in Philadelphia under the auspices of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (City & Suburb: " 'Does Archaeology Negate the Bible?' " Oct. 25).

While his subject focused on whether archaeology negates the Bible, the thrust of his remarks was really to say that archaeology is a separate discipline, and that Bible and faith incorporate a different set of beliefs.

There is indeed a complexity between biblical accounts and archaeological finds.

While your article was correct, the information added by Levine's answer to a very cogent question is telling. He was asked, "In the light of your professional life, how does this influence your religious life?"

Levine replied by reiterating a notion given earlier in the lecture that much of what he discovers in the narratives of the Bible are fleshed out by archaeological finds, providing an understanding of the social, political and religious life of ancient periods.

As for himself, he noted that as far as his own traditions go, he's never missed a seder!

Rabbi Gary Charlestein
Plymouth Meeting

Never Too Late to Thank Supporters of Israel

Robert R. Weiss, a former Mahal volunteer, wrote about the scant recognition given to the foreign soldiers who fought in Israel's wars (Letters: "Don't Forget Volunteers Who Fought for Israel?" Nov. 8).

You are correct. Were it not for the sacrifices that you — and thousands of other men and women made — would there be an Israel today?

Mr. Weiss' letter is timely.

On Sunday, Nov. 18, the Israel Advocacy Committee of Temple Beth Hillel/Beth El in Wynnewood will host Philip Marmelstein, a former U.S. Navy pilot who volunteered to work in the fledgling Israeli Air Force in the 1940s and 50s. The film "In Our Own Hands," the story of the Jewish Brigade, will also be shown.

It's never too late to thank a supporter of the Jewish state.

Rochelle Wolf


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