Letters the Week of August 1, 2013


A disgruntled readers asks why funds have been curtailed for early learning centers throughout the city and suburbs and ZOA calls for expressions of outrage over "Jerusalem" ruling.

Where Are Funds For Early Learning Centers?

     Reading the July 18 cover story about the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s allocations, “Parceling Out the Dollars,” I was both shocked and saddened to learn that FELS, a more than 100-year-old organization that has contributed to the Jewish identity of so many Jewish families, is no longer receiving Federation funding.

As the former director of development for FELS and current parent of a child enrolled at the Buerger Early Learning Center, I am (almost) at a loss for words. Why has it been decided that Jewish education for our children should start at kindergarten? Some $1.3 million for needs-based scholarships to eight Jewish day schools seems outrageous to me compared to zero needs-based scholarships for Jewish early learning centers.

I went to Akiba. I went to Solomon Schechter. Both wonderful and expensive Jewish schools. However, I can tell you that my Jewish identity was established way before I set foot in kindergarten when I attended the Beth Shalom Nursery School.

Jessica Brookstein |Philadelphia

Outrage Should Greet ‘Jerusalem’ Ruling

Jewish Americans should be deeply offended that U.S. State Department policy banning the listing of “Jerusalem, Israel” as a place of birth on U.S. passports was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court last week struck down a 2002 U.S. law mandating passports be designated as such when appropriate and requested by Americans.

The city of Jerusalem is the geographic focal point of the Jewish people, and it is accepted — at least throughout the West — that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people. Logically, historically and religiously, Jerusalem and Israel are eternally linked. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, it has never been the capital of any Arab country, and it has been State Department policy that a nation can designate its own capital.

Bible-believing Christians should also be outraged by the policy. Why is it OK to offend Jews and Christians, but not Muslims or Arabs? This is rank, arrogant politics.

Lee Bender and Howard Katzoff | Co-Presidents
Steve Feldman | Executive Director
Zionist Organization of America
Gail Pedrick and Terry Noble | Co-chairs
Bucks County Christian Coalition
Pastor Chuck Wilson | New Hope Community Church

Tikvah Fund Seeks Professionals Worldwide

The New York-based Tikvah Fund is seeking participants in a new program, the Tikvah Advanced Institutes, for accomplished professionals worldwide who can devote a block of time to studying big ideas, great texts and pressing issues, on an all-expenses-paid basis, with some of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners.

The institutes in New York will focus on three areas: Jewish Thought and History, War and Statesmanship, and Economics and Policy. They will begin in September, October and November.

Information about the institutes and how to apply is at: www.tikvahinstitutes.org. Questions about the institutes may be sent to [email protected]

Eric Cohen | Executive Director


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