Letters the Week of Sept. 19, 2013


An educator praises certain efforts to keep teens involved in Jewish learning while another letter writer suggests that the Jewish community stop using Orthodoxy as the yardstick for all good things in Judaism.

Teen Education Finds a Home at Har Zion

I read with great interest your cover story about supplemental Jewish education for teens in our region (“Finding a Formula for Teen Learning,” Aug. 22). Admittedly, it is challenging to engage these young people and ignite their enthusiasm.

The Har Zion Temple High School of Jewish Studies, under the able leadership of Norman Einhorn and Steven Goldberg, has done an exemplary job by offering experiential, innovative and “out-of-the-box” learning that successfully engages our students.

Our high school is open to the community and, in the last year, we have opened some of our programs to teens in the region. This past year, our trip to Whitwell, Tenn., to visit the Children’s Holocaust Memorial (which was the inspiration for the movie, Paper Clips) drew students and parents from the area.

We have, in fact, partnered with our neighboring high schools in an effort to bring dozens of people from Whitwell to Philadelphia this fall.

I applaud the efforts of the educators in our region who have worked diligently to bring Jewish education to those students post-Bar and Bat Mitzvah age. We are proud to be a significant part of this effort.

Dorene Karasick | Har Zion Education Vice President

Let’s Stop Using Orthodoxy as Standard Bearer

I was drawn to the introduction of Melissa Jacobs’ article in the Fall 2013 issue of Inside magazine titled “Who’s Sorry Now?” — until I saw that three of the four rabbis interviewed were Orthodox.

According to the most recent Greater Philadelphia Jewish Population Study, Orthodox Jews’ representation in the community is in the single digits.

And they certainly don’t hold sole ownership of spirituality in the Jewish way of life. If anything, it’s the opposite.

I think the remaining 90-plus percent of Philadelphia Jews and their institutions would be better off if they stopped making Orthodoxy the standard bearer of all things Jewish.

Ms. Jacobs and her readers would have been better served if she had looked a little further for her sources.

Maurice Feldman | Wyncote

Yom Kippur Fast Tops Out at 25 Hours, Not 24

The food piece by Linda Morel in the Sept. 5 issue of the Exponent titled “The Deadline Is Sunset” contains a noteworthy error. It suggests that the Yom Kippur fast is 24 hours long.

Actually, the fast begins at sunset and ends the next day at nightfall, which is a period much closer to 25 hours than 24.

Heaven forfend that your readers be misled into thinking that, as a matter of Jewish law, they are permitted to eat 24 hours after the fast begins.

Lee Fiederer | Elkins Park


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