Letters the Week of November 7, 2013


Readers take exception to how the paper characterized the future of Gratz College and what Ramah Day Camp pays to be housed on the Mandell Education Campus during the summer months.

Gratz College Calls Unnecessary Roughness

We were disappointed to see the barb about Gratz College in the Oct. 24 cover story by Bryan Schwartzman on the future of the Mandell Campus.

Yes, Gratz College “has shifted much of its course work to an online format.” Rather than casting this in a negative light, it should be a point of pride that Gratz was the first college of Jewish studies to go online, bringing our high-quality programs to students not just in our area but around the globe.

Schwartzman’s gratuitous comment about “plenty of unanswered questions about [Gratz’] own future” is indeed unfortunate and unduly damages an institution that has been a Jewish community resource for 118 years. The college recently launched a master’s degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and our seventh graduate degree program is in the planning stages. Our Jewish Community High School’s enrollment is growing, and our NEXT program for supplementary school teachers has gained traction even outside the Philadelphia region.

Gratz College is providing unusual programs to diverse populations. And the Exponent would serve our community best by covering the innovative accomplishments of our Jewish agencies and schools.

David H. Weinstein, Chair, board of governors
Joy W. Goldstein, President, Gratz College , Melrose Park

Ramah Day Camp Pays More Than a Buck

We wish to point out that in your Oct. 24 cover story, “What’s in Store for Mandell Campus?”, it was stated that Ramah Day, like the other Jewish institutions on Mandell, “lease their properties from Federation at the rate of $1 per year.”

This does not accurately describe the camp’s relationship with the Mandell Campus. Ramah Day Camp does not directly lease our summertime “property” from Federation. Instead, we partner directly with the Perelman Jewish Day School, with whom we negotiate a lease for an agreed-upon rental fee. We think this is important to note, so as not to confuse our families with regard to the ­“real costs” associated with the continued operation of our day camp.

Ramah looks forward to remaining an active and thriving part of the community and the various institutions that support and bring Jewish life to the Mandell Campus. We are committed to ensuring that the campus will remain a locus of quality programming for the vibrant Jewish community of the northern suburbs.

Rabbi Joel Seltzer, Director, Camp Ramah in the Poconos, Ramah Day Camp, Philadelphia

Paper Shows Sudden Return to Sanity in October

I must congratulate you on the two very positive stories contained on the front page of the Oct. 17 Exponent.

The stories reported on the vibrant Orthodox community that is flourishing in Center City. You also reported on efforts to construct a Center City mikvah, to complement other area mikvahs — a required aspect of observant Judaism.

For too long, I have been reading oddball stories in the Exponent, covering — and sometimes exposing — dirty laundry and un-Jewish conduct. I congratulate the paper for its hopeful return to sanity and reporting stories of interest to observant Jews — Jews living in accordance with Torah.

Howard Hyman, Jamison


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