Letters the Week of January 30, 2014


Challenging Challenger’s ACA Assumptions

I got a chuckle out of the Robert Guzzardi story (Headlines: “Challenging Corbett From the Right,” Jan. 9).

Guzzardi, a Tea Party Republican and ZOA board member, claims to be “Torah-centric,” yet opposes the Affordable Care Act. Halachah regards health care as a right, not a privilege. Further, according to research conducted by former Philadelphian Rabbi Dr. Alan Yuter (a Republican, by the way), it even prefers a single-payer system. Which is what the citizens of the State of Israel themselves enjoy. And it works quite well.

So please enlighten me, opponents of universal health care: Why is it that what is good enough for the State of Israel is not good enough for the United States?

Also, according to the article, Guzzardi “identifies as ‘leaning Orthodox’ in philosophy, but is ‘not particularly observant in practice.’ ” That means that, for him, religion is defined by belief, rather than action — the quintessential dividing line between traditional Christianity and rabbinic Judaism. The rabbis responsible for converting him apparently forgot to mention that Judaism, especially Orthodoxy, stresses mandated behavior rather than dogma.

Evan Handleman, Horsham

Expand the Mandate for Holocaust Education

There is no question that Holocaust education should be mandated (“Holocaust Education Bill Splits Advocates,” Dec. 19); the problem is that the subject is too often presented too narrowly. While it is true that the majority of those that perished were Jewish, the actual number of people killed by the Nazis is closer to 13,000,000, including Gypsies, homosexuals, Catholics, dissidents, those with physical deformities and other “enemies of the state.” If we mandate the teaching of American history, we should mandate world history — which must encompass the Holocaust.

One need not look too hard to see examples of the old saw regarding those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Holocausts are the end result of extreme prejudice, and we cannot seem to rid ourselves of it.

To simply supply educators with Holocaust training and materials, without mandating a teaching component, is not sufficient. It is Jewish history, but more important, it is world history.

Ralph D. Bloch, Warrington

On the Right Track

Something really wonderful seems to be happening to your publication. Your January 23 edition was rich with thoughtful articles about burnout in Jewish organizational professionals, the background of the Canadian Prime Minister who appreciates and respects the importance of Israel, the transformation of the Jewish Publication Society, a fine statement about diversity of opinions in Hillel organizations, seeking the essence of the meaning of reform Judaism, and a fine books section.  

Please keep it up. For we Jews who identify with and seek to understand what it means to exist Jewishly in this world, who have a hunger for anything that will enrich that search, an edition such as the one you put out on January 23rd is a wonderful departure from the boosterism and mindless self-congratulation that we sometimes see and a return to the paper's tradition of journalistic excellence.

Jerrold C. Bonn, Spring House


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