One writer expounds on the value of Holocaust education, another lobbies for Jonathan Pollard to be set free and a third tells the Exponent about an interesting use of the former West Philadelphia JCC building.
Holocaust Education: Knowledge Is Power
Frequently, people think “ignorance is bliss.” But it is important for us to be as knowledgeable as possible. Knowledge is power.
Recently, the Pennsylvania legislature has been debating whether Holocaust education should be mandatory in schools. (Headlines: “Federation Now Behind Holocaust Education Mandate,” Feb. 6). Similar laws are enforced in five states already.
Rhonda Fink-Whitman, daughter of a Holocaust survivor, made a video of herself surveying college students. She asked them simple questions including, “What was the Holocaust?” Shockingly, many did not know the answer.
Being Jewish, I find this very disappointing. As time goes on, and Holocaust survivors are dying, we need to ensure that their stories will live on.
With improved knowledge of the Holocaust, people will realize what it means to be anti-Semitic. I go to overnight camp every summer. When one of my fellow classmates at Pennsbury High School heard this, he laughed and said, “That’s funny! Jews are going back to camps, like when Hitler sent them!” How could someone find the events of the Holocaust funny?
Increased education should reduce ignorance. All Pennsylvania students should be taught about Hitler’s diabolical scheme to kill 6 million Jews.
Carolyn Hamberg | Pennsbury High School
Correcting the Record on Pollard
How many thousands of hours and words are needed to get Pollard’s story told straight? The Jewish Exponent should not have printed a letter about Jonathan Pollard that repeated the same lies that filled the media since his arrest in November 1985 (Letters, “Don’t Make Pollard a Political Pawn,” Jan 23). Smears, slanders even the word “treason” was fed to the media to mark Pollard as “Public Enemy No. 1.” This flood of misinformation was to protect the enemies of Israel within our own government.
To clarify: Pollard witnessed critical information for Israel being cut off, despite official U.S. policy. This included Iraqi poison gas stockpiling, known planned Arab attacks, radar signals to be jammed.
Yes, he passed this information to Israel. Forewarned, Israel began to produce gas masks for every citizen, instruct the public on sealed rooms and devise protective cribs for babies.
Jonathan has now spent 30 years in prison — the first seven in solitary confinement. These are substantiated facts. Pollard is the American prisoner of Zion. Please work for Jonathan’s release.
Roberta E. Dzubow | Plymouth Meeting
Armenian Uses for West Philly’s Jewish Center
The Armenian community also used the former West Philadelphia Jewish Community Center (Headlines, “Demolishing Part of Jewish West Philly,” Feb. 13) for some of its large functions. I recall one dinner where a woman asked for cream for her after-dinner coffee and was told that there were no dairy products in the kitchen because the place was kosher. But, she insisted, “We are not kosher!” She didn't get her cream.
Also, my mother often used the large space for rehearsals of the Armenian Folk Dance groups she often organized.
Andrew Kevorkian | West Philadelphia