Letters the Week of April 17, 2014


Two writers challenge the Perelman Jewish Day School to reconsider withdrawing recognition of the teachers' union representation while another says that J Street's policy undermines Israel's ability to bargain in the peace process.

Retired PJDS Teacher Questions Board Decision

As a retired teacher from Perelman Jewish Day School, with 27 years of service, I would like to take strong umbrage with the school’s board of directors (Headlines, “Labor Dispute Erupts at Perelman Jewish Day School,” April 3). I don’t know where Aaron Freiwald is getting his information when he says the dissolution of the union would improve the teaching of Jewish values. In my long tenure at the school, I know that all the teachers were dedicated to Jewish values.
The board also asserted that removing the union would “cultivate a culture of collaboration.” In all my years, staff/board issues were resolved in an amicable manner. What the loss of the union would “cultivate” is an atmosphere of insecurity, fear of job loss, unhealthy competition between teachers, mistrust of staff members toward each other and an undermining of morale. How this would benefit the children is beyond me.
For heaven’s sake, let’s teach the children that the welfare of our fellow man/woman is not only a humanitarian value but a Jewish one as well. Instead of taking away benefits, we should look for ways to increase them. As Jewish educators and parents, we are role models for our children. Let’s act in a Jewishly responsible way.
Rita B. Ross |Wynnewood 
Group Urges Perelman to Reconsider Union
The Jewish Social Policy Action Network is concerned about the Perelman Jewish Day School decision to withdraw recognition of the union that has represented its teachers since 1976.
As an advocacy organization steeped in progressive Jewish values, JSPAN has consistently supported quality education, fair wages and the right of workers to organize. If there were specific educational goals requiring the dismissal of the employees’ bargaining agent or some other emergency, we would seriously consider the merits of this decision. But, as we wrote to the Perelman board: “You have not explained to the teachers, the families of students or the public why you are denying and refusing to recognize the employees’ desire to be represented by the bargaining agent of their choice.” We have strongly urged the Perelman board “to take your goals and specific plans to the bargaining table and to make every good faith effort to reach the desired outcome, treating your faculty with the respect they deserve.”
Deborah Weinstein, President | Jewish Social Policy Action Network
J Street Undermines Israel’s Bargaining Stance 
While Israel is engaged in existential negotiation with the Palestinians — negotiations that have gone on for decades and may take decades more to arrive at a decision, if ever — a group declaring itself to be “pro-Israel” does every thing it can to undermine Israel’s bargaining position and encourage the Palestinians to hold on to their maximum demands (Letters, “J Street Is Not the First to Try to Shape Politics,” April 10). 
J Street continues to attack the elected government of Israel  and also attacks AIPAC, an organization that’s really pro Israel. If Burt Siegel thinks those of us on the other side are ideologically motivated, he’s right — our motivation is Israel’s survival, not some foolish and potentially fatal “wide-spectrum consensus.” 
Jerome P. Epstein |Center City


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