Readers share their thoughts on the recently passed Holocaust education bill, public school funding and the religious affiliation of Abrams Hebrew Academy.
Watered-Down Holocaust Law is Shameful
House Bill No.1424, passed June 10, as amended with the approval of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia (Headlines, “What Next for Pa. Holocaust Education?,” July 3) guarantees that the history of the Holocaust will not be taught in the central section of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It probably will not be taught in some private schools and non-Jewish religious schools. This bill does not mandate the teaching of the Holocaust but it does suggest the history be taught.
In every instance where the word “shall,” appears in the bill, it has been crossed out and the word, “may,” substituted. Example: “Beginning with the school year 2015-2016, each school entity may offer instruction, etc.” It further states materials regarding the Holocaust may be distributed to students if they are offered by the school. This is as effective as a red light right turn signal that does not indicate no turn on red.
It has never been suggested that Holocaust history be a subject unto itself but as a matter of world history, which actually includes World War II. How can one be taught without mentioning the other? Afraid of losing some anti-Semitic votes, our stalwart representatives passed this watered-down version and the Jewish Federation agreed.
The Federation will live to regret its acquiescence. New Jersey, to its credit, and 10 other states, so far, have mandated Holocaust education. It is ridiculous to provide deniers ammunition.
Ralph D. Bloch | Warrington
Teachers Unions not a Talmudic Directive
I like the Exponent and look forward to getting an issue every week. But Greg Turetsky’s letter to the editor (“Forget Tax Credits, Lobby for Public Schools,” June 26) really annoyed me. Please, funding public schools — especially schools that are run poorly — is not tikkun olam.
I wish readers would not insist school funding and teachers unions are a talmudic directive or a part of Jewish tradition. These writers sound to me like fools. Nowhere in the Torah does it say we must have organized labor unions or increased public school funding.
I wish, with all due respect, the Exponent would not publish letters from whiners.
Jan Sklaroff | Berwyn
Abrams Hebrew Academy Mislabeled
In your June 19th edition, Abrams Hebrew Academy was referred to as an “Orthodox day school” (Cover, “Chabad Overnight Camp Welcomes the Non-Observant”). I beg to differ with this label.
Both our daughters attended Abrams for most of elementary and all of middle school, later to move on to Barrack Hebrew Academy. While many, if not all, of the Judaic studies teachers at Abrams identify as Orthodox, the administration and faculty are most welcoming to students and families from all denominations, including those not affiliated with a particular synagogue or movement.
Our family has always looked at Abrams as a “community” day school. I fear that labeling it as Orthodox may do a disservice to Abrams by scaring away progressive families like ours from sending their children to this fine school.
Amy J. Goldstein | Yardley