Letters | Poland and Kashruth

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European Jewish Experience Much More Than Pogroms

As always, I enjoyed a recent column by Editor-in-Chief Joshua Runyan (“A Rabbi Walks Into a Polish-Owned Irish Bar …” Nov. 22). Thought provoking and balanced, he’s a great storyteller. One statement, though, perhaps needs more discussion, “the Poles and the Jews aren’t historically friends, after all.”

Although I was born in the States more than a decade after World War II, a chunk of my family origins went through Poland and Lithuania. I was too young to ask older relatives about what it was like living there, so I don’t know more than that it didn’t end well. However, from everything I’ve read, the Jewish experience in Poland was nearly 1,000 years long and relatively favorable.

Similarly, when we think of the Jews of Spain, we’re immediately drawn to the last chapter of the Inquisition and expulsion, and forget that for 500 years, Iberia was the epicenter of our faith.

Both experiences came to abrupt and horrifying ends at the hands of negatively charismatic leaders. Yet that should not negate the long histories of, if not friendship, at least genuine tolerance from the peoples of those regions that allowed our people to flourish there.

Yes, it was a kind of second-class citizenship, but not until the United States and only very recently have we achieved equality in the Diaspora. To which I am grateful.

Ira Weinstein | Philadelphia

Nothing Kosher About Non-Kosher Eatery

A recent review of a restaurant on Jeweler’s Row in Philadelphia contains the inherently contradictory and dangerously misleading line, “while not kosher, there are plenty of menu options that do not violate kashruth” (“Koto Sushi Lands on Jewelers’ Row,” Philacatessen Blog, Nov. 26).

Ignoring for the moment whether the Exponent should be reviewing or advertising for non-kosher restaurants, how can a restaurant be “not kosher” and at the same time not violate kashruth? Even a cursory review of the establishment’s website reveals it serves pork, lobster, shrimp, clams, crab and pretty much every type of non-kosher seafood imaginable.

I’m not sure your food critic should be providing advice on kashruth to your readership.

Lee S. Fiederer | Bala Cynwyd