Letters | J Street and Maccabi

1

Disappointed in Op-Ed

We were disappointed to see the Jewish Exponent print an op-ed denigrating J Street and other liberal Jewish organizations (“The Jewish Museum’s Balancing Act,” May 2). Local ZOA leaders expressed their upset that the National Museum of American Jewish History chose to host a progressive panel around Israel, geared toward “young American Jews.”

More than 70 percent of American Jews support a two-state solution and reject the annexation of Jewish settlements on the West Bank advocated by Prime Minister Netanyahu as an impediment to peace. Some of the remaining 30 percent support the BDS movement.

The remaining small groups have views well to the right. They believe that peace can be achieved by permanently suppressing the rights of an occupied people. Given this situation, it made sense to create a panel supporting dialogue for the great majority in the middle.

We in the Jewish community deeply disagree on what to do about the conflict in Israel, but to call those of us in the majority who passionately care about Zionism “anti-Israel” is false and hateful. J Street was founded over a decade ago to be a pro-Israel voice that advocates for two democratic states.

We do this because we believe that it is the safest and most secure way for Israel to survive and thrive, and because it reflects our values. We believe in a two-state solution because we care deeply about Zionism and the founding principles of the state of Israel. We believe in a two-state solution because we see that as the only viable way out of the conflict with the Palestinians.

We welcome intellectual debates about the conflict and the path forward. But to attack J Street’s visionary leader, Jeremy Ben-Ami, and to say he spoke “lies and distortions” is wrong. We applaud the Jewish museum’s choice to elevate the discussion so that we in the Jewish community can truly debate what is best for the state of Israel.

Rabbi Beth Janus & Rabbi David Teutsch | Co-chairs of the Philadelphia J Street Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet

Maccabi Is About Community

While we have appreciated all of the coverage leading up to the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Mini & Junior Maccabi Games, “Managing Maccabi: Rain, Thousands of Spectators and a Torch Made from a V8 Can” missed one of the central elements of the games … community.

The games took a year of planning that engaged more than 150 coaches and sports commissioners, more than 100 volunteers, dozens of volunteer medical personnel from Einstein Medical Center, facility directors at the six venues we used for the games and every member of the Kaiserman JCC staff.

This was not an event that could ever have been handled by one person. I want to take this opportunity to say a very public and heartfelt thank you to every athlete, coach, parent, sibling, friend, volunteer, supporter and staff member for turning the dream of the games into a reality.

Amy Krulik | CEO, Kaiserman JCC

Observance Is Personal

Referring to the op-ed by Saundra Sterling Epstein (“It’s Not Always Easy Being Orthodox,” May 9), I would have all of the people who are criticizing her read the “Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association” by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802. In it, he wrote, “Religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship.” She should tell her detractors that her religious observance is simply none of their business and then advise them to read the letters of the Founding Fathers.

Benjamin H. Bloom | Wynnewood

Type Casting

We were delighted to hear from so many of your readers who learned of W.P.M. Typewriter Shop from Eric Schucht’s excellent story (“Rogow Goes Retro with Typewriter Shop,” The Good Life, May 9). I’d like to clarify a few details.

Repairs, ribbons: Half our business is typewriter maintenance and repairs. This wasn’t mentioned in the piece, so happy to share the service. IBM Selectrics to European and American models that span a century. We’ve a large studio here devoted to only that, and stocked with even more machines than are available in the showroom.

Mission: While we are indeed a “shop,” the underlying motivation for W.P.M. Typewriter Shop is an anti-video brain project. Typewriters cultivate careful, slow writing, and therefore careful thinking. They habituate “doing one’s best” … which is why I also teach touch typing.

Regional resource: The author may have surmised that I opened W.P.M. Typewriter Shop because it “filled a void,” but that is not something I said. Yes, we are actively engaged with and at the epicenter of Mt. Airy, our deeply community-oriented neighborhood. But we are a regional resource, with customers regularly coming from Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C. and New York. Other remarkable enterprises have rooted in this space — the region’s first electric bicycle store, for example. And the Moving Arts of Mt. Airy studio.

Pamela Rogow, owner | W.P.M. Typewriter Shop

Parents: Look in the Mirror

A reader blames synagogues for Jewish children’s lack of knowledge regarding anti-Semitism and the Holocaust (“Letters,” May 9) and she is partially correct.

Unfortunately, Jewish education stops at 13 after Mom and Dad have paid off their business and social obligations. In ancient times, when life span was 25 to 40 years, 13 may have been realistic, but not in today’s technical and socially complex world. Congregations of 500 families have confirmation classes of 15 students and confirmation requires only two extra years. Most middle-class and upper-class Jewish kids know about anti-Semitism only by watching TV — newspapers are for nerds.

So let’s put the blame where it really belongs, on parents who don’t push Jewish studies on their children nor spend time at home discussing the serious rise of this evil.

Lack of Holocaust education in public schools is the direct result of the Pennsylvania Senate, which didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to mandate the Holocaust be taught in public schools as some states have done, including New Jersey. The mandate bill didn’t pass but a compromise allowing it to be taught did with no funds for materials or extra education allocated. Parents elected these people, so again, to assign blame, maybe parents should look in the mirror.

Ralph D. Bloch | Jenkintown

1 COMMENT

  1. J Street is a radical, fringe, far-left, anti-Israel organization that has little, if any, actual support within the Jewish-American community.

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