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Letters week of Dec. 4, 2008
You Can Fool Some Jews Some of the Time ...
Benjamin Balint's opinion piece ("Signs of Change Among Saudis Have Meaning All Their Own," Nov. 26) illustrates how easy it is to fool some Jews into mistaking Saudi hostility for a new relationship with the Jews.
Is there any scam older than the enemy using the Trojan Horse to fool the intendedvictims?
Although the major media outlets, over the decades, have downplayed or totally ignored Saudi influence in much of the Middle East and world violence, the recent swings in petroleum prices -- and an ensuing economic meltdown -- have focused world, and especially American, attention on Saudi extortionist prices.
Under these conditions, it is small wonder the Saudis have engaged in some restorative public relations to soften world hostility. But the gullible Balint reads it all wrong, as he reveals in his "apologia."
His Generosity Embodies True Nature of Tzedakah
Kudos to David Magerman for understanding the real meaning of tzedakah (Cover story: "Tuition Incentive Seeks to Boost Enrollment," Nov. 20). Offering a tuition reduction to families, regardless of their income level, at the Perelman Jewish Day School, does more than boost enrollment. What better way can there be to help secure our Jewish heritage than by providing Jewish youth with a religious education.
In the past that was a costly proposition for most Jewish families. No more, thanks to people like Magerman.
Our children are our future. Our future is in maintaining a strong Jewish life. This can only be done by educating our children.
How Changing One Word Changes Whole Meaning
How nice of you to run my letter about the Jewish Exponent giving away free tickets for a show at the Wilma Theater (Letters: "Don't We Have Something Else to Do Friday Night?", Nov. 26).
But you made one change that alters the intent (and selfrighteousness) of what I wrote. In the original, I said "isn't there something that Jews could be doing" on Friday night other than going out to a show.
For some reason, you changed it so it read "isn't there something else Jews should be doing" then.
Those of us who think we know how wonderful Shabbat observance is are, or should be, careful never to hector those Jews who don't observe as we do; that's why I said "could" and not "should."
Plus, I'm entirely capable of writing obnoxious letters to the editor all by myself. I don't need your help.
A Horse by Any Other Name Might not Smell ...
I'd like to comment on the letter by Phyllis Rosenthal in the Nov. 20 issue that said American Jews -- supposedly to preserve their image as social liberals -- would vote for Caligula's horse if the Democrats were to run it as the party's presidential candidate.
It really is just a matter of simple mathematics.
The Republican presidential candidate invariably embodies only half a horse. The Democrats double the appeal by adding the forequarters, thus offering the entire animal.
And may I remind readers that Caligula's horse, Incitatus, very nearly served, quite honorably, in the Roman Senate?
Correct Terminology's a Must in This Case
Marilyn Bricklin Lebovitz (Letters: "The Political Campaign of Fear Must Be Derailed," Nov. 6) has the right to be outraged by the disreputable tactics of the Republican Jewish Coalition. But she's in error in referring to the RJC as a "Jewish organization."
The RJC is not a Jewish advocacy/defense group that happens to vote Republican; it's a GOP organization that targets Jews for outreach.
In other words, the objective of the RJC is not to raise Republican awareness of a Jewish community consensus on a given issue, but to persuade Jews to accept the Republican consensus. And these days, that "Republican consensus" is beholden to the Christian Right, especially Protestant fundamentalist evangelicals.
For example, if there is one issue that unites American Jewry across the board -- from ultra-Orthodox to Secular Humanist Jews -- it is embryonic stem-cell research; yet, as loyal Republicans, the RJC defended President Bush's veto of this legislation, undertaken at the behest of the Christian Right.
Traditionally, U.S. support for Israel has been bipartisan; however, during the Bush reign, the RJC, through scurrilous attack ads, has sought to turn it into a wedge issue.
The RJC has never taken issue with GOP and conservative icon Ann Coulter's pronouncement that Jews, in order to be "perfected," should all convert to Christianity.
Lowest Point on Earth Offers Lots of Highs
Your brief report on a Dead Sea resort being built along with the Russian government (News at a Glance, Nov. 13) told only a fraction of the story.
The unique combination of sun and salts at the lowest point on earth -- the Dead Sea region, also known as Tamar, which includes the city of Arad -- has long provided relief to sufferers of many skin disorders, particularly psoriasis.
The Jewish Federation of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, together with other New Jersey and Delaware federations, enjoys a vibrant 10-year, Partnership 2000-relationship with Arad and Tamar. The 1,400 much-needed jobs associated with this new Moscow-led project will be a welcome boost to this beautiful desert region.
Some say the building of the Negev is the next important challenge for Israel's security and bright future. We welcome this new project as another milestone in achieving David Ben-Gurion's dream.
Robert A. Seltzer
Executive Vice President
Jewish Federation of Atlantic and Cape May Counties
Two People Obviously Manage to Get It Right
Mazel tov to David Magerman for taking the initiative to increase enrollment at the Perelman Jewish Day School by subsidizing tuition.
It also feels like poetic justice for outgoing Jewish Exponent executive editor Jonathan Tobin to be able to write about this terrific endeavor in his final column (A Matter of Opinon: "One Philanthropist Gets It Right," Nov. 20), since he has challenged our community to focus on investing in day-school education throughout his tenure with the paper.