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Letters Week of Jan. 19, 2012

January 19, 2012
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Fight BDS! Buy Lots More Goods Made in Israel

The pro-Israel community is rightfully concerned about the upcoming conference at the University of Pennsylvania calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The local organized Jewish community coalesced around a statement condemning the conference that was published in the Jewish Exponent last week.

But it is not enough to oppose this event and BDS activities. In the spirit of "the response to bad speech is good speech," the response to efforts to economically punish Israel should be to buy more Israeli goods. The organized Jewish community intends to promote this effort.

We urge you to go to your supermarkets and grocery stores where you usually shop. Buy products from Israel and ask the manager to carry more items from Israel.

Philadelphia ZOA began its "Buy Israel" campaign in 2009. For a list of Israeli food producers and products, email us at [email protected].

Steve Feldman 
Executive director 
Greater Philadelphia District 
Zionist Organization of America

Being Childless Doesn't Mean Being Anti-Jewish

It was disappointing to read that a journalist of Debra Nussbaum Cohen's ability can categorize Jews who are childless by choice as disengaged (Health & Science: "Baby Oneself?", Jan. 12).

On the contrary, when I decided more than 25 years ago that being a parent wasn't a role I wanted, part of that decision was a commitment to find alternative ways to transmit our covenant with the eternal. Since then, I have been deeply involved in synagogue life; have produced books and articles on Jewish subjects; have become a cantor and worked in congregations; and am currently a rabbinical student.

If childless Jews are disengaged from Jewish life, it's in large part due to Jewish institutions that don't see them as fully adult or even fully Jewish -- or treat them as invisible.

If synagogues were more hospitable to childless adults, they would discover a population just as committed to the Jewish future as those who have children.

Cantor Ellen Jaffe-Gill 
Willow Grove

Obama's Bark Seems Lot Worse Than His Bite

I agree in general with the Jewish Exponent's Jan. 12 editorial "Crossing the Red Line?" We have to use every non-military tool in our arsenal to convince Iran that we will not permit them to develop nuclear weapons.

The Exponent quotes Dennis Ross as saying that President Barack Obama would use force to prevent a nuclear Iran and that such capability would cross a red line.

Although these are indeed strong words, I have my doubts about whether they are enough, given Obama's previous lack of action.

Obama has often apologized to foreign countries, especially Iran, for policies formulated 60 years ago, continually extending a hand of friendship, only to have it slapped away.

He has refused to support the Iranian people as they demonstrated against the mullahs and has blamed Israel for the failure of peace in the Middle East.

I suspect that the Iranians have taken the measure of this particular president and believe that his bark is far worse than his bite. Tough words can be effective, but only when there is a belief that to ignore them results in tough actions.

If the past is prelude to the present, words alone will fail.

Steve Heitner 
Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.

Unhappy News About Fate of Hebrew at Temple

Along with Hanoch Guy and others, I lament the decline of Hebrew language courses at Temple University (Cover story: "Temple Set to Cut Hebrew Major, Minor," Jan. 5).

I am fairly certain that I was in the first class in advanced Hebrew which I attended during my senior year (1952-53). There were, perhaps, a half-dozen students in that class.

It appears that the Hebrew program has come full circle. I have noted that the student body at Temple is more diverse than in my days and the percentage of Jewish students much smaller. That may be a factor in the decline of the Hebrew program. Whatever the reason, it's unhappy news.

Rabbi Robert Layman 
Wyncote

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