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Letters week of Jan. 21, 2010
Speaking Up When an Old Hatred Rears Its Head
I read with interest Michael Elkin's piece titled "And a Happy New Year -- With Old Biases?" (City & Suburb, Dec. 31). He is indeed to be commended for speaking up when individuals resort to anti-Semitism.
I have found myself in this situation numerous times, but have always been reluctant to say anything.
Ironically, the people making the comments did learn afterwards that I was Jewish and did apologize. I felt it was "too little, too late."
As Mr. Elkin said in the article: "Sorry is a sorry word."
Similarly, I have heard people speak in a derogatory tone about "JAPS," which I find most offensive. On those occasions, I have said something, making it clear that I felt these remarks were anti-Semitic.
I do think we must embarrass these thoughtless, bigoted people just as Mr. Elkin did.
Try a Little Judaism; He's Certain You'll Like It
This is an open letter being directed at Jewish Exponent letter-writer Alex Cohen ("Just What Is the Problem With Intermarriage?" Jan. 7).
I'd like to offer him an invitation to join us any Shabbat morning at the Lower Merion Synagogue. We would like to show him the fun we all have in the expression of our amazing heritage.
Just walk in and ask for me. There's a seat waiting for you.
He Wasn't Asking to Be Thanked for Intermarrying
It's revealing that letter-writer Nanette Scriftman felt it necessary to attack me personally (Letters: "Why Should We Thank Him for Ditching Judaism?" Jan. 14).
First, I never asked to be thanked for "disavowing" my faith. I asked to be thanked because my intermarriage was a gain, not a loss, for Judaism.
The truth is, you can't preserve a people based on something as flimsy as a common heritage and a few half-hearted rituals. If you live in the melting pot, you are eventually going to melt.
The only future for Judaism is in keeping out of that enticing pot by way of separateness and a strict adherence to religion. If you care about Jewish continuity, join the Orthodox, live separately, and try and get others to join you.
If you don't do that, then you are as much to blame for Jewish discontinuity as is someone who marries a non-Jew. The marriage police need to accept the fact that it doesn't matter who a non-observant Jew marries because his or her kids are likely to intermarry. And if the kids don't, their grandkids surely will.
Preserving a non-observant Jewishness in America is as much a fool's errand as trying to preserve Italian-ness or Greek-ness.
It's just not possible.
Jewishness can only survive as it has always survived -- through separateness and strict adherence to religion.
And no, I'm not a hypocrite for reading the Jewish Exponent.
A common heritage is good reason to read a paper.
It's just not a good enough reason to choose a life partner.
How Can They Consider Sainthood for This Man?
Sainthood for the pope who supposedly was silent during the Shoah, but in reality, was an active participant who benefited from his choices?
Here are a few relevant facts: The Catholic Church actively searched out, and then converted, Jewish children during the Holocaust.
(I know the truth of this: Two of my cousins were converted.)
And consider the case of Father Dragonovic, a Croatian priest who organized what was called the "Rat Line" -- the escape route for Nazi war criminals to shuttle them into countries like Argentina, Egypt and Syria.
These Nazis were moved surreptitiously from church to monastery to church, and then to their last hiding place before leaving Europe: Castel Gondolfo, the summer residence of the pope!
So, was Pius XII just silent, or did his silence mean something more? As they say, does a bear do his business in the woods?