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Letters Week of June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009
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Story Misconstrued Goals of Program at Har Zion

The cover story "Confirming Their Future" by Melissa Jacobs, which appeared in the May 28 Jewish Exponent, misrepresented the attitude and philosophy of our clergy, principals and lay leadership toward Jewish education at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley.

As vice president of education and youth at Har Zion, I found it distressing that the opening to the narrative about our Hebrew High School program began with the phrase, "But that would not fly at Har Zion," implying that we are spending our time and effort trying to feel superior to other programs, rather than doing the job of educating our teens.

As every person quoted in the article points out, it is extremely difficult to engage our teens in Jewish education considering all of the other demands on their time. Every program cited is creatively trying to interest young people in their community.

I wish that Ms. Jacobs would have kept sight of the real issue we all face, which is making sure our children maintain their connection to their Jewish heritage, as well as the fact that there are, fortunately, numerous programs out there trying to do this in creative and substantial ways.

Michele S. Levin
Bala Cynwyd


The President Has Done His Best to Betray Israel

Congratulations to the Jewish Exponent for its June 4 editorial, "It's Not the Settlements," which states that "President Obama's current obsession over the Jewish settlements is misguided."

While most Jewish groups have been silent, the Exponent's editorial page has stood in support for Israel's survival.

The president's appeasement of Iran and the betrayal of Israel is helping prepare the ground for a new Holocaust.

What will it take for American Jews to stand up and be counted?

The time is fast approaching for us to decide between loyalty to Obama, or to Israel and Jewish survival.

I am waiting for Jewish lawmakers in Washington -- Sens. Arlen Specter and Frank Lautenberg, and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, in particular -- to take a position.

Or are they slavishly bound to a president who now views Israel as a liability in making peace with the Muslim world?

Julius Hochberg
Philadelphia


It's Time to Stop Insanity and End the Settlements!

It was with chagrin that I read your editorial criticizing President Obama's "current obsession" over West Bank settlements as "misguided" ("It's Not the Settlements," June 4).

Once again, the Jewish Exponent has proven itself out of touch with the Jewish mainstream in espousing the viewpoint of the conservative right, led by AIPAC and the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The continued growth of the West Bank settlements is a constant thumb in the collective eye of the Palestinians, and is an impediment to peace.

It has been more than 30 years since Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin shook hands on the White House lawn.

The past three decades have been an endless cycle of Palestinian terrorism, violence and bloodshed, followed by incursions of Israeli tanks, troops and bulldozers into West Bank cities and Gaza, causing further bloodshed, death and destruction.

President Obama is trying to break through to all sides in this conflict, to show that the old way of doing things -- through force, conflict and violence -- has failed miserably, and that it's time to try a new approach.

He states obvious truths: There can be no peace unless the extremist groups Hamas and Hezbollah recognize Israel's right to exist and stop all violence; that Israel must halt settlement expansion in the West Bank; and that Gaza and the West Bank will formulate and then establish a Palestinian state to exist side by side with Israel.

President Obama does not have an obsession with the settlements; rather, he might be obsessed with the utter futility and failed strategies of the recent past.

David C. Federman
Penn Valley

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