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Letters week of June 3, 2010
Two Critics Don't Answer Writer's Major Question
Neither person who attacked Chana Rovinsky for her letter, published in the May 6 Jewish Exponent, actually answered the question she raised: Why are groups supporting the right of people to come to our country illegally?
The first writer, Richard Saunders (Letters, May 13), insults the memories of those German Jews who where stopped for their papers -- and probably ended up dead -- by comparing them to people who have committed a crime by coming to our country illegally. If our country has no say about who comes here, then we are no longer a sovereign nation.
The second writer, Paul Root Wolpe (Letters, May 27), quotes statistics, but he, too, doesn't provide an answer.
For the sake of argument, let's say that for every 100,000 Americans, 1,000 will commit a crime per year, and that this number holds true for illegal immigrants also. If there are, as reported, 6 million illegals in this country, that translates into an extra 60,000 crimes committed in the United States every 12 months. If you were a victim of one of those 60,000 extra crimes, you might view illegal immigration differently.
So stop with the platitudes, and admit that the only country on this planet that is told it cannot refuse entry across its borders to anyone is the United States.
So why is there all this support for this illegal activity?
Take That Travel Plunge; You'll Definitely Like It
What a coincidence that the May 20 travel page of the Jewish Exponent featured Queenstown, New Zealand ("Taking the Plunge in Queenstown") since my grandson, Torey, was there recently on spring break while studying at New South Wales University in Sydney, Australia.
Torey participated in the Nevis bungy-jumping and, of course, the family was all upset after watching a video of it. I had never seen it done before, and I certainly hope never to see one of our family ever do it again.
But then again, you're only young once!
The Goal: Engage Young in Broad Discussion
Peter Beinart's indictment of Israel and the American Jewish establishment that defends it may be a misdirected reflection of his own politics and an attempt to garner support for his reading of the Israel-Palestine conflict (Israel & Mideast: "Scholar Pins Thesis to the Synagogue Door," May 27).
However wrong his conclusions may be, his initial observations concerning the passivity of the younger generation toward Israel -- and the dissonance they experience between their "progressive" social values and those which they perceive as representing Israel -- are on target and need to be considered seriously.
The appropriate response to Beinart's opening observations should be neither to mount unbridled criticism of Israel's approach to its Arab citizens and its neighboring states, nor to shut down a healthy discussion of its defensive measures.
Rather, in order to engage young Jews, we need to provide them opportunities to experience and discuss all things that are part of Israel, including its rambunctious politics, edgy expression in the arts and healthy civil society.
We need to bring them to Israel and to bring Israel to them in all its raw, unrefined form. We need to allow them the chance to learn about the Jewish state for themselves, and to reflect upon what they have learned in an environment that respects their intelligence and validates their values.
In short, we need to engage them with the love, patience and respect that is due them as the inheritors of our Jewish heritage and community.
Rabbi Howard Alpert
Executive director, Hillel of Greater Philadelphia