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Letters Week of May 9, 2013

May 8, 2013
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Sporting Events No Substitute for Jewish Life

In the final section of the Exponent article on young Jewish athletes (Cover story: “Junior Athletes Launch Season of Competition,” May 2), one mother is quoted as saying that having her children participate in the JCC Mid-Atlantic Junior Maccabi Games for ages 10-12 will show them who they are.

These children, by their mother’s admission, are not enrolled in Hebrew school and are being trained for their B’nai Mitzvah by a private tutor. So by implication, this family probably does not belong to a synagogue.

I certainly applaud every young Jewish athlete who competes in any of the games. However, I believe this experience is no substitute for what will really help show our young children who they are. They need to attend Hebrew school through high school, and ideally continue taking Jewish courses in college where as young adults they might better appreciate what they learn.

They must become members of a synagogue and attend services. They must participate in Jewish observances at home — Shabbat dinners, performing rituals such as Havdalah, being at a Pesach seder, and so on. Attending a Jewish camp is also a great way to learn who they are in a non-hostile environment, where they will most likely make friends with other Jews.

There is a difference between being a Jewish American (someone who lives in America and happens to be Jewish) and an American Jew (someone who lives his or her life as a Jew — and happens to be living that life in America). Children who only participate in Jewish sporting events may grow up to be great Jewish Americans, but not necessarily committed Jews.

Alvin Stern | Cherry Hill, N.J.

Don’t Forget Chabad Student Center at Drexel

As a graduate of Drexel University, I am very pleased to see the university taking such a proactive role in the Jewish community on campus, as reported in the April 25 Exponent article, “Drexel Plans to Build New Center for Jewish Life.”

It didn’t seem from the article, however, that Drexel took into account the thriving Chabad facility, the Rohr Jewish Student Center. Rabbi Chaim and Mrs. Moussia Goldstein have only been on campus a few years, but they have brought a revolution to Jewish life for Drexel students. They provide programming nearly every day of the week, including Shabbat dinners, Torah classes and so much more.They even introduced the first kosher meal plan in Drexel’s history. The number of students attending Chabad events just keeps growing.

I would hope the university will work with Chabad, as well as Hillel, to make the proposed Center for Jewish Life a true success.

Pesach Wellerstein | Drexel University Class of ’05

Who Else Knows About Israeli Expertise?

The article about the advances at the Hadassah Medical Center made me so proud to be a Hadassah member (“What Boston Hospitals Learned From Israeli Expertise,” April 25). If the world really was advised about what Israeli doctors have contributed to medical communities worldwide, perhaps they would think more kindly of Israel and its people.

Israel needs better PR. I am sure that doctors around the world know of Israel’s medical advances — but who else does?

Gloria Gelman | Philadelphia
 

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