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Letters Week of Nov. 5, 2009

November 5, 2009
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Because You Didn't See It Isn't Proof of Anything

Harry Leibson's spectacularly self-righteous comments on a recent news report about sexual abuse by a rabbi are an example of what is dismally amiss in the contemporary Orthodox world (Letters: " 'Exponent' Owes Rabbi a Very Public Apology," Oct.15).

He insists that "it is against Jewish law to embarrass a rabbi and/or a teacher who was highly respected in the community."

Balderdash!

Leibson's contention goes back to the Mishnah Brurah, whose author, the Chofetz Chaim (1838-1933), in a self-serving ruling, did not allow critical speech -- except when he engaged in it!

Jews are not allowed to insult anyone, including rabbis, for no good reason.

But bad behavior cannot and should not be tolerated, especially in leadership ranks. Ordination is a license to practice Judaism, not to violate it.

Secondly, Leibson reports that his encounters with the alleged sexual abuser, Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt, in Oxford Circle were always on the up and up. On that basis, he appears to suggest that, since he himself did not witness Levitt engaging in any untoward activity, that the rabbi never did so, and therefore is innocent.

Apparently, Leibson is unfamiliar with the rabbinic dictum, Lo raeenu, ayn ra'ayah, which, literally translated, means: "We didn't see, that's not proof."

Rachmiel Gottlieb
Pikesville, Md.

October's Also Domestic Violence Awareness Month

What a fabulous job the Exponent did covering National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But were you also aware that October was also Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

According to Jewish Women International, newspapers underreport domestic violence.

In the United States alone, 4 million to 6 million women are victims of abuse each year.

Domestic violence is more common among women than breast cancer, murder and college graduation -- and yet, the media reports less than 5 percent of these incidents as violence against women.

It's up to journalists to better report incidents and judge the consequences of coverage, thereby better informing readers about the severity of the situation in their communities.

Jackie Burstein 
Elkins Park 

When It Comes to Iran, Don't Forget Deterrence

The nuclear aspirations of Iran create a dangerous situation that threatens to get worse.

However, there is a proven model that effectively served the United States for more than 50 years that may serve well in this situation -- mutually assured destruction.

Israel should declare itself a full nuclear power.

In doing so, it should identify targets within antagonist nations possessing such weapons and advance the following: "Should an identifiable nation detonate a nuclear device in Israeli territory, all the targets in the aggressor nation will be fired upon. Should the aggressor nation not be identifiable, all targets will be fired upon."

This would produce a stalemate, and if maintained long enough, it may bring about conditions for a solution.

Bill Brandley 
Laurel Springs, N.J. 

Author Failed to Dispel Myths on Health Reform

In "What You Need to Know About the U.S. Health Reform Debate" (Oct. 29), author Sammie Moshenberg failed to dispel alleged myths regarding the debate; indeed, her examples proved the accuracy of what she had denied.

· She recognizes that public funds would mandate funding of "at least one plan that offers abortion coverage."

· She recognizes that illegals are not to be provided coverage, but fails to recognize that administrative mechanisms to ensure this exclusion (photo IDs) have themselves been excluded.

· She recognizes that a recent poll reflected support for the public option, but others have found that citizens fear that the reform measures (including government-funded insurance) would result in decreased quality and increased taxes.

Less comprehensive and less risky measures should be weighed, such as interstate insurer competition and equalized taxation effects.

Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. 
Rydal

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