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Letters the Week of July 3, 2013
Latino, Jewish Leaders Unite on Public Ed
When leaders from the Latino and Jewish communities met recently to discuss issues of mutual concern, it took little time to adopt “A Statement of Latino and Jewish Joint Purpose and Action” on an issue of pressing concern: appropriate funding for public education (Cover stories: “The Crisis of Public Education,” June 27).
For many of us, it was a special teacher that helped to fuel our passion and bolster our courage during elementary and middle school years when we were scared of everything — especially what we might achieve.
And for many of us, we found that it was art, music, a sport, an extracurricular or an after-school activity that gave us a place to shine when the mysteries of calculus eluded us. With the austerity budget the School Reform Commission was forced to adopt last month, the very things that helped us to succeed were eliminated. In the words of the Talmud, “Knowledge acquired in childhood is not soon forgotten.”
This realization propelled the Latino-Jewish Coalition, a project of the American Jewish Committee, to do all it can to support those leaders who share this concern for our children facing school next year with their favorite teacher gone, their favorite activity cut.
Without appropriate funding for public education, the American dream becomes a nightmare, and the ladder to success for the next generation is kicked out from under them.
Honorable Nelson Diaz and Sally Cooper Bleznak | Co-chairs, Latino-Jewish Coalition
Pedro Ramos and Alan Wohlstetter | Education subcommittee co-chairs
Reaching Out to Groups Can Bear Fruit
I do not believe that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic per se, although there are undoubtedly individual members who are (“Philly-Based Quaker Group Criticized for BDS Camp,” June 27). Nevertheless, to the extent that well-meaning Jewish, Christian and Muslim BDS advocates believe in a one-state solution in which Israeli Jews and West Bank and Gaza Arabs would live in peace and harmony in a pluralistic democracy, they are delusional.
However, unlike Gary Erlbaum, I think that outreach by the Jewish community to the American Friends Service Committee and others in the BDS movement can bear fruit. If there is a strong argument to be made for Israel, and I certainly think there is, then we should make that argument directly to BDS supporters to free them from their delusions. Beyond that, supporters of Israel should be presenting those same pro-Israel arguments to the general population to prevent as many new advocates of BDS as possible.
Steve Mendelsohn | Penn Valley
Parshah Offers Insight Into High Court Decisions
As we read the news about the issues of homosexual marriage and potential anti-abortion legislation, and assess our feelings, we can be inspired by Parshah Pinchas and Rabbi Adam Zeff’s d’var Torah (“How Humans, Torah Interact Over Time,” June 27).
For those who insist they know what God wants and that everyone else should trust them, let me suggest for them to re-read the portion along with this d’var Torah, specifically the second half. Perhaps some other opinions open up as a result.
Maurice Feldman | Wyncote