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November 29, 2011
Letters Week of Nov. 29, 2011
Duo Really 'Open for All Ideas'? He Begs to Differ
Montgomery County Commissioner-elect Leslie Richards is quoted in the Nov. 17 City & Suburb article, "Jews Alter Political Landscape," as saying: "... the county is ready for commissioners who are open for all ideas and just a real common-sense approach to county government."
We definitely are, though I didn't realize we were not previously. I only hope Richards and running mate Josh Shapiro are willing to deliver on that, but I doubt it.
Every one of their campaign ads ridiculed their opponent Jenny Brown for "meeting with Tea Party Representatives," even calling her "Tea Party Jenny Brown."
How are we to believe that the Shapiro/Richards team will, in fact, listen to all ideas (since they obviously have contempt for anyone who is either a Tea Party activist or is sympathetic to the cause)?
I'm not really sure what is so outrageous about fiscally responsible government. Perhaps the Shapiro/Richards team identify more with the Occupy movement. Time will tell.
Uriah Levy's Mother Rests on Grounds of Monticello
As an addition to Brian Schwartzman's Nov. 23 cover story on Uriah Levy, "U.S. Commodore Comes Ashore," it should be noted that Levy's mother, Rachel, is buried on a path in Monticello. Her grave is marked with a Jewish gravestone in a dedicated plot.
The history of Monticello is fascinating. It continued under the ownership of Uriah's nephew, Jefferson Levy, until he sold the property to a non-profit organization that is charged with continuing and maintaining the estate.
Dozens of Heroes Were Honored at Synagogue
Concerning the story "Redemption for Vet Who Saw War's Horrors" (Reflections, Nov. 10), it is not often that one gets to actually see and honor a true hero in person, let alone dozens of them.
But that is exactly what an audience of more than 300, including 75 students, experienced firsthand on Nov. 13 at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in Wynnewood during a moving program to honor camp liberators, POWs and veterans from the U.S. military, the Israel Defense Forces and the Russian army.
The program, the brainchild of Ed Snyder, recognized the service and heroism of 30 men and women who have defended liberty and freedom.
Unfortunately, the liberators, who are in their mid-80s and 90s, are an all-too-fast vanishing breed who will no longer be around to testify in person to the atrocities they witnessed.
The event's featured speaker was Arthur Seltzer of Cherry Hill, N.J., who, when still a teenager, liberated Dachau. Believing it was an ordinary POW camp, he and his fellow soldiers had no idea what to expect. He called it "a sight you could not believe someone could do to another person."
What he saw and witnessed firsthand was mind-numbing: ashes from the crematorium, mass graves, starving inmates, many like walking skeletons, in thin pajamas or naked. Some 3,700 prisoners were liberated that day.
Seltzer said that when he returned from the war he had no intentions of speaking about his experiences, but when his granddaughter was a fifth-grader and had a homework assignment about the Holocaust, which is mandatory education in New Jersey -- he hopes it will soon be the case nationally -- and volunteered him to speak to her class, he could not let her down. He has been speaking ever since.
Seltzer ended his presentation by saying that he hopes his story will never be forgotten. That is clearly our job now. We need to be inspired by these heroes.
Israel Advocacy Committee
Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El