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Letters Week of March 10, 2011
Wonderful Article About a Really Wonderful Place
Thank you for your cover article about Elkins Park and the Old York Road corridor ("The Flavor of the Place," March 3).
We moved here more than 10 years ago when -- as Modern Orthodox Jews who have an open and embracing approach regarding the entire Jewish community -- we began feeling marginalized in our previous Jewish community.
It is most important to note another feature of the Old York Road region. Truth be told, our family does not fully fit in any one place as a result of our Torah u'Madah orientation (combining Jewish and secular knowledge and living). We feel we have a moral imperative to work for human rights on many levels.
Here in Elkins Park, we feel embraced, validated and valued. To be sure, there are venues in which we do not openly share our thinking, but the important point is that there are groups and places in which our "gray-zone thinking" is accepted and valued.
For example, our youngest child is a student at Cheltenham High School (after having been exclusively a day-school family for many years), and is happy and challenged there. I home-school our son in Jewish studies so that he can participate in our wonderful educational system and the larger community.
We often talk about klal Yisrael -- the notion that all Jews are part of one community -- but more often than not, we do not live this important value.
In Elkins Park, one can -- and does.
Dr. Saundra Sterling Epstein
It's a 'Secret Gem,' Just Right for Family Living
It's not too often that I see an article in the Jewish Exponent that talks about Cheltenham Township and its surrounding areas, but this past week, I was thrilled to see two of them ("The Flavor of the Place" and "Two Jews Meet in a Storefront ... " March 3). Now the secret is out -- Cheltenham Township is a secret gem, a great place to bring up a Jewish family.
We moved here 13 years ago, and with three children in public school, we can't be more thrilled. It's a neighborhood, not just a place to live. It has so much to offer: tree-lined streets, friendly and caring neighbors, easy access to downtown and the airport, an abundance of amenities and services, and most of all, we appreciate each other's diversity.
I also wanted to elaborate on the importance of Ramah Day Camp being located nearby and the Jewish sports leagues. My kids thrived at camp in the summer, and it was such an easy transition to Ramah in the Poconos. And while it's not common for kids to have Jewish sports leagues, here in Cheltenham Township, we have two!
We have wonderful Jewish programming everywhere you look, in part thanks to the Kehillah of Old York Road.
'Exponent' Story Got Tone of J Street Event Wrong
The Feb. 26 J Street event reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in the March 3 Jewish Exponent (Nation & World: "For J Streeters, Pro-Palestinian Is Pro-Israel") does not describe the event I attended.
The overriding focus of the conference was peace for Israel, not pro-Palestinian issues. The 2,400 attendees of all ages (including 500 college students) believe that Israel's security as a Jewish and democratic state can only be achieved through her neighbors.
J Street Is Pro-Israel Like War Is Pro-Peace
In your coverage of the J Street conference (Nation & World: "For J Streeters, Pro-Palestinian Is Pro-Israel," March 3), many attendees explained that they think of themselves as pro-Israel and in favor of Palestinian rights, U.S. pressure on Israel, economic sanctions on Israel, an uprising of the Israeli people against their own government, and boycotting and divesting.
I can only conclude that most J Streeters would be right at home in the infamous Ministry of Truth.
J Street is pro-Israel like "war is peace," "freedom is slavery" and "ignorance is strength."
Mathieu J. Shapiro