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Letters week of March 26, 2009
Rabbi Profile Distorts Facts, Divides Community
The Jewish Exponent does the community no favors in its profile of Rabbi Shmuel Jablon ("New Torah Academy Principal Makes a 'Pitch' for Inclusion," March 19).
The Torah Academy community has had the great merit to have at its helm men of great integrity.
Both former leader Rabbi Joshua Levy and current Rabbi Jablon are tremendous lovers of all Jews, regardless of affiliation or denomination.
That the Exponent would have the audacity to even remotely hint that one of these rabbis would be more or less exclusionary at the expense of the other -- and thereby create more strife in our already fragmented community -- is beyond my comprehension.
Would that a Jewish newspaper use the facts to be a community builder, rather than distort facts to be a divider.
Personal Experiences Help Pro-Israel Students
Kudos for your cover story on efforts by young people at college to stand up for the Jewish state ("Pro-Israel Students Meet Intimidation on Campus," March 12).
For the past four years -- until this year -- the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Center on Israel and Overseas, couple with Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, operated a joint program for emerging pro-Israel student leaders on local campuses.
The intensive experience in Netivot and Sedot Negev, our Partnership 2000 region, included living in Israeli homes and doing community service with young Israelis. When our students returned, their transformative experience strengthened their determination and competence for combating much of the intimidation so prevalent on campuses, especially in other parts of North America.
The "living with locals" and "community-service" experiences are basic building blocks for leadership development and creating pro-Israel solidarity on our campuses.
Chair, Israel Campus Coordinating Committee for Greater Philadelphia
Using Embryos for Stem-Cell Research: It's Evil!
Albert Einstein once said that "religion without science is blind, and science without religion is lame."
He was using the word "lame" to explain the unintended consequences that occur when scientific endeavors detach themselves from morality.
For example, producing embryos for the purpose of using them for experiments (Editorial, "Ahead With Research," March 12) is intrinsically evil.
Science has already found ways to harvest stem cells from skin and placental material. There is no need to open the door to destroying that which has been and should remain sacred human life.
When science becomes an end in and of itself -- devoid of morality -- it inevitably turns evil.
Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.
Support Obama's Efforts for Peace in the Mideast
Two months after President Barack Obama took office, we've seen his administration take significant steps to pursue Arab-Israeli peace (Editorial & Opinions: "Was Clinton's First Middle East Foray Good for Israel?" March 12).
President Obama made good on his campaign promise to make dealing with this issue a priority, as demonstrated by the calls he made to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on his first full day in office.
He named George Mitchell, the architect of the peace accord in Northern Ireland, to serve as his special envoy for Middle East peace.
He ended the Bush administration's stubborn refusal to engage with Syria diplomatically. In fact, two senior Obama administration officials have just returned from a visit to Damascus.
This is a truly promising start. President Obama's actions speak of a determination to deal seriously with the challenge of Arab-Israeli peacemaking in our time.
He deserves our support and encouragement.