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Letters Week of March 30, 2011

March 30, 2011
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Omission in Story Was a Grave, Painful Mistake 
The March 3 cover story, "The Flavor of the Place," had an important message, but an upsetting affect on many people. It spoke of how much the Old York Road corridor has to offer Jewish families, yet neglected to mention a key organization discussed by two of the parents.

For example, the vital role that the Gutman Early Learning Center played in their decision to move into this community wasn't even mentioned.

After 26 years of being an active and supportive member of the Mandell Campus Authority and, more recently, the Kehillah of Old York Road, it was very disturbing to see that our role in helping stabilize the Jewish community was not recognized in any way.

How ironic it is that, for more than two decades, this center has provided a significant service to many Jewish communal workers and the Old York Road corridor.

As the organization that administers the center, it appeared that Federation Early Learning Services, which provided 100 years of service to tens of thousands of children and their families, was obliterated by just one article. As it says in the Zohar, "A little hurt from a kin is worse than a big hurt from a stranger." 
Maddy Malis 
President and CEO 
Mary Bert Gutman 
Board member 
Marcia Wasserman 
Board chair 
Gutman Early Learning Center 
Melrose Park

Early Learning Center Sold Family on Region 
I was pleased to be interviewed for the "The Flavor of the Place" article that appeared on the cover of the March 3 issue. It discussed the benefits of the Old York Road corridor to Jewish families.

Yet I was disappointed that you failed to mention the Gutman Early Learning Center, which I spoke of as a major selling point for young Jewish families who want to move to the area.

As a currently employed public-school teacher, it has been the answer to my family's needs. It offers full-day programs for children as young as 6 weeks old and only closes for major holidays.

We love that our children are receiving a secular quality early-childhood education (the program is NAEYC-accredited and Keystone Star 4), while also receiving a rich Jewish education, including Hebrew. It also welcomes children and staff from diverse backgrounds.

My daughter graduated last year and was more than prepared for kindergarten, both socially and academically. My son continues to thrive under the devoted staff in the pre-school classroom, and we have made life-long friendships with the other Gutman families.

I hope this letter will give potential Jewish residents one more reason to choose this wonderful community in which to raise their families. 
Abby Fishman 
Wyncote

Family Foundations Bring Magic of Camp to Kids 
Thank you for publishing the insightful cover story, "Family Foundations Get Innovative" (March 24).

The financial assistance provided by the Venture Philanthropy Group, which involved individual grants from some of the same families now involved in the Venture Philanthropy Partnership, allowed us to open our new Tikvah Family Camp, one that provides children with developmental disorders and/or social learning disorders, their parents and their siblings the opportunity to experience together the magic of Jewish summer camp. This weeklong program provides Jewish educational content, recreation and support for families otherwise not served.

Tikvah Family Camp is one example of many new initiatives at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, such as the Ramah Basketball Academy, Ramah Day Camp and financial incentives for new campers.

Partnering with many individuals and organizations, such as the Venture Philanthropy Group, the Neubauer Family Foundation, the Legacy Heritage Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, helps our community grow. We hope to see many more such partnerships in the future. 
Rabbi Todd Zeff 
Director 
Camp Ramah in the Poconos 
Philadelphia

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