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Letters Week of Sep. 20, 2007
Museum Speaks of Past, Present and Future
Jonathan Tobin's column (A Matter of Opinion: "Golden Ticket to Oblivion," Aug. 30) advocating increased funding for Jewish day schools is well taken, but his gratuitous attack on the National Museum of American Jewish History was unfortunate.
Tobin clearly doesn't understand the dynamic role the museum will play in furthering Jewish education in the nation and worldwide.
Education is key to the mission of the museum. A significant component of the museum will be the Institute for American Jewish Education. Both our on-site and our distance-learning programs will use the latest in communication and Internet technology to provide resources, activities and support to educators, students, individuals and families.
Furthermore, these distance-learning programs will allow Jewish children (and adults) who live in small communities that cannot support a day school or synagogue of any sort to have access to the same kinds of educational materials and curriculum available at the finest schools.
Our aim is not presented as "a dodge," as Tobin suggests. The museum is not going to supplant Jewish day schools. Nor are we going to compete with them. Working in tandem, however, we can ensure that children will be provided an unparalleled Jewish education and experience.
Tobin also refers to museums as "monuments to our past." This museum will not only tell the story of our past, but will also be devoted to current events and important ongoing issues in the U.S. Jewish community, such as the state of Jewish day-school education.
With only 35 percent of the Jews in America being affiliated, one would hope that you would celebrate a museum whose focus is to educate Jews (and non-Jews) about how America has shaped their lives, communities and livelihoods, while also exploring how Jews helped shape America.
The new National Museum of American Jewish History is dedicated to keeping Jewish culture alive and giving a new generation a greater appreciation of its heritage.
George M. Ross
Co-chairs, Board of Trustees
Executive director/CEO National Museum of American Jewish History
Time to Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
If it's Rosh Hashanah, then it must be time for yet another article or editorial bemoaning the fact that Jewish day-school education is too expensive and has effectively excluded the middle class (A Matter of Opinion: "Golden Ticket to Oblivion," Aug. 30).
We had to pull our own two kids out of a local day school this year after fourth and second grade because of the exorbitant cost, even with generous yet insufficient financial aid.
Wishing won't do it. The organized Jewish community must stop talking about it and take concrete, sustained action.
It will be too late for us, but maybe not for others.
CNN 'Warrior' Program: Skewed From the Get-Go!
I watched all three of Christiane Amanpour's specials on "God's Warriors"(Editorial: "CNN 'Warriors' Program Crosses the Line," Aug. 30).
It was especially apparent to me that in "God's Jewish Warriors" there was a deliberate "picking and choosing" of the most biased and anti-Israel commentators.
I believe that Amanpour's aim was to slander and sully Israel and Jewish Americans. She "cherry-picked" the most hostile anti-Israel guests that she could find.
I was appalled when she presented John Mearsheimer denouncing the "Israel Lobby." This man is a disgrace to academia, and a liar and slanderer of the highest order. No matter, the powerful lobby canard is still popular with latent and overt Jew-haters. Former President Jimmy Carter falls into the same category.
The pictures Amanpour selected, of a formal fundraising party for Israel, permitted her to make her snide comment about the "diamonds" being the warriors in the room. This was said, of course, to paint the Jews as show-offs and wealthy, aiming to create resentment.
I doubt if she'd make the same prejudicial comments about any other formal party attended by any other group of people. We know she did not show Arabs at casinos or parties, dripping with gold and diamond jewelry, because that was not part of her agenda.
Roberta E. Dzubow
Outreach to Islamist Group Bad for Community
I was embarrassed and disgusted when I read that Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, spoke earlier this month at a conference of the Islamic Society of North America (Cover Story: " 'The Time Has Come' " Sept. 6).
According to the article, Rabbi Yoffie decried Islamophobia, but hardly mentioned anti-Semitism. He called upon the U.S. government to stop discriminating against Muslims, but failed to urge his Muslim audience to clearly, loudly (and in English and Arabic) call upon Muslim co-religionists to condemn Muslim acts of hatred and terror.
There is ample evidence that ISNA has troubling ties to Saudi-backed radical Islamist individuals and organizations.
It is through organizations like ISNA that the Saudis and their proxies, with their militant anti-Jewish, anti-Christian and anti-Western brand of Islam, are able, among other things, to determine who serves as the imams in the mosques; decree what materials are distributed there; and provide the anti-Jewish, anti-Christian and anti-Western textbooks used to teach in mosque schools.
While the rabbi's purpose may have been outreach, the fact is that ISNA was formed to marginalize and intimidate the very moderate Muslims to whom Rabbi Yoffie's message was seemingly directed.
When leaders of the community lend legitimacy to such groups, they only assist those who seek to deprive us of our way of life, liberty and values.
That certainly does not serve the interests of this nation or the Jewish community.