It's a Wonderful Tradition With Medical Benefits
Concerning your recent article on circumcision (City & Suburb: "Debate Over Circumcision Resonates Locally," Aug.9), medicine has allowed this ceremony to stand the test of time. Recently, the medical benefits of circumcision have been gaining attention, as was noted in the article.
As a pediatrician/mohel, I am contacted often about the medical benefits and risks of circumcision. My answer is that the health benefits are many and outweigh the risks.
This is the position that the American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded in its recently released updated policy statement.
Medicine is driven by risk versus benefit, and one has to believe that God knew that removal of the foreskin of the penis was less of a risk than removing an eye or an ear to symbolize a man's entry in Judaism.
I fully respect a family's decision to circumcise their son -- or not. And gladly, I find more often than not, they decide to continue this wonderful tradition to circumcise for religious and medical reasons.
A High School by Any Other Name Would Be ...
I started to read your Aug. 23 cover story, "Girls High Has a Place of Its Own," with anticipation until I realized that it was not about what most Philadelphians call "Girls High."
The Philadelphia High School for Girls is an institution that is starting its 166th year, and has been known as Girls' High for more than a century. It has coexisted with many other high schools for girls in this area, but it's the only one tagged with this name.
New Charter School Had a Slight Error in Its Sign
I read the Jewish Exponent weekly on the Internet. I found the article on the new Solomon Charter School (Cover story: "This Charter Will Also Be Cyber," Aug. 23) interesting and was impressed by the sign.
That is, till I read it. The Hebrew is incorrect. Instead of an "s" as the first letter of the third word referring to Solomon, the Hebrew equivalent to the letter "m" appears.
The error is unfortunate as the correct letter "s" appears as the initial letter of the preceding word "sefer." Hopefully, this error will be corrected quickly.
Rabbi Shalom Bronstein
Israelis Do Need Help Understanding Diaspora
A recent article by Knesset member Faina Kirshenbaum (Editorial & Opinions: "Israeli Lawmakers Need to Understand Diaspora Life," Aug. 16) included her explanation of why she feels the Jews in the Diaspora are so important to Israel. She didn't, however, reflect on the fact that without the Diaspora there would probably be no Jews at all.
She speaks of assimilation in the United States and comments on hostility she experienced in Boston. She doesn't explain it, but I suspect she encountered Jewish citizens whose sympathies lie with Israel but whose allegiance is to the United States, an attitude with which I heartily agree.
She also makes an unfounded assumption that assimilated Jews will intermarry in large numbers and their children will not be Jewish. In my experience, admittedly small, many interfaith couples bring up their children in the Jewish tradition, which provides a net gain.
I realize many Jewish Americans view Israel as our 51st state and I certainly hope American Jews support Israel as best they can; but any place you need a passport to enter is still a foreign country.
Ralph D. Bloch