Glad Community's Taken Action on Special Needs
It was such a satisfying experience for me to read Deborah Hirsch's article, "They Want to Be 'B'Side' Those Who Need Help" (City & Suburb, March 17), concerning the much-needed and long-awaited services Jewish Family and Children's Service is now providing to persons with developmental disabilities.
More than 45 years ago, after developing a socialization and recreation program for persons with developmental disabilities in the Philadelphia area (most of whom were Jewish), I met with Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia executives to request that they institute services for this population. The response I received was that it was not the Jewish community's responsibility to develop and fund these social needs, but rather that of the government and the families.
I am glad the community now sees the need for the services that the new B'Side program provides.
Director, Guided Tour, Inc.
Vouchers Aren't Answer, and They're Dangerous
At this time of year, when we recall the story of Purim, we're reminded of the Jewish imperative to speak out against injustice, and about the danger that comes when any one group is singled out by the government for special treatment.
Just like Esther, we have an opportunity to take action to speak out on a policy that harms our communities.
The National Council of Jewish Women remains steadfast in its commitment to ensure that every child has access to free, quality public education. School vouchers are not the means to this end (Cover story: "Do Vouchers Make the Grade?" March 10).
Currently, a devastating school-voucher bill is making its way through the Pennsylvania Senate and House. Make no mistake, by siphoning off limited funds needed for teacher training, to create smaller class sizes and to expand support services, vouchers drain essential resources away from public schools. NCJW believes this endangers the ability of the public-school system to provide an education to all children.
Further, the use of vouchers for parochial schools is tantamount to government funding of sectarian education.
NCJW believes that religious liberty, and the separation of religion and state, are constitutional principles that must be protected and preserved.
National Council of Jewish Women
It's Time to Free Pollard, Plain and Simple
Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has a lot of chutzpah asking favors from President Barack Obama (Editorial: "Time to Free Pollard," March 10). And Henry Kissinger's belated involvement with Jonathan Pollard, after being silent at the time of his sentencing, is a surprise.
But this is beside the point. The fact that Russian, Chinese, Iranian and Libyan agents were released to their respective countries -- some having served no prison time at all -- speaks to Pollard's unfair treatment.
The fact that Caspar Weinberger intervened with Pollard's judge, after a plea-bargain had already secured Pollard's cooperation to achieve Pollard's sentencing and isolation, should inspire protests even from Jewish Republicans.
Israel's involvement with its own agent is understandable, but that's not the reason American Jews should show concern. Pollard's sentencing and continued imprisonment is a simple case of anti-Semitism.
Killing and Murder: Two Very Different Things
I read several articles that mentioned the Fogel family murders in the March 17 issue.
It is difficult enough to read multiple news sources that describe the murder of innocent Israeli citizens by Palestinian terrorists as "killing." I would expect that a paper written by Jews for Jews would know the difference between their brothers' murders and someone being killed.
Get hit by a car and die, you are killed. A terrorist comes into your home on Shabbat and five lives are lost forever -- this is murder!