Story on Gays Sadly Misses the Whole Point
The cover story on Orthodox Judaism's position on homosexual conduct ("Orthodox Stand Firm on Some Gay Issues," Oct. 14) misses the point.
Both the headline and text imply that Orthodox Judaism and Torah-true Judaism are conflicted by opposing homosexual conduct, and incorrectly implies a support of violence against homosexuals.
The Torah is quite clear in its condemnation of homosexual conduct. It labels such conduct as "an abomination." The reasons for this prohibition are many -- and beyond the capacity of quick sound bites.
While the Torah's prohibition on sexual behavior is clear, nowhere does the Torah tell Jews to treat homosexuals with violence. While none of us understand why the Almighty has created some Jews with urges to perform homosexual acts, no Jew doubts the wisdom of the Almighty, and no Jew is empowered to treat another Jew with violence.
The Law Wouldn't Single Out Jewish Students
Aaron Finestone got it wrong when he said in his letter ("No Need to Ask for Any Sort of Special Protection," Oct. 14) that the proposed legislation to amend Title VI of the Civil Rights Act would be "singling out" Jewish students for "special protection."
In fact, the legislation would expand Title VI to guarantee all religious groups the same protections that are already afforded to racial and ethnic groups such as African-Americans and Hispanics.
In addition, the legislation wouldn't interfere with anyone's constitutional rights.
It would simply require that federally funded colleges and universities respond to religious harassment and discrimination to the same extent that they are already required to respond to harassment and discrimination based on "race, color, or national origin."
Susan B. Tuchman
Director, Center for Law and Justice
Zionist Organization of America
Article Wisely Highlighted Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
Many thanks for bringing to light the significantly higher risk of pancreatic cancer that occurs among Ashkenazi Jews (Special Supplement: "Fighting Cancer," Oct. 7). This disease has the lowest survival rate among the top 10 cancer-killers in the United States.
My wonderful sister lost her life to pancreatic cancer, barely six months after a diagnosis.
Because pancreatic cancer research has been woefully underfunded, there are no detection tools and only limited treatment for some patients. Through advocating for more research, providing patient support and building community awareness, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network helps create hope for everyone affected by this deadly disease.
Our Philadelphia Affiliate, which has many Ashkenazi Jewish members, welcomes volunteers to help in this fight (log on to: www.pancan.org ).
Writer All Wrong About Today's Hebrew Schools
A letter in the Oct.7 issue ("Nostalgia for Northeast Hits at High Holidays") was from a gentleman who shared happy memories of his youth at Oxford Circle Jewish Community Center in Northeast Philadelphia. However, he ended his letter by stating, "I wish that caliber of education still existed today at the local Hebrew-school level."
I am in my 10th year as a religious-school educator, and I take some offense at his remark.
Granted, many of us who went to religious school during the 1960s and '70s couldn't wait to get out. I hated it. My brother hated it. My husband hated it.
In fact, I became a teacher because I wanted my own children to have a different experience than I had had.
I work at two religious schools today, at Beth Sholom in Elkins Park and Kol Emet in Yardley. I spend hours each week preparing materials and lesson plans. Our textbooks are colorful and interesting.
But most of all, we teachers have been told to create an environment of love and warmth so that the children will come to think of synagogue as a second home, a safe haven.