Letters Week of June 18, 2009

Day Schools Achieve More Than Just Scholastics

I agree with David Magerman's piece ("An Investment for the Future — Specifically, the Jewish Future," June 11) in which he endorses a communal plan by which the Philadelphia Jewish community will collectively support Jewish education, primarily day schools.

As a rising sophomore at a Modern Orthodox day school, I have come to feel more connected to klal Yisrael (the Jewish people as a whole) than I did before entering this institution.

For instance, this past January, during the Gaza war, I went with my entire high school to Washington, D.C., to participate in a pro-Israel rally.

As a member of the next generation of Jews, I can guarantee, based on my own experience, that collective support of day schools will not only contribute to klal Yisrael, but help ensure the survival and continuity of the Jewish people.
Nathan Weissler
Chevy Chase, Md.

Seems Homeland Security Had It Right All Along
With regard to Stephen Tyrone Johns, the slain security guard at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, what is the process for obtaining recognition for a Righteous Gentile at Yad Vashem for this heroic officer? This seems like a fitting memorial.

Now for the ugly politics.

Several weeks ago, Homeland Security issued a report warning of a potentially serious uptick in extremist, politically motivated, domestic violence. The GOP criticized Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and got her to dial the report back a bit.

Seems like, in light of Scott Roeder (Dr. George R. Tiller's assassin in the recent abortion-clinic attack in Wichita, Kan.) and James von Brunn at the Holocaust museum, the Department of Homeland Security had it right the first time, and the GOP — in its role as apologists and enablers of extremists — got it wrong.
Richard Saunders
Eagleville, Pa.

A Plea for Information That Might Save a Life
I am writing on behalf of my wife, Stephanie, to ask for help in an urgent matter.

Two years ago, barely a month after we were married, Stephanie, at age 39, became severely disabled with an auto-immune disease (in which the body attacks itself). Since then, she has either been bedridden or wheelchair-bound, and has not responded to any medications.

We are trying to locate her birth father, Jeffrey Schwartz, whose parents were Harry and Ruth Schwartz of Philadelphia. Jeffrey was a teacher and has one brother. He was married to Stephanie's mother, Evita Rosenblatt, on Dec. 25, 1966; the couple later divorced.

The doctors hope that Jeffrey will have some clues as to Stephanie's illness, which is genetic.

If any of your readers can help us locate him or any member of his family, we will truly be grateful.

We can be reached in Atlanta at 404-664-9440 or by e-mail at: [email protected]
Simon Menkes

Attachment to Ship's Not Confined to One Man
I enjoyed the June 11 story about Irwin Schmuckler's attachment to "Big Mo," better known as the USS Missouri. I have one, too.

I put down the first two keel plates of Mo while working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1942. I stood with Navy Secretary James Forrestal, Adm. Ernest J. King and several junior naval officers who wore welders' gloves as they pushed buttons to activate a compression rivet machine to fasten the two keel plates together.

May I suggest to Mr. Schmuckler that he visit the "Big J," the Battleship New Jersey, now housed on the Camden waterfront. The two ships are identical, made from the same blueprints. The Iowa and the Missouri were built in New York; the New Jersey and the Wisconsin were built in Philadelphia at its naval shipyard.

The New Jersey has more than 200 volunteers who continually work to keep her in shape. Until this year, I worked as a docent on the ship, taking visitors on tours, and trying to pass on some bits of World War II history.

I worked on the Missouri and the Iowa until June 1943. I then served in the Air Force.
Arthur Hill
Sent via e-mail



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