Letters week of Feb. 26, 2009



Barrack Education Covers All Types of Students

I take strong exception to the letter by Edward S. Snyder ("Omission in Story Points to a Significant Problem," Feb. 19).

The student body at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy encompasses a wide range of learners. Though I am not sure what Mr. Snyder means by "average," our goal is to assure that students can manage a rigorous, bi- and trilingual program with eight major subjects in a college preparatory/leadership-training atmosphere.

While we are proud of the 25 percent of our senior class recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, we also are proud of the 100 percent college-admissions record our students have earned during the past six decades.

We are immensely grateful for the annual budget allocation by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Yet it represents a relatively small percentage of our budget.

In recent years, more and more tuition-aid funds have been made available for clergy and families in general. More than 33 percent of our students receive merit scholarship and tuition aid, funded by 12 percent of our total budget.

In this time of economic uncertainty, we are committed to assuring that every student at Barrack remains at Barrack. New resources have been generated to make our education available to more families from all economic backgrounds.

Steven M. Brown
Head of school Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy

Calling All Local Leaders: Help the Kosher Eaters!

Regarding "Glendale Home to Drop Kosher-Meal Preparation" (Feb. 12), as the person responsible for calling this to the attention of the Jewish Exponent, I must offer comment.

My mother (a resident of the home) lived her whole 79 years in Philadelphia. Her parents' families were founders and supporters of the Jewish community, who struggled to be Sabbath-observant and eat kosher food in those times.

They understood the fact that a vibrant and viable Jewish community can only exist if it has the necessary supports — places of worship, schools, Jewish community centers, kosher establishments, funeral homes and cemeteries, and indeed, nursing-care facilities.

Glendale, with more than 75 percent of residents Jewish, has provided quality care to the community's elderly, disabled and seriously ill for decades.

But as Rabbi Abraham Novitsky (my father) and Rabbi Isaac Leizerowski attempted to stress, food there is either kosher or not. Kosher-style is a deceptive and misleading term.

I appeal to our leaders and philanthropists: Let's try to reverse this detrimental new policy. Let's show that we are able to provide a complete Jewish existence from birth till death.

Deena Novitsky Spindler
New York, N.Y.

Hit Chavez Right Where It Hurts — in His Pocket!

Now that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has seen fit to be the cheerleader for the anti-Israel jabbering horde by expelling the Israeli envoy — Ambassador Shlomo Cohen — to his country over the war with Hamas in Gaza, we Americans should avoid using any of Venezuela's solely owned Citgo oil or gasoline products.

That avoidance will hit Chavez in the only area he cares about — his pocket.

Jerome Hoffman

Economic-Recovery Bill? He Doesn't Think So!

Your editorial ("Lines in the Sand," Feb. 19) was right to support economic recovery. Jews, like all Americans, have a tremendous stake in how this crisis is addressed. But contrary to the stated purpose, the majority of this bill does nothing to stimulate the economy.

Economists say that it's short on incentives to get consumers spending again and long on social goals that won't stimulate economic recovery.

You say that this bill has tailored spending proposals that adhere to Democratic social- and economic-policy goals. You also state that "Jewish values and interests are deeply bound up with the policy selections of what will be funded."

Unless the Jewish people are synonymous with the Democratic Party, this cannot be correct. Would it not be better to drop "Jewish" and substitute the word "liberal"?

Richard Chaitt



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