Letters Week of Oct. 26, 2006



The Community Must Act to Curb Gun Violence I was moved by Diane Edbril's piece (Opinion: "Will Guns Seal the Fate of Children in the 'Book of Life?' " Oct. 12).

Edbril urged the Jewish community to take a strong position to prevent gun violence — a timely plea.

Why should we as Jews feel compelled to act? Many of us raise children away from the epicenter of the violence. Yet Jews with a strong sense of community responsibility shoulder other issues.

If we number ourselves within the larger Philadelphia community, we must recognize that the erosion of safety and lack of a peaceful community will ultimately place us all in harm's way.

Edbril rightfully describes the concerns of gun owners, who fear that greater restrictions on gun sales may interfere with their right to bear arms. It's becoming clear that lawlessness in our inner cities is not about restricting constitutional rights but rather, how to prevent guns from being bought by individuals who sell to drug dealers and youths.

The Jewish Community Relations Council and other Jewish organizations mentioned in the article are committed to finding ways to thrive, educate and provide a safe haven for children who are a part of our community, and who deserve the rights we should afford every child. 
Julie Meranze Levitt 
Executive committee 
Jewish Community Relations Council 

Fight Lenient Judges, Not Law-Abiding Gun-Owners

Diane Edbril, of CeaseFire PA, blames guns, gun laws, legislators and "the gun lobby" for "the horrific damage … we tolerate by allowing guns to get into the wrong hands" (Opinion: "Will Guns Seal the Fate of Children in the 'Book of Life?' " Oct. 12). She doesn't blame criminals or our criminal-justice system.

Visit CFPA's Web site and you'll see their real agenda: disarming law-abiding citizens. By contrast, the National Rifle Association's site tells true stories of how armed citizens defend themselves and others against criminals.

CFPA would turn America into England, where unarmed people cower in fear of outlaws, who break into homes to rob, rape and murder. Shoot someone in self-defense in England and he'll sue you — and win! And the police will arrest you for owning a gun.

If CFPA wants to fight crime, they should fight lenient judges. Don't target law-abiding citizens. And don't ask Jews to help you commit suicide. 
Robert Sandler 

Militant Islam Provides the Root Cause of Conflict

Yes, "the headlines are dominated by images of religious strife" (City & Suburb: "A Plea to End the 'Global Scorching,' " Oct. 12) but the root cause in every case happens to be militant Islam.

Rather than "the pope vs. the Muslims," it has been the Muslims who have threatened the pope, who have murdered a nun and set churches ablaze throughout the Middle East because he dared quote someone who centuries earlier commented on Islam's violent nature.

As for conflicts between "Jews against Arabs," in nearly every case it has been the Muslim-Arabs who've been the perpetrators of such "strife" — though they would like the rest of the world to believe that the Jews are culpable.

Such phrases perpetuate the lies spewed by Israel's enemies. 
Steve Feldman 
Executive director 
Zionist Organization of America 
Greater Philadelphia District

Trust Breaks Down, and Kosher Eaters Suffer

Why should kosher consumers have to pay higher prices at the check-out counter for the sins of the kosher meat vendors (Cover story: "Case of the Non-Kosher Chicken Rocks Kashrut World," Oct. 12)

Additional "supervisors" will not rectify abuses in the world of kashrut. Unfortunately, some "supervisors" indulge in unethical practices on the job.

There was nothing in the article of how the rabbis dealt with the perpetrator, Shevach Meats. Were they taken to court for false advertising? Was the business closed? Were the owners disciplined by paying a fine?

The system can work only if everyone involved holds sacred a system built on trust.

Kashrut is a mitzvah, as well as a business. Kashrut can also be political, where protecting ones' turf plays a role, and doubt can be shed on the "other guy's" supervision.

When that happens, it's a far cry from a mitzvah. 
Sarah Lewis 
Cherry Hill, N.J. 

Local Athletes Caught the Maccabi Spirit at Games

We read your new sports section of the Jewish Exponent, and wanted to extend a hearty mazal tov for giving us yet another reason to read your fine publication.

We were especially proud of the articles by Jared Shelly and Bryan Schwartzman on Tracy Bienenfeld and Sara Schiffman (Sports & Players, Oct. 12). The articles captured the strength, spirit and intensity of these two outstanding women.

Having gotten to know Tracy and Sara in the past few years in our work at Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel, we can attest to what terrific athletes they are.

Even more important are the wonderful people they are. They not only caught the Maccabi spirit in Israel, they enhanced the experience for others as role models for great behavior. 
Jed Margolis 
Executive director 
Ami Monson 
Program director 
Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel 


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