Letters week of July 31, 2008



Article on Soldier's Family Glorifies Intermarriage

A recent front-page article (Cover story: "Local Father Off to Iraq," July 10), prompted me to write. It concerned an interfaith couple, where the non-Jewish spouse was going off to Iraq to serve his country.

While that is a very commendable thing to do and he should be saluted for it, the rest of the story left questions concerning the Jewish Exponent, which is supposed to serve the Jewish people in a positive way.

Intermarriage is a fact of life, but there is enough intermarriage these days that we do not need to glorify it.

Here is an interfaith couple where the children go to a Jewish preschool, yet the Catholic spouse has not converted, and where the family celebrates both sets of holidays. The mother is a product of European Jews raised in Israel, and who speaks Hebrew, but had both a rabbi and a priest officiate at her wedding. What type of message do we send to our young people, especially by glorifying intermarriage in this way?

While the family seems lovely and happy, there must be better ideas for articles, especially on the cover, that could warm the hearts of the community.

A piece such as this makes you wonder what message the Exponent was trying to convey. Perhaps it would have best been presented in a secular newspaper.

Vera Kane 

What's Worse? Terrorists or Spineless Israelis?

Let me see if I have this prisoner-exchange deal straight (Cover story: "Hezbollah Swap Muddies Talks Over Shalit," July 24).

Israel swapped four live prisoners — one of whom, Samir Kuntar, is among the most reviled terrorist-murderers in recent history — with Hezbollah for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers captured alive in 2006.

The United Nations has welcomed this exchange. What is wrong with this picture?

I am conflicted in my response, while sympathetic to the families of the slain soldiers. I don't know who I have more disdain for — the spineless Israeli government that capitulated, which has nullified its deterrence and threatened its national security and will only provoke more kidnappings and terrorism; or the cult of death, rage, hatred and celebrations in Lebanon for their "heroes," who revel in the killing of innocent Israeli citizens.

Lee Bender 

Don't Trust Evangelicals to Truly Support Israel!

The letter of Elwood McQuaid, executive director of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. (Letters: "Mainline Protestants Adopt Hateful Theology," July 10) was pure "swift-boating" deceit.

In point of fact, although a number of mainline Christian denominations have formally abandoned the doctrine of supersessionism (the technical theological term for "replacement theology"), this has not been the case with evangelical Christians, who are largely fundamentalist in their reading of Scripture.

Moreover, whereas many mainline Christian groups have disavowed levying the charge of deicide against the Jewish people, "biblically motivated" (to use McQuaid's term) fundamentalists have not — because they adhere to a literal understanding of the New Testament, and the Gospels clearly implicate "the Jews" as being responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.

Plain and simple, for Rev. McQuaid, his Bible-thumpers and their bosom-buddy "Jews for Jesus" allies, rabbinic Jews are and always will be regarded as deicides and Christ-killers.

These are the sort of people the American Jewish community is being asked to cultivate and be able to rely upon to assist Israel in her time of need?

Roy Amadeus 
Wheeling, W. Va. 

What's the Alternative to Abstinence Programs?

It's a sad day when an organization purporting to represent Jewish women takes the position that educational programs aimed at discouraging teenagers from having sexual relations is a bad thing (Opinions: "Just Say 'No' to Abstinence-Only Programs; They Don't Work!" July 17). Is that what we really want the country to think is Judaism's position on this question?

It's true that such programs are not fool-proof. In the face of the message that kids get from television and the movies encouraging sex, those tasked with trying to counter this insidious cultural decline are faced with steep odds.

But what's the alternative?

Does the National Council of Jewish Women really think that just handing out contraceptives and hoping for the best is a reasonable plan? Is that the message the members of this group are giving to their own daughters? I don't think so!

Whatever concerns we may have about the Christian context of many abstinence programs (no doubt in states where there are few religious minorities), that is a poor excuse for the sort of blanket opposition to this concept that the NCJW advocates.

Sarah Newman 

Oil's Being Used as an Islamist Weapon of War

Jonathan Tobin's column on energy clearly defines the issues facing the American people in an election year (A Matter of Opinion: " 'Alternatives' to Logic Won't Work," July 10).

The stances the presidential candidates offer do not inspire people to get involved in promoting alternative energy sources. If countries in South America have surpassed us in promoting alternative fuels, it suggests that the technology is available.

What factors are present that curtail our production of solar, nuclear and wind power as an energy source?

I do not cast all the blame on large oil companies and speculators. There is an inertia to make a change to our normal lifestyle. However, we need to realize that oil is being used as a weapon of war. Iran would not be so bold as to challenge the world powers and ignore the threats of sanctions without it.

Israel has a decision to make that will cost many lives, since the Western powers are willing to sit on the sidelines, and let Israel stop Iran's and the radical Islamists' drive for nuclear power. Yet, this is not only Israel's war; it's the war of all freedom-loving nations.

Julius Romanoff 


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