Letters the Week of July 18, 2013


This week there's criticism for Quaker reasoning on the BDS movement and praise for the Exponent's website and the recent award it garnered.

Quaker Reasoning Lacks All Sense of Reason

I read the June 27 Exponent article “Philly-Based Quaker Group Criticized for BDS Camp” and was confused about why a Quaker group would team up with a Jewish group to attack Israel.

According to the American Friends Service Committee, its purpose is to promote “lasting peace with justice,” a beautiful sounding cliche devoid of any meaning. Quakers could have demanded that Israel negotiate with the Palestinians, but it’s the Palestinians who refuse to negotiate. They could have demanded that Israel provide the Palestinians with their own state, but when they did, the Palestinians twice refused. They could have suggested giving Gaza to the Palestinians as an offer of peace, but when they did, the Palestinians used the area to launch attacks against the Jewish state.

Dealing with the realities that face Israel is painful. But on the other hand, supporting the BDS movement in a farcical demand for peace is self-promoting nonsense. Turning reality upside down by making the aggressor in the Middle East the victim and turning the victim into the aggressor does nothing at all to improve the prospects for peace and justice.

Steve Heitner | Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.

Torah Is Only One Tool to Use to Interpret Life

In response to Rabbi Zeff’s June 27 Torah commentary titled, “How Humans, Torah Interact Over Time,” it made me realize that people like the rabbi exaggerate the usefulness of the Torah in modern society. Oftentimes, people are “grasping at straws” when they try to relate it to today — whether it be through gematriya or implicit lessons found in stories in the Torah.

Simply put, we should not be looking for lessons given in fairy-tale fashion. A harsh reality is that many of the stories are yet to be proven. Rabbi Zeff says the Torah was given to Moses on Mount Sinai — and that it was inscribed in words of fire. This is what all of us were taught in yeshivas worldwide. However, this has yet to be proven a reality.

Lessons taken from the Torah have been beneficial for many of us; the problem is that too many people allow it to become a sole resource for intellect.

Jacob Scharf | Bala Cynwyd

Rockower Award Was Richly Deserved

Mazel tov to the Exponent for the recognition of your marvelous website! The Simon Rockower Award was richly deserved.

P.S.: You’re a fantastic newspaper, too!!

Heidi George | Philadelphia


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