Letters the Week of November 21, 2013


One letter writer highlights all that the Mandell Education Campus has given her family and the Melrose Park neighborhood and another has high praise for a special needs teacher who gave of herself tirelessly at Adath Jeshurun's preschool  before her untimely death.

Mandell Campus Must Stay Exactly Where It Is

I smiled when I saw the front-page photo in the Oct. 24 Exponent showing the outdoor benches at the Mandell Education Campus, benches where my daughter sat for years as a Ramah camper — and where she now sits as a counselor. Then I saw the headline, “What’s in Store for Mandell Campus?”

I remember the communal excitement surrounding the creation of Mandell in Melrose Park. My future kids would not have to venture to 10th and Tabor for their Jewish education, as I did.

My family has benefited greatly from Mandell. I have attended many lectures and continuing education classes at Gratz College. My daughter attended Gratz and has spent countless hours there in the summer.

Your article mentions agency officials feeling it would be “a disastrous blow” to have the Mandell Campus dissolved. It certainly would be. As Jewish communities move farther into the suburbs, it is important for the centers of Jewish life to have a suburban presence, and the Mandell Campus is the Federation presence directly north of the city. The Jewish community of Philadelphia needs to keep Mandell intact and where it is.

Tali Segal | Fort Washington

So Glad Teacher’s Special Legacy Will Live On

Twenty-three years ago, I walked into my 2-year-old son’s preschool classroom at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, more nervous than he. There stood Barbara Greenberg, who got down to my son’s eye level and greeted us both so warmly.

Thus began the intersection of my family’s life with this most extraordinary person. Imagine my reaction to seeing her face as I turned the pages of the Exponent. I eagerly read Carin Smilk’s article (“Finding a Way to Honor a Special Needs Teacher,” Nov. 14) and am so very pleased that Barbara’s legacy will live on. (She moved on to Adath Jeshurun’s pre-school down the road.)

My son, with his ready smile and eagerness to please, spent three days a week that school year with Barbara. She valued the individuality of my son without criticism and without trying to have him conform, understanding so well that he couldn’t.

Today, my son is a 25-year-old young adult on the Autism spectrum with ADHD who struggled with other learning disabilities throughout school. He is living independently and working. Thanks to Barbara, who alerted us to his possible challenges, we were able to seek early intervention. I attribute my son’s intact self-esteem largely due to Barbara’s non-judgmental evaluation.

Carey Roseman | Penn Valley

Article Was Correct: Jews Must Raise Their Voices

I thought Steve Feldman’s Nov. 14 opinion piece, “An Open Letter to Communal Leaders: Sound the Alarm!,” on the silence of the Jewish community concerning the threat to Israel, was spot on.

Although President Barack Obama said he would not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran, his loss of credibility on Syria and his willingness to sign an agreement with the Iranians that would give them six months to complete their ambitions are very disconcerting.

One thing Jews have never been is silent when their coreligionists have been abused or threatened with annihilation. The threat now posed by Iran is by far the most dire since the Holocaust.

Steve Heitner | Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.


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