Letters the Week of December 5, 2013


A leader of the Soviet Jewry movement praises an article that brought back fond memories while another letter writer praises a rabbi's insights into a recent Torah portion.

Thanks for All the Wonderful Memories
Ellyn Golder Saft’s wonderful story about the Women’s Philanthropy Mission to Russia and Israel brought back fond memories (Reflections: “Women’s Philanthropy Mission to Russia, Israel: Many Heroes Among Us,” Nov. 27). In 1985, my wife, Bunny, and I made the first of our three trips to the Soviet Union and we were blessed to be trained by Connie and Joe Smukler and Lana and Bernie Dishler, all great leaders of the Soviet Jewry movement.
We, too, had the experience of meeting with true heroes — refuseniks — who changed our lives with their courage and bravery in standing up to the Soviet government so their families could live in freedom as Jews in Israel, the United States — or wherever they wished.
Now, just like the women on the mission, we meet with many of our old friends in Israel and here. And I must confess, we still get teary-eyed at times when we hug and kiss them in freedom.
Frank Brodsky | Philadelphia 
Rabbi’s Comments Reveal True Value of Torah
I was fascinated by Rabbi Adam Zeff’s explanation of Joseph’s actions regarding Pharaoh’s dreams (Torah Portion: “Joseph Speaks Truth to Pharoah’s Power,” Nov. 27). But I think the rabbi does an injustice to Joseph when he states, “He had nothing to lose,” because it downgrades his heroism.
I find even more interesting that the rabbi can take an event that never occurred, archaeologically speaking, and convert it into a valuable moral lesson. That he and other learned individuals can do this illustrates the real value of the Torah.
Ralph D. Bloch | Warrington
Will Obama’s Policies Repeat Errors of the Past?
I am dismayed at the Obama administration’s negotiation with the Iranian mullahs. My ire is not directed at the president, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel or Secretary of State John Kerry. They are what they are. We Jews have faced their perfidy for more than a millennium.
My ire is with the Jewish political lackeys (Obama’s former chief campaign strategist David Axelrod, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), etc.) who helped this administration get elected.
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain negotiated with Hitler, who had openly stated his intentions throughout the 1930s. Eventually, 20 million people perished.
Now Obama has negotiated with the mullahs who have openly stated their intentions. All we can do is hope and pray that Obama’s policies will not result in the same horrors.
Jerome Cantor | Philadelphia
Subscription to Paper Keeps Her in Touch
During my freshman year of college, my mom sent me a Jewish Exponent subscription. Now as a senior at Ithaca College, I still receive it at my apartment in upstate New York every week.
I am always excited to take a break from my busy schedule and stay in the loop on what’s going on at home. I love picking out familiar faces in photos and reading articles about Jewish camping (I am a URJ Camp Harlam alum).
Thank you for helping me stay close to my Jewish life at home!
Paige Erlich | Huntingdon Valley


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