Letters the Week of Dec. 12, 2013


One survivor appreciated the effort of Dec. 5's Editorial “A Necessary First Step” to raise awareness about mandating Holocaust education.

Holocaust Education Must Be Mandated!

Thank you for raising awareness about mandating Holocaust education (Editorial: “A Necessary First Step,” Dec. 5).

I am among the survivors in the Philadelphia region. All of us have been witness to a difficult and painful lesson from our individual experiences. Unfortunately, there is still too much hate and intolerance for some in our society.

Most of us are anxious and willing to share our stories with children. They can learn a valuable lesson from what we had to live through and endure. Intolerance for others is unacceptable in today’s society, yet it still occurs.

At a time when lies on the Internet permeate the fabric of our past, it is imperative to mandate Holocaust and genocide education. It is an essential way to reach our youth.

Renate Breslow | Elkins Park

Where Are Camps for Those With Special Needs?

While it is wonderful that synagogues are promoting Jewish camping as detailed in your Dec. 5 issue, not every Jewish child in our community can access a Jewish camping experience.

Families in our region can take advantage of programs to make camp affordable, such as One Happy Camper, and enjoy a wealth of Jewish camping options.

Our community, however, has failed to provide a Jewish camp experience for children with special needs.

While each of these existing camps will accept children with minor special needs, their programs don’t offer trained staff or structured, specialized care that many of these children require.

The existing special needs camps all cater predominantly to Jews, providing evidence of the need, but they are not Jewish camps. As our community works to include increasing numbers of children with special needs in our synagogues and religious schools, isn’t it time we decide to provide these same children with the most joyous of Jewish experiences: summer camp?

Rachel Ezekiel-Fishbein | Elkins Park

Opinion Piece Was ‘Intellectually Dishonest’

In an article published in the Exponent, the co-presidents of the Brandeis University chapter of JStreet U, Eli Philip and Catie Stewart, stated that the Jewish community on college campuses values unity over values and necessary debate, and so pushes to silence JStreet’s views (Opinion: “The Pro-Israel Tent ‘Doesn’t Matter If It Can’t Hold Disagreement,’ ” Nov. 27). Their major example was a disagreement between Philip and Barak Raz, a former spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces, at a recent event at Brandeis over the nature of checkpoints in the disputed territories.

Philip and Stewart’s article was riddled with intellectual dishonesty (including the fact that Philip himself was the “student leader” mentioned in the article), manipulated facts and was condescending to other views regarding Israel on campus.

The problem that Brandeis students had with what transpired was not what JStreet members believe, but rather how they expressed their opinion, which was in an abrasive and dishonorable way. JStreet U is not discriminated against, as Philip and Stewart believe. Other members of the “pro-Israel” tent simply want them to behave in the professional manner expected of the heads of a campus organization.

Dor Cohen | Brandeis ’16


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