Letters, the Week of December 19, 2013


One letter writer was pleased to see the JRA back in the spotlight, while another was proud of congregation Rodeph Shalom for being sensitive to her son's needs.

Turning a Negative into a Positive

Thanks for bringing attention to the work of the Jewish Relief Agency in your Dec. 12 issue. As noted in the story, JRA was set to celebrate our “Bar Mitzvah gala” on Dec. 8, marking 13 years of service. More than 500 guests were coming, the tables were set and the vendors were paid. Then the snow began and we were forced to cancel.

There we were at the event venue with lots of food and no one to eat it. What to do? We did what we always do at JRA — we looked for an opportunity to transform a negative into a positive.

The city had just declared a “code blue,” which meant there were lots of hungry folks in the city’s shelters. We got on the phone and reached out to area shelters, then packed up the food and delivered it to those who needed it most.

Life hands us all lemons sometimes, and our response must be to make lemonade — in our case, that would be lemonAID. For more on the story and for ways to help us squeeze more lemons and compensate for the funds we were unable to raise at our annual event, please visit: www.makinglemonaid.org and help us spread the word.

Marc Erlbaum, JRA Co-founder

Synagogue Was Sensitive to Special Needs

While I certainly applaud Rabbi Eric Yanoff's article in the Dec. 5 issue (Opinion: “Setting Inclusion as a Paramount Goal in Jewish Life”), I wonder why it took so long for the Jewish community to realize there was such a need. My family was very lucky 33 years ago that Congregation Rodeph Shalom was sensitive to the needs of special children and made it possible for our son to have a Bar Mitzvah in sign language. As a family that lived through a time when differences weren’t dealt with easily, we are grateful to those who understood before it was popular or fashionable. I guess whenever positive change happens, it is worth noting, but I would like to acknowledge the families who had to endure the unfairness and struggle in the past.

Susan Gross, Cheltenham

Mandela: A Great Man Who Embraced Terrorists

Nelson Mandela was a great man (Special Section: “Remembering Nelson Mandela”) and I genuinely offer my condolences to the people of South Africa. That being said, Mandela was a man who cavorted with Yasser Arafat and Muammar Gaddafi, and was an enemy of Zionist aspirations. Ergo, he was my enemy.

My opinion is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres did not attend Mandel’s funeral because  they knew that they were not welcome in South Africa. Most South Africans view Israel’s “occupation” as an apartheid occupation. Many South African leaders who have visited Israel suggest that Palestinians are treated worse than they were under South African apartheid.

In 1990, Mandela compared Israel to a “terrorist state” and  while on a trip to Libya, Mandela stated that “we consider ourselves to be comrades in arms to the Palestinian Arabs in their struggle for the liberation of Palestine.

“There is not a single citizen in South Africa who is not ready to stand by his Palestinian brothers in their legitimate fight against the Zionist racists.”

Dr. Allen Radwill, Southampton,N.J.


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