Letters Week of December 26, 2013


A reader wonders why our parenting blogger feels the need to lament the lure of Christmas, an advocate for Holocaust education urges everyone to lobby legislators for a state law, and another reader offers more details about the so-called 'Jewish cardinal.'

No Need to Look Beyond Judaism

I read the article by blogger Jennifer Raphael in the Dec. 19 issue of the Jewish Exponent (Lifestyle & Culture: “Christmas Envy”) and felt compelled to respond. I know from her previous blogs that the writer bakes challah every Friday for Shabbat, so clearly her family does celebrate this weekly and most important Jewish holiday. But judging by her recent blog about keeping kosher (or rather not keeping kosher), I suspect she doesn’t really celebrate Shabbat as a holy day.
Rather than lament what other religions have to offer, why not find all the wonderful opportunities our own traditions offer? Did she and her family put up a sukkah and spend hours decorating it? Did she and her family decorate their house with lots of Chanukah-themed items? Did they light the Chanukiah and sing Chanukah songs? Are they planning a Tu B’Shevat seder and are they thinking of their costumes for Purim? Are they starting to think of creative ways to tell the story of the Pesach Haggadah?
Children who grow up with these celebrations and decorate a sukkah, prepare the special foods on the seder plate and have regular Friday night family dinners will have memories that they will hopefully pass on to their own children, thus perpetuating our rich heritage. There is no need to look elsewhere!
Alvin Stern | Cherry Hill, N.J.
Mandate for Holocaust Education a Must
It is often said that the perfect is the enemy of the good. With respect to mandated Holocaust education in our Pennsylvania schools (Headlines: “Holocaust Education Bill Splits Advocates”), the perfect is the enemy of the necessary.
The great news is that the bill to mandate Holocaust education in Pennsylvania now has a bipartisan super-majority. The amended version sailed through the Senate Appropriations Committee by a 21-4 margin and is poised for overwhelming passage when the Senate returns in mid-January. The bill will then return to the House where State Rep. Brendan Boyle’s recent Holocaust education mandate amendment failed by only 1 vote.
So let’s put our pessimism away and contact our lawmakers to let them know we support this amended version of HB 1424. Holocaust education is a gateway to teaching tolerance toward those different than ourselves, a lesson just as important today as it was in the 1930s.
Chuck Feldman | President, 
Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center
More to the Story of the ‘Jewish Cardinal’
With respect to the Dec. 19 article on the so-called Jewish cardinal (Opinion: “It’s Time for Serious Conversation Between Christians and Jews”): Missing was the fact that Aron Lustiger and his sister Arlette were placed in a Catholic home after the German invasion of France in 1940. They were greatly influenced by the woman in this home and her deep Catholic beliefs and faith. He may have voluntarily converted, but by that time he had been won over by the Catholic dogma that surrounded him. 
Perhaps his father later protested Aron’s conversion because he felt the boy had been gently coerced by this woman? Unfortunately, he wasn’t there to step in and steer his children back to the family’s Jewish roots.
Norm Marcus | Philadelphia


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