Letters the Week of January 8, 2015


Readers react to op-eds dismissing climate change doom and comparing Ferguson to the Yiddish word for "forget," and a cover story about the local Federation CEO. 

No Scientific Basis to Deny Climate Change

I write to express my disappointment with the Jewish Exponent’s decision to publish Isaac Svartsman’s opinion piece (“Cool It on Climate Change,” Dec. 24). It seems odd to me that the Exponent would publish this as if it were based in anything more than his unscientific and completely baseless opinion. It is views like this that continue to spread the myth that climate change is not really happening. While there are some scientists who disagree on the various causes and whether there could be causes other than — or in addition to — humans, there are virtually no reputable scientists at this point who disagree that climate change is not only very real, but will cause significant problems in the near future.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — the publication of the United States, National Academy of Sciences — found that out of 1,372 climate researchers surveyed, approximately 98 percent of those actively publishing in the field said they believe humans are causing climate change. It also concluded that “the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence” of researchers unconvinced of man-made climate change are “substantially below that of the convinced researchers.”

Nicole G. Tell,  Bala Cynwyd

Unconscionable to ‘Forget’ Ferguson

Black lives matter. That so many people feel it necessary to affirm such a basic and fundamental idea should demand serious introspection on the part of all Americans.

All too often, the discounting of black lives happens in such subtle ways that it can be mistaken as neutral or overlooked altogether. Sadly, it is just this kind of subtle racism which David Benkof peddles in his op-ed (“Take Yiddish Cue and Forget Ferguson,” Jan. 1).

Among his many reductive statements and unfounded assertions, Benkof flippantly writes that conversations about race are important because otherwise “we'll have Fergusons every few years ad nauseum.” We need to talk about Ferguson because it is unconscionable for another person of color to be unnecesarily killed by law enforcement. Indeed, any serious commitment to addressing these issues will require long-term conversations of substance that lead to action.

The Jewish community rightfully demanded that the Poles not forget the Jedwabne pogrom, a horrific example of the complicity of Polish citizens in the Shoah. Wrestling with Jedwabne was necessary, even though it required painful introspection for many Poles. It would have been ludicrous for a Polish leader to tell Jews to forget Jedwabne in conversations about Polish-Jewish relations.

Likewise, the last thing American Jews should do is forget about Ferguson. We should open our hearts to the pain expressed on the streets of our cities. Then we must wrestle with the actions necessary to change our society for the better, as our tradition demands of us.

Ira Stup, Philadelphia

New Federation Head Indeed Enlightening

Thank you for the cover article about Naomi Adler (“Adler’s Approach Inspires Confidence,” Dec. 18). Although I’ve been active in the community and supporting the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia for over 50 years, I find that the “News from Naomi” email I receive each week has enlightened me to much I was not aware of in our community.

I now forward her email, along with the Exponent, to a friend in Israel who made aliyah from Philadelphia many years ago.

Frank Brodsky, Wynnewood


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