Letters the Week of Jan. 15, 2015


Readers share their thoughts on Jewish day camp, women's roles in Judaism and Ferguson.

Not a Happy Camper on ‘Bunk Mentality’

As the proud father of two daughters who have strong Jewish identities, I fully support your recent editorial, “Bunk Mentality” (Opinion, Jan. 8). For one of my daughters, Lia, who has spent the past six summers at Camp Harlam in the Poconos, I recognize the importance that summer day and overnight camp experiences can have in shaping a young adult’s Jewish identity.
Unfortunately, when my wife and I inquired about sending our oldest daughter, Maya, to Camp Ramah day camp approximately nine years ago, we were informed during the application process that Maya was not welcome since her mother is not Jewish.
Despite this temporary setback in our desire to encourage Maya’s Jewish education and identity, she became a Bat Mitzvah and graduated from the Confirmation Academy at Congregation Kol Ami. She continued her Jewish education by graduating with honors from the Jewish Community High School at Gratz College and was the recipient of that school’s Award for Superior Scholastic Standing. She was also selected for the Satell Teen Leadership program, which included a trip to Israel.
Let’s cast the net wider to include all Jewish children and young adults who have a desire and interest in participating in all aspects of Jewish life. Oh, and did I mention that Maya, a freshman at college, was recently elected to the executive committee of her school’s Hillel?
Bill Hyman | Elkins Park
Appreciating Women’s Vital Role 
I always enjoy Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell’s “drashot,” but this one (Torah Portion, “Saving Moses, Saving Ourselves,” Jan. 8) prompted me to respond with my first letter to the editor.
The women in Moses’ life, as so well described by Rabbi Elwell, have always been the response to those who say women don’t have much place in the Torah. It is solely because of women that Moshe Rabbeinu’s (Moses’) life was saved, thus ensuring his unique role in the salvation and leadership of Am Yisrael. The rabbi’s broader point — the importance of one who saves a single life saves a world — logically follows.
Yasher kochech to Rabbi Elwell, and may we always remember the centrality of the women in this parshah to the existence of Am Yisrael.
Jeanne S. Meisler, M.D. | Wynnewood
Reader’s Response on Ferguson Misses Point
In his Jan. 8 letter (“Unconscionable to ‘Forget’ Ferguson”), Ira Stup attacks David Benkof’s attempt to cool the emotionally laden verbiage on Ferguson. I re-read Benkof's op-ed (Opinion, “Take Yiddish Cue and Forget Ferguson,” Jan. 1), and it’s obvious that Stup missed his basic point — that neither side wants to get involved in legitimate debate, preferring to wallow in emotionalism and to hurl insults and barbs at the other side.
Stup’s letter, filled as it is with ad hominems and angry verbiage, proves rather than negates Benkof's message. No one denies that blacks have been subjected to racism, but conflating real racism with the pathology that’s going on in the streets of our cities is not only wrong but is also part of the problem. Yes, black lives do matter but just as much as when they’re killed by other blacks or a white cop.
Steve Heitner | Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.


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