Letters the Week of January 29, 2015


Readers sound off about Jewish summer camp policies, gay marriage and climate change.

Letter About Ramah Policy Hits a Nerve
As one of the few Jewish freshman at Lehigh University in 1971, I was saddened to have to decide between observing Yom Kippur and attending class while the school observed a four-day break the following weekend. Our overtures to the school administration to change the school calendar fell on deaf ears.
A WASP-y engineering professor wrote a letter in the school newspaper that basically said: “The nerve of these Jews; they knew when they decided to come here that there would be classes on these holidays. If they don’t like it, they should go elsewhere.”
I responded in a letter that I pitied him for his “ignorance, his intolerance, and his hate.” I assured him that we weren’t going anywhere — if he didn’t like it, he should go elsewhere to teach!
Unfortunately, I detect some of this professor’s attitude in Mark Solomon's letter (“No Right to Complain About Ramah Policy,” Jan. 22). He speaks of reader “Bill Hyman's decision to have children that are not recognized as Jewish.” Decision? Why should Solomon, or Camp Ramah for that matter, decide who is or isn’t a Jew? With all the trouble Jews face around the world, I wish we could stand together, supporting each other and appreciating our common backgrounds and beliefs, while respecting and welcoming our differences.
I don’t know what Solomon or Camp Ramah are afraid of, but I hope they open their eyes and hearts to allow for positive change.
Stuart M. Wilsker | Bala Cynwyd
Cheering Rabbi’s Support for Gay Marriage
It is a relief to read the words of a local rabbi who agrees that the words of Leviticus too often used to condemn homosexuality are taken out of context and therefore do not mean what the pious say they do. 
Those who read Torah without prejudice will give status to homosexuals equal to heterosexuals in issues of discrimination and will not belittle, humiliate or act condescendingly toward those who question their sexual identities. 
It is also a relief to see Rabbi Michael Beals take the lead on this issue through his
rabbinic and scholastic efforts as well as his recent comments in the Exponent (“Bible Doesn’t Forbid Same-Sex Marriage,” Jan. 22). Spreading this knowledge to leaders of all religions would be a light to the nations and contribute much toward reducing discrimination in the world.
Maurice Feldman | Wyncote
Op-Ed Out of Touch With Scientific Climate
I was stunned by Isaac Svartsman’s Dec 24 Op-Ed (“Cool It on Climate Change?”), which made fossil fuel advocates out to be heroes, especially for helping the poor of the Third World. 
The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that humans are primarily responsible for climate change, that we must act now or pay a huge price. Svartsman has found a handful of skeptics, telling us that these few brilliant scientists question the way the vast majority of scientists have come to their conclusion. 
With so much at stake, I’d rather play it safe, go with the odds, and, if by some miracle, 97 percent of scientists are wrong, that won’t be the worst thing. In the meantime, let’s get the job done of creating and disseminating more affordable, low-carbon solutions that will be a win for both rich and poor countries. 
 Steve Weinberg | Mount Airy


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