Letters the Week of May 21, 2015


Readers share their thoughts on baseball and climate change.

Out at Home: Baseball No Way to Fete Israel
For millennia, Jews throughout the Diaspora yearned, fought and died for the right of self-determination and our own independent state in our historic homeland. On May 14, 1948, the momentous occasion finally happened. For the Philadelphia Jewish community to mark the 67th anniversary of the modern-day-miracle Israel at a Phillies game with tokens such as snacks, games, face-painting and the like is to trivialize a pillar of world Jewry. (Headlines, “Annual Jewish Heritage Night Fills Phillies Game,” May 14)
That Israel exists as a vibrant society, a human rights “light unto the nations” — a source of Jewish self-respect and pride, a spring of life-enhancing and life-preserving breakthroughs it shares with the world, and an important ally of the United States and partner in the “war on terrorism” — deserves to be its own daylong celebration. This has been a longtime local tradition enjoyed by people from all walks of life — thanks to the leadership of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
We call on Federation to return this celebration to its prominence rather than as a prelude to or backdrop for a baseball game. We at ZOA look forward to participating in such an event, along with the many Jewish, pro-Israel and other organizations that were not included this time around.
Lee Bender and Kevin Ross | Co-Presidents
Steve Feldman | Executive Director
Greater Philadelphia District of the Zionist Organization of America
In This Climate, Overpopulation Is Killing Earth
Like a good liberal, Rabbi Arthur Waskow has no problem wrapping liberalism in the Torah (Op-Ed, “Ancient Torah Speaks to Today’s Climate Crisis,” May 14). However, he has a much tougher time answering the difficult questions related to climate change.
Yes, the Earth’s climate is changing. It always has been. At one time, Alaska was covered by a tropical rainforest. At another time, a good portion of North America was covered by a thick sheet of ice. We’ve had global warming since the last ice age. Now the rabbi and many scientists assert climate change is a big problem with a human cause. OK, let’s accept that. What is the correct temperature for the Earth? Where on the continuum between tropical forest in Alaska and sheet of ice covering much of North America is the ideal temperature?
Once we have a temperature goal, we need real solutions to get there, not just feel-good responses. The reality is that abuse of the planet has been caused by rapid, massive human population growth. When I was born, just five decades ago, the Earth’s human population was about 3 billion. Today, it is more than 7 billion and climbing! If we want to be serious about addressing environmental issues, we need to address the issue of overpopulation. What does the rabbi think we should do about that?
My wife and I, for our part, have already dramatically kept our carbon footprint in check by choosing not to have children. Switching to LED light bulbs or wind power is nice. However, if we really want to save the planet, we need to be prepared to make difficult and significant choices. We need to be prepared to talk about reducing — or, at the very least, stabilizing — the Earth’s population.
Michael Rosen | Philadelphia


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