Letters the Week of May 28, 2015

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Two readers debate the merits of throwing Philadelphia's annual Israeli Independence Day celebration in conjunction with Jewish Heritage Night at the Phillies, and another lauds Jewish city councilman hopeful Allan Domb.

Phillies Game Didn’t Fill Need to Honor Israel

I expect that the sun will soon rise in the West, as I find myself in complete agreement with the recent letter (“Out at Home: Baseball No Way to Fete Israel,” May 21) from the Greater Philadelphia District of the ZOA. Past local celebrations of the founding of Israel have always been in the public view. These were opportunities to let the world know how proud we are of the accomplishments of Israel.
 
This year, however, by “celebrating” at a Phillies game, the event was observed by only the limited number of non-Jews who elected to attend, and even then, the event was publicized as “Jewish Heritage Night,” which is very different from a celebration of Israel and gets lost among the other promotional events during the season that recognize other cultures in the city.  Did anyone see any meaningful coverage of the event in the secular media?
 
Worse, by tying the celebratory events in the parking lots to attendance at a game that required the purchase of an expensive ticket, the organizers of the event limited the ability of many members of our own community to attend.
 
I join with the ZOA in calling for a return of the exciting, public and enthusiasm-generating celebrations that have been our Philadelphia tradition for so many years.
Ken Rosenberg | Rydal
 
ZOA So Off-Base on Jewish History
Alas, the Zionist Organization of America’s parochial distortion of Jewish history is alive and well. Their local leaders (Letters, “Out at Home: Baseball No Way to Fete Israel,” May 21) pontificate that “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.”
 
Unequivocally wrong! 
 
For millennia, Jews throughout the Diaspora studied, prayed and died in fidelity to God and His commandments, yearning for divine redemption from on high. 
 
A  nationalistic “independent state” and “the right of self-determination” are modern-day conceits, originating in 19th-century Europe.
 
There is also nothing in the desire to return to Eretz Israel that necessitates it taking the form of the modern nation-state.
 
As for the authors’ sliming of the sport: As documented in print (“Baseball: the Kosher Sport,” The Reconstructionist, March 1988), baseball and Judaism form a perfectly matched set. 
Jesse H. Wahlberg | Philadelphia
 
Domb Choice for Council the Right Move
Could it be true that there will be a Jewish City Councilman elected in November for the first time in almost a decade? (Online, “Kenney Wins Democratic Mayoral Primary in Philadelphia,” May 19)
 
On primary night, Allan Domb received one of five nominations to council for the Democrats, but it took a lot of his gelt to make this happen.
 
He is intelligent, innovative and “won’t go along to get along” in city council. This is exactly what this city needs: Someone who solves problems, not creates new ones by being a hack.
 
Good luck, Allan.
Myles Gordon | Philadelphia Taxpayers Association
 

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