Letters the week of June 18, 2015


Readers ask the Exponent for full disclosure, make their case for why Israel Independence Day should not be tied into a Phillies game and claim that it is insensitive to reorganize the Exponent staff at the same time the Exponent is winning awards.

Full Disclosure Needed at ‘Exponent’

Arthur Waskow’s letter is spot-on (June 11, “ Lamenting the End of an Era”).

The venerable Exponent has gotten into financial trouble for the same reason that the local Federation has long punched below its demographic weight: The right-wing bent of the Jewish Publication Group and the Federation machers, respectively, has alienated the Philly Jewish community as a whole (especially its younger element), of which it was quote unrepresentative. Proof: the emergence online of the Philadelphia Jewish Voice.

And, sadly, the disingenuousness on display in the new editor-in-chief’s “Turning the Page” augurs poorly for the Exponent’s next phase. Joshua Runyan notes that in Israel he “launched Chabad.org News and studied in a yeshiva.”

What is omitted from this bio is that: a) Unlike, say, non-Moonie Arnaud de Borchgrave becoming editor-in-chief of the Unification Church’s Washington Times, Runyan started Chabad.org News because by that point in his life, he himself had become a Chabadnik (witness the telltale photo of his full beard); and b) the yeshiva referenced was, indeed, a Chabad one, from which he has received rabbinic ordination.

From here on out, full disclosure, please!

Jesse H. Wolberg | Philadelphia


Another Plea to Free Israel Independence Day 

I kept checking the Exponent for news about Israel Independence Day. I thought I had missed it, perhaps I missed it; what happened to it? Imagine my surprise when I read the recent letters to the Exponent that Jewish Heritage Day at the Phillies was “Israel Independence Day.”

So, whoever did the planning substituted an event that a person had to pay for, for what is usually a free event. That assumes that everyone who might attend the Israel Independence Day likes baseball, and that everyone who does want to attend, has a way to get to Citizens Bank Park — all the way at the southern end of the city — can climb the “nosebleed” steps so they can get the “giveaways” that the $26 covers and, not least, can afford the seats.

I do like baseball, but I am retired and the cost of the “extras” is out of my budget. I later talked to someone at the Senior Center at the Federation building who did go to the game, but her husband has a heart condition, therefore couldn’t climb up to the reserved seats — and, of course, was unable to receive the extras.

I hope whoever came up with this ridiculous idea doesn’t run with it next year. Under the current circumstances in the world today, I think Israel deserves a special day of celebration, and not a stupid substitution as this year.

If you can’t get enough support for Jewish Heritage Day at the Phillies, maybe you need to abandon it, and not force it as a substitute for support for Israel.

Rachel Garber | Philadelphia


Understandable Decision, Inexcusable Timing

I truly understand the financial dilemma that faced the Jewish Publication Group when it was forced to reorganize. But how insensitive and inconsiderate to do so on the very same day that the Jewish Exponent trumpets awards won by its staff members and lays off many of these same people.

Paul L. Newman | Merion Station


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