Letters the week of June 25, 2015


Websites used as references for a Vietnam story, the potential chaos of the Iran deal and Jewish-Catholic comity are topics covered by readers in letters this week.

Vietnam Article Leads to Wrong Direction
I was drawn to the article, “For Tourists, Vietnam Is a Tale of Two Cities.” As a reader of International Living magazine and in search of retirement destinations, I was interested in hearing what the Exponent had to say about Jewish life in Vietnam. Presumably, the article would have something to contribute about Jewish life in a country not normally associated with having an active Jewish community. Perhaps I would read of how the community is growing and more Jewish institutions are being established. I hoped that the article would be written about the spirit of the wandering Jew and how our values have spread throughout the ­­­world. Instead, I found nothing of the sort. 
At the end of the article, there were some websites for more information. They were not from the World Jewish Congress or the Jewish Virtual Library or even the World Union of Progressive Judaism. They were Chabad websites. 
This isn’t the Exponent I grew up with. I don’t like where this is going. 
Maurice Feldman | Wyncote
Creating a Legacy of Turmoil
It’s long been obvious that the Obama administration was going to complete a nuclear deal with Iran. Any deal, no matter how weak and feckless, will do. The Iranian leaders understand the president’s obsession with propping up his legacy in the last year and a half of his administration. This is about Obama, not about keeping Iran from obtaining nukes and the means to deliver them.
Iran openly states that its objective is the destruction of Israel and the West. It openly spreads its influence throughout the Middle East and openly mocks and demeans Obama. There’s nothing subtle or manipulative going on here.
If this deal is consummated, Obama will have created his legacy. It will be a legacy of spreading chaos and destruction throughout the Middle East and the world.
Steve Heitner | Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.
An Unsung Hero of Jewish-Catholic Comity
Oftentimes, there is a story behind the story. Such is the case with Nostra Aetate. Noam Marans’ article (“How Nostra Aetate Came Into Existence,” June 4) provided excellent background information but omitted the role played by a woman whose doctoral research had a direct effect on the document’s section on Judaism. Sister Rose Thering, a nun and lifelong activist, did pioneering research for her doctorate which examined the treatment of Jews and Judaism in Catholic textbooks. She noted that, “When I began to read, it almost made me ill.” Two key passages she cited were, “Why did the Jews commit the great sin of putting Jesus himself to death?” and “The worst deed of the Jewish people was the murder of the Messiah.” In 1962, when Pope John XXIII convened the ecumenical council, known as Vatican II, he used Sister Rose’s study to draft portions of the document “Nostra Aetate” (“In Our Age”). This document reversed church policy and declared of Jesus’ death, “what happened in his passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today.” 
“They were 15 lines in Latin,” Sister Rose commented later about Nostra Aetate, “but they changed everything.”
And, so did she. May her memory be for a blessing.
Ferne Hassan | Associate Director, StandWithUs – Philadelphia


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here