Letters, the Week of March 17, 2016


Readers discuss presidential candidates and EITC.

Another Reason to Vote for Sanders
I’m totally undecided and will vote for whichever Democratic nominee wins.
However, when I heard Bernie Sanders had once volunteered on a Hashomer Hatzair kibbutz just as I once had, I had to stop and think. (Think, not decide!)
As a secular Jewish kid growing up in Kensington, Hashomer Hatzair had a truly positive influence on my life.
I’m sure a lot of people will say negative things about a Socialist, Zionist youth organization. However, I saw it as my first real exposure to a secular Jewish identity with progressive values of social justice, equality, workers rights — and even peace and coexistence with our Palestinian neighbors. And it all happened when I started attending weekly Hashomer Hatzair meetings along Bustleton Avenue.
In Hashomer, I was accepted and appreciated. I learned about Israel, Jewish history, politics, social causes, leaderships, folk dances, songs, camping, ecology, travel and values that exposed me to a hopeful world.
Hashomer changed my life for the better, so I’m glad at least one U.S. presidential candidate has a background that includes the Hashomer Hatzair kibbutz experience.
Hashomer Hatzair has entered U.S. politics — and I couldn’t be more gratified!
Bruce L. Roseman | Philadelphia
EITC Continues to Make a Difference
In the Feb. 18 edition of the Jewish Exponent, there were two extensive articles highlighting education. One provided parents with a scholarship opportunity; the other discussed Jewish education as “the next frontier in building Jewish identity.” The bottom line is, regardless of what type of Jewish education a parent wishes to provide for their children, there are often fiscal challenges to meeting those objectives. Neither article referenced a most unusual and creative scholarship program through the Foundation for Jewish Day Schools (FJDS), a partnership between the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and our region’s Jewish day schools. The program is unusual because it allows most individuals and businesses that already pay Pennsylvania state taxes to receive a tax credit and direct their tax dollars to a private pre-K or K-12 through the Commonwealth’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program. When people think “taxes,” it can seem daunting. However, the FJDS, navigating this program for 15 years, has demystified and streamlined the process. Each year, more and more individuals and businesses participate, to the tune of $6.6 million in 2015, enabling more than 800 students of low to moderate means to attend the pre-school or Jewish day school of their choosing. It’s a win for individuals; it’s a win for businesses and it’s a win for our students. In the coming months, there will be more information in the Jewish Exponent as to how you can participate. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please see our website at jewishphilly.org/eitc or call us directly at 215-832-0525. l
Elliot Holtz | Chairman, Foundation for Jewish Day Schools


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here