Letters, the Week of July 7, 2016

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Readers discuss JCHS and Israeli politics.

For JCHS Survival, Educators Must Sell Jewish Education
The June 16 issue of the Exponent contains an excellent letter extolling the benefits of the Jewish Community High School at Gratz College (“Jewish Community High School Needs Support”). The writer goes on to “call upon our synagogue rabbis and neighborhood synagogues to do more to support the JCHS program.” She is putting the cart before the horse.
Unfortunately, in most synagogues, Jewish education ceases at the age of 13. Synagogues with one or two Bar/Bat Mitzvahs every week have confirmation classes of 15 students. Too many parents, having paid for bridal-size celebrations, feel they have fulfilled their religious obligations.
It is a failure of Jewish educators to impress upon parents the value of Jewish education beyond learning to read Hebrew. Only when this has been accomplished, will the Jewish Community High School program receive the support the reader pleads for.
Ralph D. Bloch | Rydal
Love of Country, Critical of Policies
While in the Army, I was an officer under contract and served in combat in Vietnam. I was and still am proud of my service to this country. However, I have come to learn that not everything my country did, and continues to do, is in its best interest. I do not believe in the maxim of my country, right or wrong.
I do believe strongly in Israel’s right to exist; however, I question the wisdom of some of its political positions. Jimmy Carter is a wise, courageous, fair-minded and even-handed gentleman respected worldwide. His book and comments on Israel were found to be offensive by some, and he was excoriated by many who believe that Israel can do no wrong. Bernie Sanders, too, takes an evenhanded position regarding Israel as do many in Israel who know that Israel’s army is by far the most powerful entity in the region, but that other people have legitimate rights.
For example, Israel recognizes the Green Line, and natural growth is legitimate, but continual expansion into the territories is not. The Palestinian Authority has accepted Israel as a sovereign state, but objects to “of the Jewish People.” Of course, that’s hypocritical, as there are many Islamic states. But Israel could accept it now and change it later.
That’s a large issue to some, but an even larger issue is U.S. involvement with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a purveyor of Wahabism throughout the Middle East. That Salafist ideology was long extant before the horribly wrong U.S. invasion of Iraq, but that miscalculation led to the regional chaos that seriously complicates finding an answer to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Nathan Farbman | Philadelphia

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