Letters, the Week of Aug. 18, 2016


Readers discuss Fattah and role models.

Fattah One Friend We Don’t Need
I am thoroughly disgusted that the Exponent proclaims support for a man who was convicted of “23 counts of racketeering, money laundering and fraud,” noting he was a “friend to Jews and Israel” (“Jewish Sympathizer Chaka Fattah Tough Act to Follow,” June 30). As if that makes all of the above OK.
The article accompanied a full-color photograph of this criminal. So, are his crimes neutralized by his “championing the less fortunate?” Excuse me, but he stole from the very foundation he set up to help people.
There is a parallel to be drawn with Bernie Madoff — a purely and simply evil thief whose moral compass ran amok. Friends like this Israel and the Jews surely don’t need.
Tess S. Harnick | Maple Glen
Honor Lost Hero’s Life by Living His Values
Last week, we lost a hero (“Fighter Pilot and Philanthropist Ira Saligman Passes Away at 53,” Aug. 4).
Ira Saligman was fiercely devoted to his family, his community and his country. He understood that if he wanted to see change, he needed to step forward and make that change happen. With his death, our entire community experiences a great loss — of energy, of commitment, of passion, of vision.
Ira was a role model of how one lives as both fully Jewish and fully American. A true patriot, he proudly served our nation as a pilot in the Navy, fighting during the Gulf War. And he proudly served the Jewish community as a dedicated lay leader, providing much more than financial support.
For the past year, Ira had been quietly working with the staff and curators of the National Museum of American Jewish History to develop an innovative way for families to record and preserve their most precious memories and stories. And throughout his work on this project, Ira was resolute in his focus on how to provide the best, most enduring experience for families. He was sure that these powerful moments in the life of a family — gathering for a Bar Mitzvah, dancing at a wedding, hiking up Masada together — will inspire our children and our children’s children to remain connected. He wanted to give families a strong sense of legacy and pride, from generation to generation. Never did we imagine that our work in the short term would be about preserving Ira’s own legacy. We are devastated. But our staff and leadership are steadfast in our dedication to fulfilling his vision and honoring his memory.
At the museum, we have a popular educational program titled “Values in Action,” where students are asked to think about what is important to them and how they can put their own values into action in relationships with others, as members of community and for the broader society. Honor. Respect. Leadership. Acts of loving kindness. These are values of a hero; these are values that defined Ira Saligman. May we honor Ira’s memory by living up to his example.
Ivy Barsky | CEO, National Museum of American Jewish History


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