Letters to the Editor: Cemeteries Need Upkeep, Intermarriage Is a Problem


More on Cemetery Issues
I have been reading the Jewish Exponent for over 50 years and always see similar articles about Jewish cemeteries being neglected, kept in disorder and being overgrown.

First of all, it is the owners of these cemeteries’ business to keep the grounds and cemetery in good order.

Secondly, they ought to make tools like hand mowers and clippers available for the families with loved ones at the cemetery and options to keep their family plot in trimmed order.

The community at large and the synagogues must be made aware of their responsibility to keep the sacred grounds in orderly fashion in respect of their departed loved ones.

Harry Leibson | Elkins Park

My husband and I spent Martin Luther King Day cleaning debris at Har Jehuda Cemetery (“Har Jehuda Cemetery Struggles as Business Declines,” Jan. 7) from the gravesites in the vicinity of E17, 67, line 1. This area was totally entwined with thorny vines and weeds, which climbed into the trees, totally obliterating everything in the area.

We managed to clear away 90% of the mess, storing it on the side so the trash would not hide any gravesite. We were specifically looking for the great-grandmother of my husband, Toube Krauss. After many attempts, we finally were able to cut away many of the vines, which were hiding her stone. Many of the stones in her area sadly had been pushed over or fallen on their own.

We did our best to clear every gravesite in her area. We will need to return to put the trash in at least 12 bags and transport them to our home for disposal. We will be back to continue this cleanup project. May their memory be for a blessing.

Ann Krauss | Havertown

More on Interfaith Debate
Regarding the current debate about the Exponent’s covering of interfaith family holiday practices and also Jesse Bernstein’s recent review of Rachel Gross’ book about viewing Jewish cultural practice, like eating kosher-style pastrami sandwiches at Hymie’s, as Jewish religious practice, I concur with Bernstein’s dubiousness.

As a former shomer-shabbat, kosher-in-and-out Ramahnik whose religious practice has waned over the decades as I transitioned from my childhood theism to my current devout atheism, I have long struggled to identify what about Jewish ritual for me is the baby to be preserved and what is the bathwater that I can safely discard. The more I looked, the more appeared to be bathwater and the less baby, until I belatedly (and embarrassingly) realized that the baby is the bathwater.

The fact is that, unless you live in Israel, if you want there to be even a slim chance of your great-grandchildren being Jewish then you better observe the Sabbath and keep kosher. Eating kosher-style pastrami sandwiches at Hymie’s just ain’t gonna cut it. Besides, I much prefer their extra-lean corned beef specials.

Steve Mendelsohn | Penn Valley

On Intermarriage and Assimilation
Susan Yemin comments on another letter (“Kvetch ’N’ Kvell,” Jan. 14) and states that the writer doesn’t understand the reality of intermarriage and assimilation. She also states that we have to be more inclusive of those who have married out of our faith.

But in any intermarried couple, we must keep in mind that the non-Jewish spouse is not of our faith and the children may not be Jewish either. Should we have accepted the reality of Egyptian slavery and not left Egypt? Should we have accepted the reality of Babylonian or Roman subjugation and abandoned Torah?

It may be nice that her son is raising her grandchildren “to be good and ethical people,” but without the basis of Torah and Jewish law, what ethics are being taught? Secular ethics can and have changed over the centuries. Torah ethics have remained immutable.

Harold Rose | Narberth


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here