Letters: In-Person Learning, Second Amendment Arguments


In-person Beats Online
No doubt, online education is the direction of the future (“Gratz Refocuses, Ahead of the Curve with Online Classes,” May 26), but call me old-fashioned. I am more attentive to in-person classes and find that personal interactions are a critical component to learning.

I attended Gratz Hebrew High School decades ago and still have strong memories of my teachers and classmates, in addition to the content of many of my courses. It’s hard to imagine that children learn as much in Hebrew schools of today, with fewer hours and tests and more entertainment.

It will be interesting to measure the effectiveness of online Hebrew school education at Gratz since in-person Hebrew high school was eliminated years ago.

Ina Asher | Merion

Second Amendment Argument Rings Hollow
Jonathan Tobin’s recent invitation to an “honest discussion” about guns and the Second Amendment (“The Only Honest Discussion About Guns Rests on the Second Amendment,” June 2) feels rather hollow. In addition to declaring that no gun restrictions could possibly reduce gun violence, he also suggests that the liberal Jewish groups pushing gun control are largely bicoastal urbanites who are out of touch with real Americans and real American culture.

Rather than an honest labeling of those who demand unfettered access to guns as right-wing or conservative, Tobin repeatedly identifies gun advocates and their position simply as “American.” Not surprisingly, liberal Jews are never described as equally American. This insinuation that liberal Jews and their political activity are in some way un-American is reminiscent of ugly accusations that have been made about Jews’ place in America.

If there is to be an honest debate, then the assumption that guns are an integral part of “American culture” and “American political tradition” needs to be critically evaluated rather than blindly accepted. Respected historians of Colonial America have challenged the idea that guns were a major part of Colonial American culture. For example, it is estimated that perhaps only one in 10 people even owned a gun at that time, compared to nearly four in 10 today.

To suggest that a gun-saturated society is a necessary feature of American culture, or that any regulation of guns is an affront to all authentic Americans, represents a particular interpretation of the Second Amendment that only became popular in the last half-century.

Stuart Charme | Philadelphia


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