Letters the Week of March 5, 2015


Readers weigh in on Gratz College and corned beef.

One Door Closes … : Alternative to Gratz?
In the new film, Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus, Col. Richard Kemp says: “Perhaps one of the most important things Jewish students need is the education in what is happening, what the situation is — and it’s very complex. It’s not an easy subject to get your head around, but I think it’s worth doing that … in order to stand up for yourself, stand up for your Judaism and stand up for the state of Israel.” 
This is why your Jewish teen headed to a college campus must be educated.This is why dropping off the face of the Jewish earth after a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is irresponsible and hypocritical. This is why the status quo of teenage Jewish education in our area is unacceptable and destructive to our community (Headlines, “Gratz to Close Big Chunk of Its High School Program,” Feb. 26).
We live and breathe this at the Har Zion High School of Jewish Studies and we would love to help you build a Jewish teenager with a strong Jewish identity. But, I gotta be honest — I don’t care where your teenager gets their Jewish education … there is no such thing as a “competitor.” Just do it somewhere! Our biggest competition is apathy and ignorance.
Norman Einhorn | co-principal, Har Zion High School of Jewish Education | Penn Valley
Writer Finds Gratz Closing All Relative
It is a sad day to see that programs offered by Gratz College are closing (Headlines, “Gratz to Close Big Chunk of Its High School Program,” Feb. 26). For me, it has a personal meaning, as I am the great-nephew of Joseph Medoff, who was the first president of Gratz College.
As he died in the flu epidemic of 1917, along with my great-grandfather, Barnet Medoff, I never met him. I grew up seeing a Philadelphia Bulletin article about Joseph and Barnet in the house of my grandfather, his younger brother, my Zayde Zeke, and my beloved grandmother, Bubba Chan. Both Joseph and Barnet were scholars who fled religious persecution in Russia that came from fellow Jews who vehemently disagreed with the Haskalah movement that encouraged Jews to study secular subjects.
In addition to giving what I infer to have been Hebrew lessons at home (described in the Bulletin article as “foreign language instruction”), they also practiced architecture in Philadelphia along with my grandfather and a cousin, Joseph Medoff.
To top off the family heritage, my wife and I moved in to our current residence in Elkins Park that was, unbeknownst to us at the time, designed by Joseph Medoff, where we have lived for 39 years, very close to the Mandell Campus of Gratz College.
David Herman | Multilingual Psychologist Consultant
Corned Beef Special Not Such a ‘Shanda’’
The article “Fifty Shandas of Grey” (“Jewish Explosion,” Feb. 26) referred to my favorite sandwich — the corned beef special — as being treif. OY! There is nothing inherently treif about the kosher combination of two thick slices of (seeded) rye bread, a handful of (extra lean) corned beef, a dollop of (tangy) cole slaw, and a schmear of (creamy, but not cream-based) Russian dressing.
Perhaps the author was thinking of that infamous intermarriage of corned beef, Swiss and sauerkraut invented in Omaha, Neb., in the 1920s by Reuben Kulakofsky and his goyishe kop.
Steve Mendelsohn | Penn Valley


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