Letters, the Week of Sept. 29, 2016


Readers discuss the Torah and immigration.


The Torah Does Not Need to Change

“A modern understanding would demand careful attention to human rights, the ongoing effects of racism, xenophobia … and other modern challenges,” writes Rabbi George Stern (“Systems Must Change to Accommodate Societal Shifts,” Sept. 8). According to the rabbi, these eternal human character traits are only “modern challenges” and, apparently, either did not exist in the ancient times — thus, they were not addressed by the Torah and its commentaries — or our ancient prophets and rabbis of the times were not particularly wise to notice or pay attention to them.

But Rabbi Stern is, and he does pay attention. What a hubris! With all due respect, I am certain that a careful reading of the Torah would yield the time-tested answers to his questions without the need to rewrite or reinterpret it to his liking. It always does.

The problem is that the answers provided by the Torah are not the answers he wants and, therefore, they don’t exist. For instance, the Torah demands that “justice, justice shall you pursue,” meaning that the Torah wisely demands the pursuit of “justice” without any qualifications.

On the other hand, the concept of “social justice” is a purely leftist construct. It is worth noting that the rabbi is particularly incensed about the Citizens United decision, while, of course, the numerous and well-funded Democratic Party-affiliated funding vehicles created well before or after the ruling do not “make impartiality well-nigh impossible” or threaten democracy. What hypocrisy.

Isaac Svartsman | Philadelphia


Immigration Laws Need Updating

In Ivy L. Bryan’s letter, she refers to “mass deportations” (“Trump Defender’s Logic Suspect,” Sept. 8). It is a fact that people living in the United States on an expired visa or who entered this country illegally to begin with must leave the country and reenter it with the appropriate documents. Those are the immigration laws of the United States, although for sure, they are in need of updating.

But to say that mass deportations of 11 million will take place, without mentioning that Donald Trump himself has said that many would eventually return once they have secured the necessary documents, is slanting the facts.

I am a Holocaust survivor, having spent three-and-a-half years in the Westerbork and Bergen Belsen concentration camps. In 1947, I arrived in the United States on a student visa. Eventually, I prepared to get immigration papers. To do so, I had to leave the United States, travel by train to Toronto and appear at the U.S. Consulate. After being checked out, I received the immigration papers and the green card. I then returned by train to the United States. Several years later, I became an American citizen.

It is important to understand the rules and laws.

Erica H. Van Adelsberg | Wynnewood


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