Letters, Feb. 3, 2016


Fresh perspective on grants for synagogue security welcome
I want to commend you on your story on the Union for Reform Judaism’s perspective on Homeland Security funding for synagogue security (“Some synagogues don’t want free federal money,” WJW, Jan. 21).

I helped my temple apply for one of those grants and found it interesting to read about a quite different take on the funding, and one I suspect most people are unaware of. It was refreshing to see your publication provide information that is not just a rehash of the web, versus stories such as this that might be harder to produce but can give people a good reason to read.

Klein’s opposition to Syrian refugees a reflection on himself
Himself a displaced person who has exploited what America has to offer for his own selfish ends, German-born Mort Klein (Zionist Organization of America national president) has some nerve opposing the admittance of Syrian refugees (“Jewish ethics guide Marylanders seeking refugee resettlement,” WJW, Jan. 28).

As the saying goes, “We see things not as they are, but as we are.” Klein’s image of wayward and conniving immigrants is a projection of himself.
Cherry Hill, N.J.


From washingtonjewishweek.com:
Activist honored by Yad Vashem
Your article on refugees (“Jewish ethics guide Marylanders seeking refugee resettlement,” WJW, Jan. 28) refers to Varian Fry as a “Jewish journalist.” In fact, Fry was a Protestant who, in 1994, was posthumously honored by Yad Vashem as a “Righteous Among the Nations,” an honorific used to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews.

Play review too critical
The review of The Sisters Rosensweig (“’Sisters’ at Theater J: A generation’s voice revived,” WJW, Jan. 28) is far too critical.

I thoroughly enjoyed the play (after the slump of the first 15 minutes). I thought it was witty.
It moved quickly and the acting was convincing. The passage of time has not made a dent in the story’s relevance. There was so much of value in the dialogue that I plan to return and see the play one more time.

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  1. More info about Morton Klein:

    As Rafael Medoff has demonstrated (Washington Jewish Week, Nov. 10, 1015) Is Lack of Democracy Actually Weakening U.S. Jewry?), “there are American Jewish organizations today where the same person has been president for more than 20 years … where “elections” are held but there is only one candidate … where entrenched leaders have abolished term limits so they can remain in power indefinitely … where elections required by an organization’s own by-laws are simply ignored.”
    Klein’s brilliant success in this regard has apparently served as an exemplar and role model in Africa, with Rwanda being the most recent example. According to the Washington POST (Dec. 2, 2015, Push for democracy in Africa runs up against ‘presidents for life’ ), “with (President Paul) “Kagame increasingly likely to remain in office beyond 2017, when his tenure was due to end, Rwanda appears to have joined a slew of African countries whose leaders are getting around term limits.
    Within the past few months, the presidents of Burundi, Congo and the Congo Republic have either scrapped their constitutional term limits or indicated their plans to stay in office through what critics call irregularities. …In countries such as Sudan, Uganda, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso, leaders have remained in power for decades…”

    The parallel between Klein and Kagame is especially instructive: the Jerusalem POST (Dec. 8, 2014) lauds Klein as an “indefatigible leader…who succeeded in transforming what had become an almost bankrupt organization into a dynamic political machine”; while Kagame is described by the Washington POST (ibid) as “the man credited with transforming Rwanda from a nation stricken by genocide to a model of African development.”


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