Don’t withhold donations
Thanks for presenting contrasting viewpoints on Theater J’s The Admission (“Controversy at Theater J,” Nov. 21). Having read the full script, it is clear to me that COPMA correctly characterizes the play but is wrong to call for withholding Federation contributions.
The Admission is a sharp polemic, justifying Arab resistance on Israel’s “cruel” and “inhuman” conduct from the 1948 Independence War to the present. Characters reiterate that “killing” and “expelling” by Israel in 1948 directly caused the Yom Kippur War, in which a brother was killed, the first Lebanon War, in which the protagonist was crippled, and the Intifada.
In 2009, following another Theater J controversy, Federation announced: “We will not support, assist or fund any organization that encourages boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel in pursuit of goals to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish State.” Presentation of The Admission at the DCJCC transgresses this policy. The Palestinian narrative espoused in that play is regularly used to support the BDS movement and is an inappropriate position to promulgate from a community platform using community funds. While recognizing the good aspects of DCJCC and Theater J, Federation should apply its stated policy to eliminate any funding for programs that encourage BDS, such as The Admission.
Nevertheless, we should not withhold contributions to Federation because of an odious program at one beneficiary agency. Federation provides needed support for the important central institutions of our Jewish community, including Israel. Any harm that might occur from some Theater J workshops would pale in comparison to the harm we would do ourselves if there were a substantial withdrawal of support for Federation. To protect the vital benefits our Federation provides, we must reject self-wounding monetary threats.
JEROME I. CHAPMAN
OAA is not welfare
The article “Digging deeper to feed the hungry” (WJW, Nov. 14) does a great disservice to those at the Holiday Park Senior Center and to the many thousands of seniors throughout the country who participate in the nutrition programs under the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965, as amended in 2006. The article states that the elderly people receive “free” food under the SNAP (food stamp) Program. Mr. Schwartz should have been aware that the Older Americans Act is not like the food stamp program, and is not a charity or welfare program. It is not, as he wrote, mostly for people who “have little income, Social Security, and perhaps a small pension.” The government subsidized OAA program is not a welfare program, but certainly those in need are welcome and included.
As stated in the OAA, those who participate are encouraged to make a voluntary contribution if they are over 60. Those under this age must pay the full amount. The government subsidizes many programs, and one does not have to be poor to partake.
The OAA is “to promote socialization of older individuals,” to “reduce hunger and insecurity,” and “to promote health and well-being of older individuals by assisting such individuals to gain access to nutrition and other disease prevention and health prevention access services to delay the onset of adverse health conditions resulting from poor nutritional health and sedentary behavior.”
The OAA aims to help old people by enabling them to eat a balanced nutritional meal in a communal setting so that they stay healthy and do not become a burden to society. While there may be welfare programs to feed people because they are poor, the OAA was not passed for that purpose and it is insulting to imply that those in the OAA program are receiving welfare.