Right-wing ideology

Dr. Howard Sachs’ view on the minimum wage (“Don’t raise the minimum wage,” Letters, WJW, Sept. 19) is steeped in the right-wing ideology that what is good for the rich is good for America and if you help the rich, you help the poor. It’s a lie that raising the minimum wage hurts businesses and that a low minimum wage helps the poor and unskilled. We can debate the right minimum wage, but accounting for inflation the minimum wage is at a historic low.

I don’t know the details of Obamacare and maybe there would be a better universal health care law if the obstructionists, all of whom already have health insurance, worked for a solution rather than reflexively saying no to any proposal. Many countries have universal health care, including Israel. Today, I have company-provided health insurance, but when I was 20, I needed a total hip replacement, which at the time cost nearly $40,000. Though we were not rich, my family had enough money and insurance to cover the cost. If I were a minimum-wage earner, part of the “working poor,” and had no insurance, could I get the surgery today? And without insurance could I afford my current medication, nearly $2,000 every two weeks, to relieve stiffness as no other medication has for 40 years?

Yes, there are programs to help the poor, but those eligible would then be labeled one of Romney’s “takers.” Obamacare, as I understand it, is a way to get insurance for all so everyone has medical coverage and everyone contributes to get insurance. Isn’t that as it should be?


Helping the top 1 percent does nothing for anyone else. Wealth does not trickle down. Many doctors predicted Medicare would destroy medical care in America. Today we see the same scare tactics.

MELVIN FARBER, Silver Spring

Meaningless negotiations

The stark contrast between Obama administration dogma and the realities of the interminable Arab-Israeli conflict is reflected in the continuing debate over the Oslo Accords (“Still debating Oslo,” WJW, Sept. 19 ).

What President Obama and others now refer to as the “two-state solution” is nothing but the “two-stage dissolution of Israel” sought by Yasser Arafat. How can anyone seriously doubt that this is what Arafat’s avid disciple, Mahmoud Abbas, seeks as well?

It is a sad commentary on our times that our president continues to promote the oxymoronic “land for peace” formula enshrined in the Oslo Accords, while failing to appreciate that for 20 years this formula has brought nothing but tragedy, not peace, to the Jews of Israel. Thankfully, most Israelis now realize that meaningless negotiations, based on Obama’s formulation of handing over Israeli territory to the thuggish and anti-Semitic leaders of the Palestinian Authority, will never bring a secure and permanent peace.

Our president defers to the machinations of men like Abbas who adamantly refuse to recognize the 3,500-year connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. All the while, Obama continues to ignore the unrelenting belligerence manifested by the Palestinian Arabs toward their Jewish neighbors. Like the satirical characters Don Quixote and his loyal squire, Sancho Panza, President Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry, plod on, believing they can bring tranquillity to a troubled region by tilting at windmills.

The continuing debate over the merits of the Oslo Accords may be worthwhile — even though it should be clear by now that its underlying assumptions were erroneous and inevitably led to disastrous consequences — if the debate makes more people aware of the fact that making peace with your enemies is impossible when they refuse to cease being your enemies. Apparently, this simple truism has escaped those in the Obama administration who would rather continue tilting at windmills.

MARC CAROFF, President, Louis D. Brandeis Chapter, Zionist Organization of America, Silver Spring

Big-tent God

I thank the editor for placing “Anti-Semites in Virginia politics?” by Suzanne Pollak and “Messianic challenge” by David Holzel both on the front page of the Sept. 26 issue. For me, Pollak’s article prompts the thinking needed to answer the problems raised by Holzel.

Pollak reported that E. W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia, declared that people who don’t follow Jesus Christ “are engaged in some sort of false religion.” I am sure Jackson means his troubling words. To me, his words are not so much anti-Jewish as “un-Jewish.”

From ancient times, Jewish tradition never said that everyone had to be Jewish to be accepted by God. Instead, the rabbis taught that “a righteous Gentile is an equal of the High Priest” (Sanhedrin 59a and Midrash Sifra, Acharei Mot 9:13) and that “the righteous of all nations have a portion in the world to come” (Sanhedrin 105a).

Jews respect for others is based on their behavior, not their beliefs. This is a view to bring to people tempted by “Messianic Jews.” The Jews believe in a big-tent God, one who respects people coming from different directions. But fundamentalists like candidate Jackson and the Messianic Jews see only a small tent God, who cannot accept righteous, compassionate, charitable Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Catholics. By this, the fundamentalists underestimate God.


Apostate in Israel Omitted in David Holzel’s otherwise superb article about Messianic Jews (“Messianic Challenge” WJW, Sept. 26) is mention of the most politically well-connected of them all: Ron Cantor, the beloved cousin of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va). Born in America, Ron Cantor, according to his website, “has been privileged to passionately share on the Jewish Roots of Christianity and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel in the U.S., Brazil, Ukraine, Switzerland, France, Russia, Hungary, Israel, Germany, Argentina and most recently to Uganda and Nigeria.”

Cantor now lives in Tel Aviv, where he operates Messiah’s Mandate (www.messiahsmandate.org). That’s right: this apostate who has a family connection to the highest levers of power in Washington, currently is actively working to turn the Jewish state into a Christian one.

ROY D. AMADEUS, Alexandria

Practically irrelevant

Reading the article “Messianic Challenge” from (WJW, Sept. 26) reminded me of my teenage and college years. It seemed that nearly every year in my synagogue religious school and frequently at youth group conventions, a counter-missionary presentation could be counted on as a staple of the program. Just a few decades ago there was a collective fear in the Jewish community that vulnerable, young, or minimally educated Jews would be ensnared by missionary outreach. We worried that everyone from Russian Jewish immigrants to impressionable college students would be caught up in the flurry of biblical quotations and charismatic claims of missionaries.

Today, however, it is rare to find the Jewish community investing much in counter-missionary education. Many people today realize that messianic congregations are populated overwhelmingly by Christians, albeit appropriating Jewish symbols and language. They know that “messianic rabbis” are typically trained at Christian Bible colleges and many are not even Jewish. Even the most unsuspecting Jews realize that there is something counterfeit about that.

And the most important indicator of all is that great numbers of Jews who are searching for meaning are increasingly turning inward, often to the most traditional manifestations of Judaism rather than to messianic groups or other faiths for religious inspiration. While missionaries were once considered an existential threat, today they are practically irrelevant. As Dennis Prager so often says, the greatest threat to Judaism is Jews for Nothing, certainly not Jews for Jesus. Reaching and engaging peripherally affiliated and unaffiliated Jews is where our community should put its creative energies and resources.

RABBI ADAM J. RASKIN, Congregation Har Shalom, Potomac

Irresponsible, outrageous In “Messianic challenge,” (WJW, Sept. 26) Ruth Guggenheim, the director of Jews for Judaism in Baltimore was quoted in the article, saying, “that, like pedophiles, Messianic Jews prey on the young, confusing the untutored with spurious proofs of Yeshua’s centrality in Judaism.”

As a Messianic Jew, I found Guggenheim’s comparison of our actions to that of pedophiles totally irresponsible and outrageous. Ms. Guggenheim has every right to disagree with us on the pages of your publication about whether or not the claims of Jesus as Jewish Messiah are true. However, she has stepped outside the boundaries of Jewish morality and fairness with her highly inflammatory and untruthful characterization of our movement. She knows better.

LARRY DUBIN Jews for Jesus, Rockville

Political correctness

Give Muslims credit. Since arriving in the U.S. not very long ago, they often complain, frequently demand and usually receive special accommodations.

American culture is being chipped apart by disenchanted Muslims. If it isn’t about Nike shoe design, then it’s about Burger King meat. Muslim students swim during separate designated hours. Additional plumbing for footbaths have been installed in hospitals and universities. Cab drivers turn away passengers for carrying packaged alcohol during Christmas. The American Civil Union Liberties Union (ACLU) fights to allow Muslim law (Shariah) in American courtrooms.

A Hamas-linked group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), pressures Montgomery County to close schools on Muslim holidays (“Group: Close Montgomery schools on Muslim holidays,” WJW, Sept. 26). Their “coalition” doesn’t want us to know how many Muslim kids live in the county because an accurate count wouldn’t justify closings. Their Oct. 15 Eid al Adha boycott legitimizes cheating with the help of expedient politicians. Council member George Leventhal will keep his son home, thereby encouraging others to skip school even though they don’t belong to the Islamic faith.

Aggressive activism, characteristic of Muslim behavior, has nothing to do with equal rights. Christian-Judeo society defends Muslim pride but it never seems to be enough. Christians and others cannot pray in public schools but Muslims are permitted. Muslim Day parade marchers proudly carry colors of jihadist/al-Qaida interests, and the nearly built Cordova Mosque, so close to Ground Zero, brazenly ignores American heartache.

Has out of control “political correctness” replaced “the home of the brave”?


Level of contempt

As someone who grew up in Israel and served in the United States Marine Corps, and as a Jew, it is hard for me to find words to express the level of contempt I have for candidates such as Jordon Cooper (“Gun control is an issue in House of Delegates race,” WJW, Sept. 26).

Not only do I not understand how his fanatical intent of restricting the ownership of firearms by law-abiding citizens would prevent any mass tragedies; I suspect he is cynically attempting to exploit legitimate voters concerns. Perhaps he needs to be reminded that many mass murders in the U.S. did not involve guns, but easily obtainable items such as gasoline and fertilizers. I can only wonder if it comes to that whether Mr. Cooper himself would have the courage and be willing to confiscate guns himself from those gun owners, who feel that the right to own firearms is one of the most important constitutional rights a U.S. citizens can have.


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