Letters from September 26, 2013


Wrong impression

I have been told that my op-ed “Synagogues talk too much about money” (WJW, Sept. 19) may have given the wrong impression about my current synagogue. I did not reference Adas Israel because it is one of few congregations that does not focus on money but rather on Rabbi Gil Steinlauf’s vision of creating a sacred community infused with lifelong learning, a love of Israel, community involvement and an openness to seeking a path to one’s Judaism.

At Adas Israel, we consolidated all our fundraising into a low-key, once-a-year appeal so the rest of year we could concentrate on Torah, avodah, and gemilut chasadim — learning, prayer, and acts of loving-kindness. Adas Israel models the values that all synagogues should emulate.



Chevy Chase 


Funding for Theater J

In its open letter to the community (WJW, Sept. 19), The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington attempts to defend its position regarding its continued funding of anti-Israel productions at Theater J. The premise of its argument is that the Federation is a “big tent, open to all sides.” The question that needs to be asked is why should a major Jewish organization use any donations from the Jewish community to fund programs that demonize Israel and push the Palestinian narrative?

This is not about being open to all sides, but rather about a major Jewish organization that is funded by the Jewish community supporting Jewish causes. In this same letter, the Federation acknowledges that needy seniors, Holocaust survivors, day schools and many others depend on them. Should funding plays and programing that promote the Palestinian cause at Israel’s expense be included on this list?

It is important that donors to the Federation be made aware that some of their money is going to organizations that are not acting the best interest of the Jewish people or Israel. I agree with the Federation that the many worthy causes it supports should not be boycotted. My suggestion to donors who share my concerns would be to bypass the Federation completely and donate directly to the organizations that the Federation funds. This way, one can be sure that their entire donation is helping the Jewish community.


Silver Spring


Proud of Federation 

As a long-standing Federation supporter — both in another community and here in D.C. — I was proud to read the Federation’s open letter to the community last week.

Being a welcoming community that is tolerant of diverse views is something I cherish, and I am happy to see that the Federation considers it an important value as well.

Around the world and around the corner, I have seen firsthand the impact of the important programs and services made possible by our donations to the Federation. Each service that is supported is critically important in someone’s life and I am grateful to the Federation for its commitment and dedication to improving Jewish lives in our community and overseas.

It disappoints me to hear people urging donors to turn their backs on our Federation and our community. Without hesitation, I will continue my support for our community through my support of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and urge others to do so as well.




Is J Street obstacle to peace?

Paul Schneider’s article “J Street’s time to lead” (WJW, Sept. 12) does not advance the Israel/Palestinian peace process. After all, why should Palestinians agree to any peace agreement when an organization claiming to represent American Jews parrots their propaganda, implying that Israel is to blame for lack of peace. He accuses Israel of blocking a two-state solution, claiming only this solution would bring peace and democracy to Israel. In doing so, he demonstrates the axiom that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Schneider levies no conditions on the Palestinians as a prelude for peace. He faults the “settlement policies” of Israel as an obstacle to peace but fails to acknowledge most “settlements” were Jewish communities throughout history except from 1948-1967. He strengthens Palestinian claims that “settlements” are on occupied Palestinian land. He adopts the Palestinian pejorative reference to the Israel Security Barrier, calling it the “Separation Fence,” conjuring visions of apartheid.

The Jewish people have biblical and historical rights to a land on which there never was an Arab nation now calling themselves Palestinians.  Four two-state solutions have been attempted: 1) the League of Nations in 1922; 2) the U.N. Partition Plan in 1947; 3) the Oslo Agreements in 2000; and 4) the Olmert plan in 2008. Jews accepted each, willing to sacrifice land for peace. The Arabs did not. They refuse to acknowledge and accept a Jewish state on what they consider to be their Muslim land. No, a two-state solution is not the key to Israel’s security, as claimed by Schneider, but a stepping-stone to elimination of the state of Israel.

To continue on the path of blaming Israel for lack of peace is to invite more hostility and more bloodshed. Is it possible that J Street is more an obstacle to peace than a facilitator of peace? Has it evaluated the potential for Jordan, which is currently 60 percent Palestinian, to be designated as the other part of a two-state solution?



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