Letters, Jan. 28, 2016


Give Obama a break
I take exception to the editorial “Obama’s regret” (WJW, Jan. 21). Please understand what the political climate has been from Day 1 of the Obama presidency. In 2008 he was elected by a wide margin after campaigning on an ambitious agenda of hope and change (as Sarah Palin likes to remind us).

Neither he nor his supporters were prepared for the implacable opposition of the defeated Republicans.

The Republicans in Congress were determined to deny this president any accomplishments even in areas where ideas Republicans had proposed were adopted by the Obama administration, health care for example. President Barack Obama pressed ahead with landmark achievements including the ones mentioned in your editorial: the Affordable Care Act, the Iran nuclear deal, the stimulus package, and the response to gun violence. (You may oppose the Iran nuclear deal, although I support it, but do you oppose those other initiatives achieved without Republican support?).

Far from “mistiming, miscues and mismanagement,” the Obama administration has succeeded in many areas despite facing formidable opposition in both houses of Congress. This is not to say that Obama has always got it right — we think of the ill-chosen rhetoric and ineffectual action on the Syrian civil war, for example — but nobody’s perfect and the world is too complex for America to dictate terms.


Besides, he showed some humility in his State of the Union speech when he said he didn’t have the gifts of Abraham Lincoln or Franklin D. Roosevelt in working with opponents. (And yet Lincoln didn’t head off our Civil War and FDR didn’t prevent World War II, even with all their giftedness.) Give the guy a break.

When children wed out of the faith
I read your article about Ellen Gerecht and the National Center to Encourage Judaism (“Local Jewish nonprofit seeks gentile conversions,” WJW, Dec. 31).

Ellen Gerecht believes she is doing a mitzvah by encouraging gentile conversions.

Washington Jewish Week often writes articles about gentiles who want to do Jewish. Sounds very noble.

Please remember the rule about this activity: Marry out of Jewish faith, children marry out, grandchildren marry out, and that equals the end of Jewish family. I didn’t make up the rule, I just see it over and over.

I was chatting with someone who said her converted relative is dedicated to living a Jewish life. Good.
Did her children marry Jewish? No.

I asked a rabbi why his daughter married out. Oh, her husband’s grandfather was Jewish. His grandson is not Jewish. Will the rabbi’s grandchild marry Jewish? Probably not.

A child I know attends Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. I never see his family in shul.

A daughter of two Holocaust survivor cousins married out, and their granddaughter married out — another sad end of a Jewish family.

I read a WJW article about Corinne Gracyalny (“You should know… Corinne Gracyalny,” WJW, Dec. 24,”) involved in Birthright or something Jewish. (According to the article, Gracyalny participated in Birthright and is currently in Netanya in Masa Israel’s Teaching Fellows program.) Her mom’s family is Jewish. Dad is Catholic. What is the chance she marries Jewish? Probably slim to none, even though she is hanging around Jewish people.

Please forgive me. I just want to see our Jewish community grow and keep reading WJW. My husband and I have been subscribers for 49 years.

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