Letters | March 17, 2021


Missing headline

Sonny Taragin (“The letter of the Oslo agreements,” letters, March 11) is off base. He contends that “based on the Oslo agreements, the Palestinian Authority is solely responsible for the health care of the territories under its control.”

According to Hebrew University professor emeritus of international law David Kretzmer, writing in Forum for Regional Thinking, Feb 7: Oslo II does not absolve Israel, as occupying power, of responsibility for obtaining vaccines, but simply consigns the task of administering them to the Palestinian Authority. Pathogens do not recognize geographical boundaries.


Shulamith Elster’s role in founding D.C. day school

Shulamith Elster was credited in your excellent story (“Jewish education loses its ‘dean,’” March 4) with her influence on two area Jewish day schools. She should also be recognized for her contribution to the founding of the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School, originally the Jewish Primary Day School.


In 1987, during Shulamith’s tenure as headmaster at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, and mine as president of the school’s board of directors, a group of preschool parents at Adas Israel Congregation asked me for help starting a K-3 school. The commute to Rockville was too much for 5 year olds, but the parents wanted the daily Jewish education to continue. As a member of Adas, I knew and respected them. I asked Shulamith whether and how CES/JDS could support the endeavor. Without a moment’s hesitation, Shulamith said, “Let’s go talk to them.” So we did.

Shulamith not only gave those parents invaluable advice about starting a school, she removed one of the biggest obstacles they faced: She promised prospective parents that their children would have a place at CES/JDS when they finished JPDS. Shulamith then followed up by sharing CES/JDS curricula with JPDS to ensure that on entering CES/JDS, fourth graders would be ready for their new school. JPDS opened the following fall.

Other headmasters might have hesitated at the notion of supporting a possible future competitor to their own school. To Shulamith, increasing the options for day school education was unquestionably good for the community. Another Jewish day school? Let’s do it!


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