Letters, March 26, 2015


New vaad needed
In response to the various letters arguing against the need for the new Beltway Vaad (“Orthodox leaders create new council, WJW, Feb. 12), I would like to offer an alternative view as to why the new vaad is sorely needed in the area. While the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington has been around and established for a long time serving the community, there are some serious concerns about its ability to continue to serve the observant Jewish community appropriately.

The Vaad of Greater Washington is too insular and exclusive, and one of its former members, Rabbi Barry Freundel, was allowed to maintain a virtual stranglehold on Orthodox conversions in this area.

The Beltway Vaad will help with ensuring that kashrut is more easily obtainable and act as a catalyst to enable more establishments in the Washington area to become kosher. The current vaad has imposed rigid requirements that go above and beyond the requirements as outlined by other reputable kashrut organizations such as the Star-K, resulting in higher costs for establishments and consumers, and acting as a deterrent for additional kosher establishments in the Washington area.

Having an organization that is devoted to ensuring the well-being and dignity of all individuals will only help to enhance and grow observant Jewish life in the Washington area.
Silver Spring


Pejorative word is attack on peace through appeasement
I do not support the use of the term “kapo,” but it is not an attack against those who want peace (“Let’s ban this word,” Voices, WJW, March 12). We are all pro-peace. When used, it is an attack against the peace activists, like J Street, who believe peace comes through appeasement. Others believe peace can come only by standing up to the Palestinians, until they end terrorism, recognize Israel as a Jewish state and end the demand for the right of return. Chamberlain appeased Hitler; Churchill fought Hitler. Who was the “peace activist” and who was pro-peace?

A Palestinian state in the disputed areas will never satisfy Hamas as it views all of Israel as occupied. Moderate Palestinians, if they even exist, will not stand against terrorists (see Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Iran).  J Street supports a two-state solution, but never addresses the fundamental threat a Palestinian state poses.

As I object to the term “kapo” I object to those who try to insulate themselves from criticism by claiming “pro-Israel and pro-peace.” The phrase invariably precedes criticism of Israel. Every J Street article includes the phrase and criticizes Israel, while no article ever really criticizes the Palestinians. Among their many contrarian views, J Street embraced the Goldstone report, though Goldstone ultimately repudiated it. Saeb Erekat (Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator) is to speak at the J Street convention. While Israel and the U.S. must talk to him and Mahmoud Abbas (Palestinian Authority president), you don’t invite a propagandist and serial liar into your home. The invitation conveys legitimacy, equating him to those who do support Israel and peace.  Regardless of Erekat’s planned speech, he is anti-Israel and anti-peace.  Perhaps Goebbels can appear next year.

As I end, I accept Elsner’s offer to debate with civility and honesty the true meaning of support for Israel and peace – any time any place.
Silver Spring

ICCR members should consider other investment moves 
The Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility succeeded in removing sugary soda from kids’ menus at Wendy’s and Burger King (“Socially responsible investors seek to change the world,” WJW, March 12).

Better yet, how about just removing kids from Wendy’s and Burger King? There are a variety of good reasons for parents to do that. In fact, how about removing some of that $100 billion in capital, held by ICCR coalition members, out of those restaurant chains entirely?

Wendy’s and Burger King shouldn’t be thought of as permanent institutions that can only be reformed and not replaced.

The ICCR should be advocating for a tax structure that makes it as easy as possible to move investment money from existing businesses to new businesses – from burgers over to salad, from gasoline over to solar panels, and so on.

Nothing stirs corporate executives more than competition.

Don’t stereotype the very old
It is maddening to read in your article that dementia is becoming a normal part of old age and to read all the pontificating about aging and end of life (“It’s not too early to talk about end-of-life decisions,” WJW, March 19). No!  Part of the problem is that doctors have knee-jerk reactions to the very old and stereotype them.

Case in point is my 99 1/2 year old mother who was given a diagnosis of failure to thrive. That brings in hospice for end-of-life action (or non-action). In addition, my mother’s health surrogate said she had early dementia, though the doctor and lawyer both disagreed. In reality, mother was sick and exhausted, that’s all. She had been moved multiple times last summer and fall (ambulances, change of venues, change of hospital rooms and rehab rooms), had a raging cellulitis infection and had the winter blues, in addition to being disgusted with her situation. Because of failure to thrive, no restorative care was given to my mother. She was taken off medications because that’s the condition under which hospice would come in.

Guess what? Mother is miraculously recovering, though still in rehab. And she is clear as a bell though extremely hard of hearing, so I write on an erase board. Obviously my mother’s recovery is not a miraculous recovery at all. It’s just common sense, given her illness. So, do health professionals of geriatric patients truly evaluate them and give them a real chance at life, at living longer? L’Chaim to the very old’s restored health — or to their demise?

Keep on dancing
Thank you for your informative article (“From generation to generation,” WJW, March 19).  I am one of the senior folk dancers who is “getting so old,” as mentioned by Mike Fox. That is why your article is so relevant for the non-dancing youngsters who attended the Israeli dance festival on Sunday. The enthusiasm of the children in the audience was heartwarming and, hopefully, they will be motivated to participate in the greater Israeli dance community. Thank you for giving us “heads up” for this most meaningful event.  L’dor v’dor.
Silver Spring

Bring back longer L’Chaim column
I have been dismayed over the last few months to see that Josh London and Lou Marmon’s excellent L’Chaim column (The wine and spirits column is a weekly feature in WJW) has been cut in size from three columns, if memory serves, to two.

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