Letters, Sept. 9, 2015


Recipe success
I appreciate very much the recipes that have been highlighted in the Washington Jewish Week recently (“Dump cakes sweeten Jewish New Year,” Aug. 20; “Welcome Rosh Hashanah with these drinks” and Special foods for delicious New Year,” Aug. 27, have been among articles with recipes). The selections are varied and the ingredients along with the directions are not complicated. I have tried some of the recipes and have been successful. My family members are in agreement — all are so yummy!
Montgomery Village

Recipes unhealthy
I think it’s a shame that, in your Food and Dining article (“Dump cakes sweeten Jewish New Year,” WJW, Aug. 20), you would publish such recipes that are loaded with sugar and are as unhealthy as can be.

Where are the good old recipes that your parents and grandparents used? Too many Jews
are diabetic and overweight and your recipes would be a disaster for them. Shame on you.

Airline’s Tel Aviv flight cancellation reason unbelievable
The Aug. 27 front-page story “American Airlines cancels Philadelphia-Tel Aviv route” (WJW) is an obvious case of agreement to boycott Israel, as reported in the Jerusalem Post. The proper response is to (1) prosecute American under the new anti-boycott law, and (2) for U.S. passengers to boycott all American flights anywhere.


American’s claims that it is dropping the route because it is unprofitable stands in sharp contrast to [a statement by] American’s managing director of government and airport affairs, Rhett Workman, that just because there are no empty seats doesn’t mean that the route is profitable. Nonsense! Either Workman is lying, has access to a very creative accountant, or American is so incredibly inefficient that its costs are higher than any other airline’s. We note, for example, that other carriers flying to Tel Aviv manage to do so profitability. Are we to take at face value that American is the only carrier flying that can’t profitably run full flights to Tel Aviv? If so, American’s investors should be looking at portfolio adjustments. In the meantime, fly any carrier except American.

Reasons for support of Iran deal at issue
Recent articles in the Washington Jewish Week lead one to wonder whether the controversy over the Iran deal is motivated on the fundamental issues or loyalty to the administration.  Paul Scham, an adviser to J Street, complains (“Not in my name: Jewish institutions should stop their criticism of Iran deal,” Voices, Aug. 6), that Jewish institutions should stop their criticism of the deal.  He accuses Jewish institutions of betraying what he calls “our views that the deal is good”.   Thus, AIPAC, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, AJC, ADL, EMET, B’Nai Brith, etc. are betraying Scham’s views.  He ignores that a majority of non-Jewish Americans also oppose the deal.

In the Aug. 13 edition, Barbara Goldberg Goldman/ National Jewish Democratic Council, justifies her support of the deal (”Looking at the facts, Iran deal is a good deal,” Voices) based on her understanding of facts.  She relies on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor the deal, ignoring a 20-year history of IAEA reports to the U.N. Board of Governors that Iran has been uncooperative in providing information on suspected nuclear sites.  She touts 24 days as sufficient to inspect a site, ignoring that the IAEA must first justify its request.   Iran can take its time to review it and only then will the 24 day period begin.  She ignores that Iran has declared military sites off-limits.   She would rely on “snap-back” of sanctions without understanding these would require 65 days to establish and apply only to major violations.

It is ludicrous for both to proclaim support for a deal of this magnitude. The more one learns about the details, the more it becomes obvious it has to be rejected. Negotiations with Iran must be reopened with a defined end date for a final agreement. Tighter sanctions must be imposed with secondary sanctions applied to other nations that evade these sanctions. Let us not underestimate the calamity of Iran having nuclear weapons.

Average Jews support Iran deal
The roundup of stands taken by major Jewish organizations around the country was very enlightening (“All over the map: Where local Jewish groups stand on Iran deal,” WJW, Aug. 20).  But it was particularly interesting to contrast it with an article that appeared Aug. 14 in The Washington Post the week before, entitled “Opinions on the Iran Deal:  American Jewish leaders Don’t Speak for Most Jews.”

Steven Cohen, a research professor of Jewish social policy at Hebrew Union College, has conducted polling that shows that the majority of rank-and-file American Jews actually support the Iran deal.  His polling shows that more than three-fifths of American Jews who express an opinion support the deal, compared with just over half of Americans in general.  So we are more sharply divided about the deal than most Americans, but in general, more in favor.

Cohen and Todd Gitlin, a well-known journalist and social commentator, discuss how the leadership and organizational board members tend to be older, wealthier and more conservative than the average Jew.

Also, Jews who are less affiliated with Jewish organizations tend to be more in favor of the deal.  But the bottom line is that American Jewish organizations “may speak for their donors, leaders, and members, but they certainly do not speak for the American Jewish public at large, and in particular, the large population of American Jewish liberals who overwhelmingly support the deal and want their senators and representatives to approve it …”

Freundel deserves community service, not jail
I completely agree with Edith Brown’s response, “No purpose for imprisoning Rabbi Freundel,” (Letters, WJW, Aug 20).  For me, Rabbi Barry Freundel has been a light unto the nations in terms of his erudite Jewish education and teaching he has shared with those of Washington’s more spiritually depraved and leprous society.  While a few of our Jewish family have struck him below the belt for inappropriate voyeuristic behavior associated with the mikvah, how many others in society freely pursue their voyeurism or illicit affairs through pornography or websites like Ashley Madison and elude justice?  Will those criminals serve 6.5 years or more in prison?  Maybe if the hackers of Ashley Madison expose some of these criminals. Freundel deserves a chance to serve society outside of prison through community service, rather than wasting taxpayer money in prison and a loss to society of his productive tikkun olam.

Shared Jewish values
Applause to Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig for taking part in this important monumental commemoration of our nation’s enduring struggle for rights and equality for all (“Reform rabbis join NAACP in march from Selma to Washington,” WJW,  Aug. 13).  This month of Elul preceding Rosh Hashanah is a time of reflection when we take account who we have been this past year and who we want to be in the next.

What better way to dedicate oneself to liberty and justice than spending 40 days (the time between Rosh Elul and Yom Kippur) walking, the eternal mode of human migration, pursuant in justice one step at a time?  (Not to mention a busy time for rabbis generally.)

My question is why the Reform movement is given credit singlehandedly for our Jewish brethren’s role in the civil rights movement.  It was a Conservative Jew, who is now Orthodox, who asked my mother, a Reform Jew, to join him to protest the inequality of African-Americans, later leading to my mother’s participation in the famous Glen Echo sit-in, where she participated in the protests of the park’s discrimination of African-Americans.

To give the Reform Judaism movement all the credit for Jewish participation in the American Civil Rights Movement is not only incorrect, it’s suggesting that Reform Judaism in itself is a separate religion.  However, just as Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner so eloquently said in the article, “… called upon to live our Jewish values by marching …” these values are Jewish, not Reform, Conservative or Orthodox.

At this important time in history, it is essential that we remember that our Jewish values are shared, and that makes us one people.  In this next year as I evaluate my merits and plot my goals, I hope others will join me in the belief that we Jews are still one nation.

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