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(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

For, and, but, or, yet and so
Josh Sivtiz’s essay “Resurrecting ‘tucky’” (Feb. 4) was a nifty piece of writing. But there is a caveat: I must disagree with Mr. Sivitz’s English teacher, Mrs. Franklin. (And yes, I realize the risk of taking such a position.) For instance, her contention that sentences cannot begin with certain words (for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so — also known as FANBOYS) is … well, not unfalse. Nor is she alone: Many instructors have banned the FANBOYS from the sentence’s starting gate. Yet this outdated rule persists, despite many examples to the contrary.

So let’s set the record straight: We should feel free to use these words to open our thoughts. Or, better yet, let us consider our thoughts first, before we open our mouths.

Mark Collins
Ben Avon

Jews should be proud of Israel

A Jewish school hiring an anti-Israel teacher is like a state hiring an anti-vaxxer to manage its pandemic response. Jewish schools just like Catholic schools should have the right to hire people whose philosophy harmonizes with the ideology for which the school was established. What is really disturbing in Rabbi Amy Bardack’s essay, “How inclusive are we willing to be?” (Feb. 11) was her assertion that 22% of American Jews believe that Israel is carrying out a genocide against the Palestinians. How could there be a genocide when in 1948 there were 750,000 Palestinian refugees and in 2021 5.5 million? The outrageous lie that Israel is deliberately wiping out Palestinians must be dismissed and those responsible for this libel condemned. If Jews can’t be proud of Israel, there is something seriously wrong with us. Our Jewish community has a lot of educating to do and rather than waste it on arguing about inclusiveness, we should go into a full court press to educate our people about the miracle of Israel. One hopes that Rabbi Bardack would be among those devoted to helping American Jews achieve an honest understanding about Israel, not succumbing to Israel’s enemies’ distortion and lies.

Larry Shapiro
Calgary, Alberta Canada

Sander case is a bellwether
I read with interest the two opinion pieces about the case of Jessie Sander, the young Jewish educator who is suing a synagogue for firing her because of her anti-Zionist views (Feb. 11).

While Ms. Sander is somewhat extraordinary, both in her level of anti-Zionism and her level of devotion and commitment to Judaism, she is but an extreme example of a phenomenon that is growing: It is some of our most devoted and committed young people who are most critical of Israel’s behavior.

If we are wise, we as a community should take this case as a bellwether that spurs us to action. While we want to support Israel, it is at Israel’s peril that we ignore the illegal and unjust actions of its governments.
Unless we pay attention to our core value of justice, we will lose our most idealistic youth, and risk losing Israel as well.

Eileen Kraus-Dobratz
Pittsburgh

Zionism is Jews’ ‘foundational narrative’
To deny that anti-Zionist Jews are antisemitic is to deny Judaism (“How inclusive are we willing to be?” Feb. 11). Judaism exists solely within the pages of the Jewish Bible, aka the Old Testament and the Tanakh. That Jewish Bible has only one foundational narrative: the Jewish people’s return to Zion — what today is Israel. It is not complicated: Zionism is Judaism. The Jewish people have no other foundational narrative. To deny Zionism is to deny the Jewish Bible. The Jewish anti-Zionist is an apostate. That, too, is not complicated.

Richard Sherman
Margate, Florida

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