Letters to the editor December 22

Letters to the editor December 22

Bombastic attack

As I perused my “Jewish” Chronicle, on Dec. 7, a time during which the Jewish community was preparing for Chanuka, I noticed one op-ed in that Chronicle’s edition. I naturally expected a Jewish cultural piece that would shed some light on the state of the Jewish people and Israel. I even hoped that it would be written on the level of the poetess Rachel or David Grossman.

However, soon I realized that this was a political diatribe by some hawkish politician such as Tzipi Livni or Joe Lieberman. The more I read, the more I understood that this is the campaign season in the United States, and that this was an outright political attack by someone such as a Rick Perry or Rick Santorum. “No,” I said to myself, that cannot be; they are not even Jewish.

Well, I read further and almost reached the conclusion that this was a translation from a speech by Avigdor Lieberman, the ex-security guard cum foreign minister, or Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, who do not see any peace agreement ever occurring between the Palestinians and the Israelis. On the other hand, it would not be those two writing something such as that op-ed. In any case, they never worry about pressure from our president. We also know that high-ranking Israeli military officers have actually praised President Obama for providing the most hardware, and military cooperation with Israel of any American president.

As I continued to read toward the last paragraph of the op-ed, I felt that maybe it was penned for Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Oy Vey, Netanyahu who saw in his dreams the fending off the Iranian Revolutionary Guard with his own mighty hand, right after he had ordered an attack on them. This happened in spite of the fact that close to 100 percent of his own military intelligence officers advised him not to begin a war with Iran.

Finally, I realized that this op-ed was not really a Jewish op-ed, but a bombastic attack by Abby Wisse Schachter on the president. It also never considered the truth that President Obama has called for a two-state solution within secure borders for Israel to be arrived at by direct negotiations. This is what the majority of the American and Israeli populations themselves seek.

I am sure that the Ayatollah Khomeni would not appreciate that type of peace agreement, so be careful President Obama, he just might attack you with his own op-ed in our Jewish Chronicle.

Ivan C. Frank

Squirrel Hill

Teach Jewish children their history

A new AJL curriculum teaching Pittsburgh Jewish community history (“Homegrown history,” Dec. 15) is a great idea, but it falls short of what we need.

Everyone is concerned about the future of the Jewish community, but the real problem is that Jewish children do not appreciate their heritage because we have never taught it to them. We teach our children that we have been perennial victims, and that is the only Jewish heritage they understand.

George Santayana wrote, “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”  Jewish history has been repeating itself for 2,000 years because neither we, nor our children, understand it.

The Romans expelled us from Israel, but everywhere we went, Jews were successful. Some became rich and powerful. The natives became jealous and played the religion card as a cover to steal our wealth. The Spanish expulsion in 1492 was not about religion; it was about stealing Jewish-owned land, timber, cattle, and tin mines — all of which you cannot take with you when you leave Spain. The Nazis used Jewish persecution as a cover for stealing from the Jews, and they used the war to steal from everyone else.

Abandoned synagogues throughout the rust belt and coal country document our history as the backbone of the local economies. I’ll bet the Shapira children know who created Giant Eagle; the Kaufmanns know who created Kaufmann’s department store; the Silvermans know who created American Eagle Outfitters; the Falks know how National Steel, and the Falk Clinic came to be; the Finkelhors know that Point Park University evolved from their Business Training College; the Rauhs know how the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Pittsburgh Playhouse were created; the Choskys know who created the Rosedale Technical Institute.

Why don’t your children know that?

Pride determines your ethnic identity, not assimilation or affiliation. Synagogue membership mushroomed after the Israeli army repeatedly defeated the Arabs in the 1960s. Teach your children their real Jewish heritage, and they will be proud to be Jews. Teach them what we have contributed to civilization.

There are at least 52 people of Jewish descent who were awarded the Nobel Prize, and that ain’t chopped liver.

Lee Feldman


Obama in trouble

In her Dec. 15 letter, “Column omitted facts,” Mindy S. Fleishman praises President Obama for his efforts on a number of issues.  I agree with her that the bold, courageous, and brilliant elimination of Osama Bin Laden, or lesser role in the killing of Moammar Qadafi, and increasing vehicle mileage standards are positive developments, and I praise the president for them, but I take strong issue with her characterization of Mr. Obama having “rescued the economy from the brink of economic ruin.”

President Obama inherited an economic disaster from his incompetent predecessor, but the economy is anything but rescued almost four years into his reign. Rather it can be powerfully argued that it has been made worse.  Despite the president perpetrating almost as much deficit spending as all other presidents combined (the national debt having soared to a mind-boggling total of close to $15 trillion), the economy remains lackluster and grim.

His promise that unemployment would be restrained to a figure below 8 percent if his wasteful, poorly executed stimulus bill were passed was proven to be a sham. Congress bought the president’s snake oil and passed his legislation, yet unemployment crashed through 9 percent on its way to a modern-day high, which is where it remains today with economists predicting little hope for improvement on the horizon.

The auto industry was “rescued” from its stupidity and wastefulness, proven to be “too big to fail.”  When will the federal government shift away from funneling taxpayer dollars to multinational corporations and begin the rescue of responsible members of the middle class, those who find themselves in jeopardy today despite living below their means and not having purchased more home than they could afford nor having used their home as a cash register to secure home equity loans?

The tightened control of the credit card industry has been a double-edged sword. The provisions put into place, albeit with good intentions but little foresight, have caused the entities to impose higher or new fees where they can, and to reduce or eliminate cardholder perks for responsible customers.

It is not a coincidence that President Obama’s approval rating is poor, and this places him in dangerous territory as he seeks to secure a new term in which it is reasonable to conclude that he would continue to deliver economic malaise.  I do not diminish the ability of the GOP to shoot itself in the foot despite a golden opportunity to seize The White House next year, but if the American people vote their pocketbooks as it is said they always do, President Obama is in trouble.

Oren Spiegler

Upper St. Clair