Letters to the editor January 31

Letters to the editor January 31

Community ‘repels’ interfaith couples

Abby Schachter’s recent article offered a simple solution to the Jewish “demographic crisis.”

To preserve the Jewish community, your children cannot date a gentile, or marry a gentile, and they must raise their children Jewish. She is willing to sacrifice the individual Jew’s freedom in order to save the Jewish community, and that is the real “demographic crisis.”

Community exists to serve the needs of its people. People do not exist to serve the community. The Jewish community is diminishing because it is not meeting the needs of its Jewish members.

One specific group that is not being served is the interfaith couples. You repel interfaith couples rather than treat them as if they were a precious gift.  “And a stranger shalt thou not wrong; Neither shalt thou oppress him.” (Exodus 22:20)

All 12 of Jacob’s sons married gentiles. Jacob did not care because being a Jew is all about how you live your life, not who you marry. In fact, every time that the Jewish people needed to be saved, God chose a Jew who had married a gentile. (Joseph, Moses and Esther.)

Jews created the NAACP.  Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with Martin Luther King in Selma Alabama. Goodman and Schwerner died registering black voters in Mississippi. Jews did all that and more for the Civil Rights movement because we understood that Jews would never be free unless everyone was free.

Forty-seven years later, everyone else enjoys those freedoms, but, according to Schachter, Jews are not allowed to leave the ghetto. Why did we fight so hard for everyone else’s freedom and not our own? Why is our thinking stuck in the shtetl? You never forget the past, but if you live in the past you have no future.

Lee Feldman


Jeanne Clark touted

Regarding Abby Schachter’s December story “A Jew Runs for City Council,” it goes without saying that voters should decide among candidates based upon more than just what the title suggests.

Jeanne Clark, also running for Pittsburgh City Council in District 8, has spent her lifetime as an advocate and activist for civil rights, freedom and equality.  I have known Clark for many years, and she makes a point always to include and involve everyone.  She has a long-standing statewide and nationwide presence in the rights community, in addition to her professional advocacy for the environment, her own neighborhoods, and many other issues.  She has the ability to sit and forge solutions burnished by years of successful experience.

It has been an honor to work actively with Clark since 2007 in our joint efforts – individuals and organizations prominently including the local chapters of NOW and the National Council of Jewish Women – on public and legislative matters involving domestic violence. Clark proudly wears her Silent Witness pin from the NCJW in recognition of this work, and continues as a never-silent advocate.

Although Dan Gilman is a fine, young man — with whom I have also worked intensively — Clark has a longer and broader history in politics, communication and negotiation, including a solid understanding of issues involving the Jewish community and a good working relationship with members of our community.  I am a Jew, I have worked as chief of staff to the city council president, I support Jeanne Clark.

We teach our children to learn, to think, to deliberate, and to reassess, with open ears, open hearts, and open minds.  We must certainly apply those principles to our public elections.  Get out, listen to debates, and please decide wisely.


Audrey N. Glickman


Rubin column a turnoff

A lot has been said about the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense and his comments about Jews and Israel.  While those comments are a concern to the American Jewish community, as well they should be, his positions need to be properly vetted.  I am equally and more concerned about his opinions regarding the defense of the United States.

Today, I read Joel Rubin’s column in The Jewish Chronicle about the Hagel nomination.  I will tell you upfront that I most often disagree with his positions, but today he totally turned me off.  From the beginning of his column, which began, “When I served in the U.S. Senate … ” to “From the pro-Israel community, leading voices such as Thomas Friedman, Peter Beinart and Jeff Goldberg have expressed their support for Hagel.”  To me, these are huge red flags that question the validity of his position.

But don’t listen to me, or Joel Rubin.  I suggest all Americans should do their own due diligence, find as much factual information as possible and make their own decision on Hagel. Remember, if our leadership is wrong about how to defend the United States, we will be of lesser assistance to Israel.

Stuart V. Pavilack

Wheeling, W.Va.

(The author is executive director of the Zionist Organization of America-Pittsburgh District.)

Wrong priorities

Let’s see, President Obama, not an unshakeable fan of Israel, nominates former Senator Chuck Hagel, noted anti-Semite, as secretary of defense. That article is buried on page 14, while page 1 has an endless exposition on 254 possible Jews from India emigrating to Israel.

The Indians have been in transit for centuries and are harmless.  Chuck Hagel is now and he’s dangerous.

Where are your priorities?

Charles L. Davis


(Editor’s note: The Chronicle ran an editorial in the Jan. 17 edition supporting Hagel’s nomination with reservations. This paper rejects the unsubstantiated claim that Hagel is anti-Semitic.)

Morsi is no Sadat

It has been established that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who seeks weapons and billions of dollars in continuing aid from his “ally,” the United States, stated in 2010 that Jews are “bloodsuckers” and “the descendants of apes and pigs,” and that he urged his people to continue the bloody path of animosity for the Jewish people, declaring the following, “We must never forget, brothers, to nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews. Egyptian children must feed on hatred; hatred must continue. The hatred must go on for Allah and as a form of worshiping him.”

It has been reported that when members of a congressional delegation recently met with Morsi and challenged him on his repugnant thoughts, he is said to have uttered the following, “Well, I think we all know that the media in the United States has made a big deal of this and we know the media of the United States is controlled by certain forces, and they don’t view me favorably,” thus going from one offensive characterization of Jews to another.

I do not agree that the media has made “a big deal” of this, but it should be a big deal.  Morsi is in the same league as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who states with a straight face that the Holocaust is a myth.   

The United States stands with Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East.  How can we accept that the Egyptian leader, who needs us, is seen as an ally when he regards our Israeli friends as subhumans?  Mohammad Morsi’s brief rule makes one long for the days of Hosni Mubarak notwithstanding Mubarak’s many shortcomings.  Mubarak went along to get along, exchanging our aid and other support for loyalty to us, and honoring the peace treaty the courageous and extraordinary late Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat executed with Israel.  Mohammad Morsi, you are no Anwar Sadat nor even a Hosni Mubarak.

Oren Spiegler

Upper St. Clair