Letters to the editor September 23

Letters to the editor September 23

Gur will be missed
I was shocked and saddened to learn that Dr. Zippy Gur is no longer with the AJL. I’m not addressing the reasons nor the circumstances of this situation. However, I cannot let her, with a clear conscience, just disappear from the Jewish education scene without acknowledging her enormous contribution to the Jewish community for over three decades.
Dr. Gur Zippy — as she is known to everyone — was first and foremost dedicated to the teachers. She was their advocate. Some years ago she organized special courses to help Hebrew and Judaic teachers improve their teaching skills. She brought topnotch teachers to teach those courses. They were invaluable lessons to all who took advantage of them, me included, and of course, indirectly, affected the students.
Fifteen years ago, Dr. Gur initiated the Sherut L’umi program and, in fact, is considered to be the “away from home mother” to those two Israeli young women who came to serve our community in innumerable ways.
These are just a few examples of Dr. Gur’s activities in the community. There are too many to enumerate here.
Zippy’s presence and contribution will be sorely missed.

Naama B. Lazar
Squirrel Hill
Sestak no friend of Israel
Senate candidate Joe Sestak has stated that his “pro-Israel stances” have not been substantively challenged by any of his critics. The congressman describes himself as an ardent supporter of Israel. But there is little evidence to support that contention.
• Sestak did not sign the Hoyer-Cantor letter reaffirming U.S-Israel friendship even though more than three-quarters of the House did.
• Sestak did not co-sponsor the Iran Sanctions bill that passed the House of Representatives even though 343 out of 435 House members did.
• Last year, Sestak did not sign a letter urging President Obama to press Arab nations to take steps to demonstrate commitment to peace with Israel event though 328 of his colleagues did.
• In 2007, Sestak voted for an amendment to constrain the President’s ability to respond to the threat from Iran, even though pro-Israel activists warned that, in the words of Rep. Shelley Berkeley (D-NV), “This is not the time to be tying our hands on Iran.”
• Sestak joined 53 other of his Democrat colleagues in signing the McDermott-Ellison letter, “accusing Israel of collective punishment” for blockading Gaza. A leading pro-Israel Democrat, Eliot Engel (D-NY) lamented that the members who signed that letter were “misinformed” and influenced by “extreme fringe elements.” Engel accused Sestak and the others of having diverged from the pro-Israel “mainstream of the party.”
• Appearing as a keynote for CAIR is an implied endorsement. Having been apprised of the true nature of CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, Congressman Sestak either failed to grasp the legitimacy he conferred on the group by appearing and speaking, or he didn’t care. That was a shoddy example of leadership and slap in the face to everyone who cherishes democracy and freedom. As Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY tells us, “we know CAIR has ties to terrorism,” and has “intimate links with Hamas.”
If leaders of his own party understood and understand the real agenda and mission of CAIR, why can’t Joe Sestak? If this is the portrait of a pro-Israel candidate, we have reason to fear for the future of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Scott M. Feigelstein and
Brenda Smith

(The authors are regional director Republican Jewish Coalition for Pennsylvania/South New Jersey and chair of the RJC Pittsburgh Chapter.)