May 17, 2013
Thank you so much for sharing Phil Horn’s heartbreaking story about his grandchild Shira. (“One year later, memories of love, courage”).
I’ve read the piece several times and each time I sob with heartache. Then I ask myself, “Am I making a difference like Shira did? Am I living life fully like Shira did? Am I bringing joy to the world like Shira did?
Shira stood for goodness, kindness, joie de vivre, helping others, courage, and passion and more. I wish I had been lucky enough to have met her. Shira inspires me to be a better person, teacher, mother, wife, friend, etc., because of his article. I’m so sorry for his unimaginable loss. At the same time, I am so awed by how the author molded his grief into a message of love, courage, and inspiration.
Tamar Wyner Herman
May 17, 2013
Like Dr. Chouake, I, too, recall the difficult days of the Yom Kippur War (“A day to play an outsized role for Israel,” May 2). Unlike him, however, I experienced those days — and the difficult weeks and months that followed — from my then-home in Jerusalem.
Forty years later, my take-away is that the most important issue facing Israel today is the need to encourage Israeli leaders to the negotiating table for peace talks. In the last few days alone, the Arab League has endorsed the idea of a two-state solution based on “comparable” and “minor” land swaps, and the re-endorsement of the official Arab Peace Initiative by non-Palestinian Arab countries is remarkably similar to the American framework that has been put forth for these negotiations.
As a “determined and committed” American Jew myself, I therefore believe that the “oversized role” we can best play in ensuring “the survival of the Jewish homeland and the Jewish people” is to seize the opportunity that this window of hopeoffers. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if thousands of similarly passionate American Zionists were to meet with congressional leaders and express our abiding desire for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rather than confine our powerful voices to perpetuating concerns couched in the language of threats, defense, and funding sophisticated weaponry? Who knows, it might actually work.
May 8, 2013
I was extremely touched by Phil Horn’s remembrance piece about the loss of his beloved granddaughter, Stephanie, who appeared to have been a most extraordinary young lady (“One year later, memories of love, courage,” May 2). Each and every poignant recollection shared about Stephanie’s all-too-short life served to remind me of how fragile life can be.
My sensitivity to the essay was striking, as I approach the sixth yahrtzeit of my sister, Ronni, whose life was cut short at age 62. I live out every day knowing I never had a chance to say goodbye.
Mr. Horn’s beautifully written tribute served to remind us of how integral it is to honor the memory of our loved ones by making every moment count while ensuring that those lost to us are remembered. To honor the memory of my sister, my husband and I dedicated a Wall of Holocaust Remembrance at the College of St. Elizabeth where I had taught and subsequently retired, so that for us her life could be recalled in perpetuity and with meaning to those who are educated in her righteous name.
Mr. Horn’s words reminded me once again that the fullness of one’s life is not measured in years alone. What remains evident is that life will not always be the same without the presence of a loved one.
I extend tremendous appreciation to the author. In this sixth year without my sister, peace cups her place in my heart and holds it gently.
May 8, 2013
I agree with the NJJN editor-in-chiefthat anti-Zionism is a radical fringe position on both the Left and the Right (“It’s 2013. Let’s debate Zionism!” April 25). It is no more representative of the Jewish progressive community than the anti-Zionism of Satmar represents Jewish conservatives. Virtually the entire Jewish community firmly supports the State of Israel. Even cursory examination of the published positions of the major progressive Jewish organizations, such as J Street, immediately bears this out.
The New York Times publishes many op-ed essays that provoke an eye-rolling “oy vey,” and in principle I should commend them for giving a place to non-mainstream views. But I can’t help agreeing with Andrew Silow-Carroll that these particular two pieces were unnecessary.
Harvey S. Cohen
May 8, 2013
I commend Andrew Silow-Carroll for calling out The New York Times for providing a platform for “debate” on whether or not Israel has a right to exist (“It’s 2013. Let’s debate Zionism!” April 25). And he correctly notes that the fact that the Times entertains this debate provides encouragement to those who seek to destroy Israel. But I would urge him to take it a step further.
Weekly, the New Jersey Jewish News prints op-eds and columns that unfairly harangue and hector Israel. Even the beginning of his own column features the same tiresome criticisms that Silow-Carroll calls “honest, often uncomfortable” discussions. He asks if Israel is living up to being called “the only real democracy in the Middle East” or whether Israel’s founders really meant assurances of equal rights for all citizens spelled out in the Jewish state’s declaration of independence. Are you kidding me? Every week without fail we have to read pieces that chide Israel or, like this column, question “whether a ‘Jewish democracy’ can survive when so many Arab non-citizens remain essentially under Israeli control.”
All these pieces ignore several facts. First, Israel, under many parties and governments, has made repeated peace offers first to Arab states and then to Palestinians. Israel has withdrawn from territory. Enough blaming Israel; time to hold the Arabs to account.
Second, Israel is not perfect, obviously. The United States is not perfect. Does that mean America’s promise of liberty is a sham? No human endeavor is perfect because human beings are not perfect. Yet Israel is held to some standard of perfection that is asked of no other nation state on earth. Cut it out.
Third, NJJN is published by our own federation, which is much more than, but similar in some ways to, atrade association. Can you imagine the newspaper of any trade association consistently printing articles that bash and undermine its mission and interests?Why should ours?
Finally, if some Jews don’t like Israel, they should feel free to ignore it. Especially those who Silow-Carroll says “have no intention of moving to Israel.” And our own newspaper should ignore them also, not provide them with a platform. While I applaud the editor’s critique of the Times, physician, heal thyself.
May 1, 2013
On April 5, a federal district court ordered that access to emergency contraception (EC) be expanded by lifting harmful restrictions within 30 days. EC, also known as Plan B and the morning-after pill, is a valuable back-up method of birth control that helps women prevent unintended pregnancy.
The National Council of Jewish Women applauds the recent ruling to remove age and prescription requirements on EC — requirements that have been based largely on politics, not science. Every woman has the right to make her own faith-informed decisions about her health. Removing barriers to emergency contraception will ensure that a woman’s health and religious liberty not be jeopardized by a pharmacist who would refuse to provide or fill her prescription for EC.
We urge the Obama administration to quickly lift these restrictions and ensure EC is placed on store shelves soon, to live up to its commitment to scientific integrity, support women’s health, and safeguard women’s religious liberty.
Deborah Legow Schatz
New Jersey State Policy Advocacy Co-Chair
National Council of Jewish Women, West Orange
May 1, 2013
Re “Kean Yom Hashoa event links past, present,”
The notion of awarding a given winner an iPad to encourage young people to come to a Holocaust commemoration is a disgrace (“Kean Yom Hashoa event links past, present,” April 11). That’s exactly what happened, though, at our community-sponsored regional Yom Hashoa commemoration held at Kean University on April 8. According to the publicity, students attending the event were eligible for a prize drawing for an iPad.
This event was our way of keeping faith with those millions of Jews who were subjected to unfathomable terror, suffering, and death. For me, the dignity of the evening was shattered. If we have to dangle an iPad in front of our youth to get them to care, then I say we’re better off hardening our hearts and letting them go. It’s not worth disrespecting the memory of the six million.
May 1, 2013
I would like to publically thank Dr. Harriet Sepinwall and the College of Saint Elizabeth for the inspiring and beautiful program held on April 8 for the Holocaust Remembrance. I have always gone to our synagogue to hear survivors speak. This was my first experience at an interfaith remembrance. There was something so special about it. I was awed by the beauty, warmth, and shared emotions of the night.
I have always found St. Elizabeth’s to be welcoming, encouraging, and supportive through my past three years in the educational leadership program. The program was beautiful from start to finish. I felt sad at the horror but renewed by the stories of people who were true heroes doing the right thing even with the great risk to themselves and their families. I felt the love and support shared by all of us that were present.
I would like to thank all those involved in Saint Elizabeth’s programs for that inspiring night and for all that you do.
College of Saint Elizabeth
May 1, 2013
Re “Modeling coexistence in Israeli classrooms,”
I wanted to thank you for the article that came out recently about Hand in Hand (“Modeling coexistence in Israeli classrooms,” March 28). It is a great article, summing up the issues we face and our work in a way that is both accurate and inspiring.
We have seen repeatedly that as important as the work being done is, so is the telling of it to ever-widening circles of people. Only when people start hearing frequently about real examples of inclusion and Jewish-Arab daily cooperation will they start to recognize the viability of shared living as opposed to conflict. So thank you for this contribution to our efforts.
Director of Resource Development and Strategy
Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education, Israel
April 17, 2013
The survivor testimony of Sarah Wiener and her daughter Dr. Deborah Rabner who introduced her mother at last week’s Yom Hashoa Commemoration at the College of Saint Elizabeth was so moving. We are indebted to them for sharing what happened, and doing so in a way that not only highlighted the onslaught of the Nazis and the impact of the Holocaust, but also the ways in which survivors were able to rebuild their lives after the Holocaust and contribute in such important ways to strengthen Jewish life today and for the future. Hearing them speak strengthened our resolve to involve survivors in our programs for as long as thiswill be possible.
The College extends its appreciation to the Holocaust Council of MetroWest for co-sponsoring this program (rescheduled from November’s Kristallnacht Commemoration because of Superstorm Sandy), and to Howard Rabner, COO/CFO of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, for his meaningful remarks that placed our remembrance tonight in a special context.
We also are grateful to Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for highlighting the meaning of our commemoration, and to Marjorie and Norman Feinstein and Cantor Joel Caplan of Congregation Agudath Israel and Fr. Joseph Farias of Saint Thomas More Church for involving everyone in the sensitive and moving prayers that opened and closed the program.
We thank the New Jersey Jewish News for providing the community with knowledge of the Holocaust commemoration programs taking place so that everyone had the opportunity to attend, learn, and remember.
As we continue to teach about what took place during the Shoa, including the survivor testimonies of Stella Rabner, Erwin Ganz, Lona Hess, and Stefanie Seltzer (http://www.cse.edu/holocaustcenter), we know how important it is to continue to be reminded of the impact and meaning of such programs. As the attendees at the College of Saint Elizabeth program lingered long after the program had ended, each spoke of the importance of such programs, and encouraged us to continue this work.
We invite everyone in the MetroWest community to “save the date” for Monday, Nov. 5, for the interfaith community Kristallnacht Commemoration that will demonstrate how we will be able to provide survivor testimony in the future because of the work being developed by Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation. Our speakers will be Stephen Smith, director of the USC/Shoah Foundation, and Pinchas Gutter, survivor of Poland.
Professor of Holocaust Studies
Codirector, CSE Holocaust Education Resource Center
College of Saint Elizabeth
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