I was shocked to read your Nov 13. editorial “Jerusalem for all.”
After noting the recent election of Nir Barkat as Jerusalem mayor, you reported that the religious candidate, Rabbi Meir Porush, made a political prediction that within 15 years no Israeli mayors will be secular. You stated that you didn’t agree with this and thought it ill-advised. Rabbi Porush made this prediction in Yiddish, to a very supportive Orthodox crowd.
You then wrote the following:
“This is the same tactic Yasser Arafat used when he was alive. He’d say something benign for public consumption, then reveal his true feelings, in Arabic, to a Palestinian audience. It was wrong then, and its wrong now.”
“Same tactic?” As whom? Are you really comparing Arafat, the father of modern terrorism, to Rabbi Porush, a member of the Knesset and a respected Rabbi? Are you also comparing a supportive Orthodox crowd to a Palestinian audience who glorifies and cheers on Arafat, the murderer of women and children?
It’s a sad day in Jewish journalism when such an outrageous and inappropriate comparison is made. This editorial is provocative, negative and counterproductive — and doesn’t belong in the newspaper given the responsibility (and honor) of serving the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. Much better judgment should be exercised by those in charge.
(Editor’s note: The Chronicle did not compare Rabbi Porush to Yasser Arafat; it assailed the tactic he used in that speech, which the Jewish world previously condemned when Arafat used it. Far from being a prediction, JTA reported Rabbi Porush’s spokesman as saying the candidate is indeed a proponent of Orthodox-run cities. Further, the Jerusalem Post reported that when Porush was asked about his remarks, he at first denied making them, even though they were taped and broadcasted by Israel’s Channel 2 News. )
Program making an impact
Thanks for your excellent story in the Oct. 30 edition (“Jewish teens act out abusive dating scenarios at Task Force workshop,” by Hilary Daninhirsch) In its entirety, you captured the Jewish Domestic Abuse Task Force (JDATF) program’s message on the potential health and safety concerns associated with teen dating abuse.
As a result of your article, the JDATF reached thousands of area teens, parents and educators who might not be aware of the startling facts and dangers of teen dating abuse and how effective improvisational drama is in educating teens and young adults, an audience which was highly responsive to the Oct. 26 peer education prevention program “Words Not Spoken.”
Just as meaningful as giving our teens the tools for avoiding potential danger and empowering them to assist friends in harm’s way, is the impact your story made in alerting the greater Pittsburgh Jewish and secular community on how teen dating abuse prevention education plays an essential role in arresting the cycle of domestic abuse.
As one teen so poignantly stated, “They don’t teach us this stuff in school.” With your help along with our growing list of organizational partners, the JDATF’s “Tools for Building Healthy Dating Relationships” will continue to make an impact educating and advocating for domestic abuse prevention programs in our community for youth and young adults.
Rochelle R. Sufrin
(Editor’s note: The author is communications liaison for the 2008 Planning Committee of the Jewish Domestic Abuse Task Force of Pittsburgh.)