Letters to the editor August 20

Letters to the editor August 20

A colossal mistake
I write as a physician who studied health care policy in college under an adviser to Sen. Ted Kennedy, and went on to receive a master’s in public health. I have been a physician, on salary, in academic medicine for the past 16 years. I also practice medicine in a field that involves highly expensive treatments. Since Allegheny County has one of the oldest populations in the United States and since health care is one of Pittsburgh’s major economies, I believe the health care debate is relevant to Pittsburgh.
Four months after Barack Obama became a senator, Michelle Obama became vice president for Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals. She oversaw the dumping of poor patients to hospitals outside the elite University of Chicago system. Where was his concern for the uninsured then?
Like all of our congressmen, I have not read the proposed legislation in its entirety. I am a physician, not a lawyer, and almost all of the language in these 1000-page bills is unintelligible.
What I do know is that you can’t deliver health care to everyone without denying American citizens benefits and bankrupting the United States. Any health care plan must take into consideration the problem of noncitizens. As someone who has practiced medicine in Texas, I had many patients from over the border. Some would drive back and forth; others would catch a one-way flight to Houston and go to the emergency room with advanced leukemia. The United States cannot afford to be the hospital to the world.
Many physicians order lab tests — because the patient asks for it or because of the threat of lawsuits for negligence. This president is a lawyer, married to a lawyer, and advised by lawyers. No health care plan will work without comprehensive tort reform.
As CHIP, Medicare and Medicaid benefits dwindle, as waiting times to see a physician get longer, as the promise of high-tech medical care makes inroads into the quality and duration of peoples’ lives, we must discuss the costs of health care. But to ram through legislation as proposed would be a colossal mistake.

Dr. Seth Corey
Admiral assailed
The recent article “Chaplaincy imbalance in military” (Aug. 13) displayed a horrible characterization by Rear Admiral Harold Robinson of Orthodox rabbis being homophobic. When we hear of leaders across the community repeatedly calling for unity, here is a terrible slander against these rabbinic leaders serving our country and also against the Orthodox community.
I think at a minimum the admiral should send individual apologies to each of the Orthodox and Chabad rabbis that he slandered. It would not hurt if he also apologized to the general Orthodox community

Mark Rodney
Squirrel Hill

(Editor’s note: Admiral Robinson did not specifically call Orthodox rabbis “homophobic;” nor did he directly refer to Orthodox rabbis. The following is the quote in question: “I want there to be Reform and Conservative rabbis who are not homophobic, so people in the military who are gay or lesbian or are struggling with that issue” have someone to go to.)
Perceptive editor
Kudos to the new associate editor, Eric Lidji, for capturing the essence of the ever colorful Lila Hirsch Brody’s JCC art class of 36 years. Two times chai is certainly testimony to “drawing” out the best in her students.
I look forward to more in depth articles by the perceptive Mr. Lidji.

Dolores B. Davis
Squirrel Hill
Orthodox are not separate
While agreeing with most of Gary Rosenblatt’s Aug. 6 article, “Do Unto Others: Scandals and Sanctity” regarding the importance of all Jews keeping all laws, and “that in disparaging others we belittle ourselves,” one glaring point struck me as inaccurate. Mr. Rosenblatt commented that Orthodox Jews have a “conscious desire to separate themselves from others.”
I believe most Orthodox Jews across the country feel they are integral parts of their respective communities, and are involved in a wide variety of areas of Jewish and local requests. We have family and friends that live year-round in New Hampshire, Idaho, St. Thomas, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Ukraine, and Thailand. Rather than keeping separate from others, many choose to travel to destinations that have little or no established Jewish institutions.
Mr. Rosenblatt writes that we, “refuse to acknowledge that their less observant brethren can be serious about their religious and spiritual lives, and see them more as a threat to continuity than as sharing the path to a Jewish future.” On the contrary, in these widespread cities and countries, we are declaring that all Jews are of greatest importance — each and every one of us make up the united entity that is the Jewish people.
Thankfully, Pittsburgh is an excellent example of unity, as mentioned in The Jewish Chronicle. We are unique that we live in one and a half square miles that includes several synagogues — Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, etc. Additionally, we have had several events this year alone that involved the entire spectrum of Judaism. Our day schools and synagogues have joined forces to unite in learning, to combine resources of time and talent, and to collaborate in many other areas.
May we soon merit to enjoy complete unity, when the entire Jewish nation will be united in Our Land of Israel.

Chana Shusterman
Squirrel Hill