Letters to the editor August 6

Letters to the editor August 6

Group presented speaker

I would like to thank The Chronicle for the report on two events at the JCC (Jewish Community Center) in the July 30 issue, written by Eric Lidji, and titled, “Two views of Jewish strength on day of Jewish tragedy.”
Please note that one speaker, Ed Frim, the executive director of the Agency for Jewish Learning, was presented by the David Dinkin’s Discussion Group, which meets on Fridays, between 10 and 11 a.m. in Room 327.

Moshe Baran
Squirrel Hill

Deceptive phrasing

In his July 30 article on Tisha B’Av, “Two views of Jewish strength on day of Jewish tragedy, Eric Lidji writes about events “believed to have occurred on the ninth day of the month of Av.” He then goes on to list many events that are clearly known to have happened on that date, with historical record supporting the facts.
By his wording, he makes it sound as if it is superstition to think so many tragedies occurred on the same day. For instance, the historian Josephus was present at the destruction of the second Temple and clearly records that it happened on Tisha B’Av. The date that Germany declared war on Russia during World War I is well known as being on Tisha B’Av.
Matters of historical record should not be listed as “believed to have occurred,” rather to have “occurred.”

Mischa Gelman
Squirrel Hill

Don’t forget Reconstructionist

I read with interest your editorial on religious school education in the July 23 issue (“Change isn’t easy, but it’s necessary), in which you envision one religious school for each of the movements but neglected to include the Reconstructionist movement.
I assume that was an oversight, but I do want to remind everyone that Pittsburgh has a vibrant Reconstructionist Religious School: the Dor Hadash Religious School.
As you suggest, the religious schools of each movement are distinct, and indeed our school is different. Though all the religious schools have many, many things in common, we do organize our school in a way that instills the ideas of Reconstructionism, that is, Judaism as an evolving religious civilization. We engage our students in a wide range of Jewish culture so they get a sense of the rich dimensions of Jewish life. We teach our students to understand how customs have changed and to think about how they continue to change to remain spiritually fulfilling. We encourage them to approach everything with very open minds.

Hal Grinberg
Principal, Dor Hadash Religious School

Bill lauded

The Reform Jewish Movement has long called on Congress to take action to reform our nation’s failing health care system. We applaud the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee who voted for this historic bill Friday (the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200). It sends an urgent message about the need for health care reform as Congress heads home for the August recess.
America’s Affordable Health Choices Act is a strong, comprehensive reform bill that offers a public insurance option, expands coverage to millions of Americans, protects low-income and vulnerable populations, promises quality affordable care and rests on a financially sustainable foundation.
Jewish tradition teaches, “Whoever is in pain, lead him to the physician” (Baba Kamma 46B). By adopting comprehensive health care reform, we have the opportunity to provide millions of American families with affordable, effective and much-needed access to health care. We look forward to a full House vote on H.R. 3200 in September, and to a future in which all Americans have access to the high-quality health care they need and deserve.

Rabbi David Saperstein
Washington, D.C.

(The author is director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.)