Letters to the editor December 16

Letters to the editor December 16

Inclusive position taken
As a member of the JCC 2020 Vision Task Force, I would like to comment on the Dec. 2 article in the Chronicle, “JCC expands hours as part of new guidelines.”
The task force was convened with the charge to make the JCC more reflective and responsive to the diverse Jewish community it serves. The guidelines recommended by the task force allow individuals the flexibility to make their own choices within a context of Jewish tradition and values.
In order for the JCC to serve all members from the most secular to the most observant, the JCC is acknowledging that there is no one prescription defining what makes a JCC authentically Jewish.
The JCC took an inclusive position to be more things to more people. The board and staff of the JCC encourage you to share your ideas on how they can best accomplish these goals.

Danny Rosen
Squirrel Hill

(The author is a member of the 2020 Vision Task Force, which drafted the new guidelines.)
Fires struck Misgav
(The following letter is a response from the mayor of Misgav to a message sent by Linda Simon and Skip Grinberg, co-chairs of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Partnership 2000 project. Misgav and Karmiel are Pittsburgh’s Partnership 2000 communities in Israel.)

I wish to share with you what has happened in Israel and Misgav during the tragic weekend as fires continued to burn nearby.
As you well know, 43 people lost their lives during the outburst of the wildfire in the Carmel, and we’re all saddened and mourning. Such a disaster shows us the perspective of our world, the sacredness of life and how fragile we are.
Misgav is close to the Carmel mountain ridge, close enough for the wildfire to cross. During the last weekend, there were close to 50 wildfire ignitions in the Misgav region alone, mainly in our forests (a few times in the Segev forest, near Yodfat, close to Tal-El and Moreshet, and many more).
The firefighters on duty (those that were not taken to the Carmel), together with the police force and many volunteers from Misgav villages and our security officers, and sometimes with the aid of airplanes (that were re-directed from their efforts at the Carmel) extinguished all those fires.
Our volunteers, together with our security forces, positioned observation points on a few mountain peaks, and were able to detect those fires before they had the chance to become a wildfire. We have used unique night-vision equipment that was acquired a few years ago with the generous contribution of funds from the Pittsburgh Jewish community. Furthermore, Opgal, the company that manufactures this system, loaned us a second system for the weekend. Using those two systems enabled us to monitor and detect fires while they were small enough to be controlled and extinguished.
Moreover, the firefighting vehicle, which the Pittsburgh community contributed to Misgav a few years ago was the key differentiator between a small, manageable fire and a disaster. This vehicle was left on duty in Misgav, and, unfortunately, had a full plate of work during this last weekend. I can’t even think what would have happened without it.
I’d wish to thank you for your support and kind words. It did make the difference! Please convey my thanks to the greater Pittsburgh Jewish community.
Many thanks,

Ron Shani
Mayor, Misgav Regional Council

Is Boehner pro-life?
In recently endorsing new restrictions on abortion rights, Republican House of Representatives Speaker-Elect John Boehner said, “There is no cause more noble than the defense of human life.” Does he mean it?
The chain-smoking Boehner is most infamously remembered for his cozy relationship with tobacco companies and their lobbyists, going so far as to distribute industry checks to Republican members on the floor of the House in 1995 just before a vote on tobacco industry subsidies.  Tobacco (and first-class carcinogen second-hand smoke) is the only legal product that when consumed per the manufacturer’s instructions brings about the death of the user.
Boehner has supported both our failed war in Afghanistan and our pointless occupation of Iraq, conflicts which have killed and maimed countless Americans, Afghans and Iraqis, and which have spawned new waves of anti-Americanism and terrorism.
Boehner is a darling of the National Rifle Association, and has always voted for the most expansive possible interpretation of the Second Amendment, signing on to the NRA’s cockeyed belief that the people are safer when everyone is armed, and that there should be no inconvenience or red tape in securing an arsenal as large as the gun purchaser wishes and containing the most lethal weapons imaginable.  He ignores the epidemic of firearm carnage that results not from America being the nation with the greatest amount of mental illness in the world, but the one with the most lax gun laws and regulations.
Give John Boehner credit for consistency on the issue abortion rights; he has long been opposed.  He is, however, someone who defends human life only when it suits his political agenda, blind to the many other means by which it is senselessly sacrificed.  Perhaps what the “honorable” Mr. speaker-elect meant to say was, “There is no cause more noble than the defense of the fetus.  The heck with human life.”

Oren M. Spiegler
Upper St. Clair