Letters to the editor February 10

Letters to the editor February 10

Justice for Nisman

The article on Alberto Nisman (“Israel’s Argentinian Jews honor Nisman, demand justice,” Jan. 27) was quite interesting and informative. The tragic death of this courageous gentleman on Jan. 18, 2015, remains a highly controversial matter two years later. Nisman was the prosecutor assigned by the Argentinian government to investigate the bombing of the Jewish Center in Buenos Aires that killed and injured scores of Jewish citizens on July 18, 1994.

I was consulted by the major television station in Argentina to review this matter. Its top investigative reporter flew to Pittsburgh to interview me. That show received very high ratings throughout Argentina when it was presented in the summer of 2015 and served to renew pressure on then-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who Nisman had accused of covering up the truth about the bombing that was perpetrated by Iran.

My analysis strongly demonstrated that Nisman, who died from a gunshot wound of the head, had been murdered. At this time, the case remains open, and a court-mandated criminal probe is ongoing, specifically focusing on Kirchner’s relationship with Iran.

This is a matter that American Jews should be aware of when contemplating the relationship of our country with Israel’s primary and most formidable enemy — Iran.

Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D.


Pleased with AMHSI

The Jewish Chronicle announced that Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) will award five Pittsburgh area high-school students full scholarships to join an eight-week session in the fall of 2017 (“Full scholarships available for high school study in Israel for 2017,” Feb. 3). I was pleased and excited to learn about this opportunity for area teens because of my daughter’s experience studying abroad with AMHSI last spring.

The program was a challenging, wonderful and transformative experience for her. In my estimation, she benefited in three separate and important ways. The program afforded her a unique opportunity to develop a new sense of confidence and independence. Traveling in Israel and Eastern Europe, living and studying abroad without parents, as well as sharing living space with other teenage girls from all over the United States and Canada, tested her growing capacity, maturity and competence. Orli knows now just how strong, independent and capable she has become in large part because of her time with AMHSI.

The program also reinvigorated a passion and desire to learn. I attribute the reawaking of interest in history, literature and even science not simply to the strong academic culture of AMHSI, but also to the experiential nature of the semester. The semester program involved weekly excursions to historic sites that combined fun activities like hiking and swimming in the Dead Sea with historical and political lessons. And, most of all, I was deeply impressed by the staff, who demonstrated remarkable dedication to making sure that the students had a rewarding, fun and unique experience.

Finally, I believe that Orli’s Israel experience strengthened and shaped her Jewish identity. Her group traveled to Poland and learned the tragic and resilient history of Europe’s Jewish population during the Holocaust. The experience of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and seeing the places in Warsaw where the Jewish residents fought back against the overwhelming Nazi occupation helped forge a Jewish identity that is proud and steeped in history and spirituality.

Orli was recently admitted to her first-choice school, Bucknell University. I believe her current academic and social success is in large part to be credited to her hard work while a student with AMHSI. Thank you very much to the AMHSI staff and administration whose help and scholarships made this all possible, and especially to Judy Levenson and Dana Gerbie Klein with AMHSI admissions. I would also like to thank the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, whose generous contributions made Orli’s trip to Israel a reality.  

Joshua Bernstein, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Carlow University