Letters to the editor January 26

Letters to the editor January 26

Presidential politics rapped

Let me see:  Republican candidate for president, Rick Santorum, is proposing that if he is elected president he will push to give tax credits to parents to have more babies.

At the same time, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is pursuing massive tax cuts on state aid to schools because, he says, the state cannot afford such aid.  While Santorum is heralding a baby boom to increase the population, most congressional Republicans are determined to send 12 million immigrants back to their home countries. 

Then, while Corbett is against most taxes having to do with energy production from the Marsellus Shale fields in Pennsylvania, Santorum wants to end all taxes on manufacturing, which he argues has nothing to do with energy production.  Republican congressional legislators want to solve tax and debt problems by doing what they see as right:  Not increasing taxes on anybody.

Gov. Rick Perry says if he were president and Iran closed the Strait of Hormuz, the United States would attack Iran. Republican congressman Ron Paul would reduce foreign aid to zero.  His new slogan is:  What me worry!

I can hardly wait to see what the Democrats are proposing to re-elect their candidate.


Richard M. Carpe

Squirrel Hill

It takes all of us

 An essay written by a Jewish high school student, which was recently published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, described the student’s alienation from Israel, Jews and Judaism. This demonstrates a serious issue relating to the future of our Jewish community. How do we educate and inspire our children to instill Jewish values and a positive Jewish identity?

Our community offers many opportunities for our teens to learn about their heritage, such as post bar/bat mitzva, synagogue study programs, day schools, youth groups, summer camps and AJL’s J-SITE program. We all seek to instill pride and love for Israel, Jews and Judaism.

We cannot, however, accomplish this goal on our own. It takes all of us — community, educational institutions, synagogues, family — to raise a Jewish child with such values. This task and duty are especially difficult as we face the challenges of mass media, peer pressure and other cultural influences.

For its part, the community must continue to provide quality Jewish educational and experiential opportunities for children and adults. Parents must ensure that their children, as well as they, are engaged in meaningful Jewish learning and living. Synagogues must provide the spiritual inspiration for our children and a warm, welcoming home away from home.

Let’s all learn more, do more and encourage others to do the same.  Working together, we can change the culture of our community to place greater value on Jewish learning and living. This is the type of environment that is necessary to instill in our children a positive Jewish identity, to create meaningful life experiences, and to ensure our children’s future participation in a thriving Jewish community.

Ed Frim and

Charles H. Saul

Squirrel Hill


(The authors are respectively the executive director and president of the Agency for Jewish Learning.)

Repression in Gaza condemned

As chairperson of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP), I would like to express the solidarity of our organization with Mahmoud Abu Rahma, a human and civil rights activist, who was recently stabbed in Gaza, as reported by Al-Mezan, a Gaza-based nongovernmental organization that employs Mr. Abu Rahma.

The attack was connected to the release of an article written by Abu Rahma in December, in which he sharply criticized the Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, as well as Gazan and West Bank leadership, for repeated human and civil rights violations, banning the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, and the use of torture and illegal detentions, which resulted in the death of several individuals.

In his article, Abu Rahma also condemned the unfortunate common practice by terrorist groups to act in “densely-populated areas,” displaying a “continuous negligence of the resistance groups who show little or no care for people’s life and well being.”

The abuse of human rights in Gaza has steadily increased since Hamas’ coup in 2007. Political opponents, women, homosexuals, religious minorities are reported to be under a growing threat. There has also been mounting intolerance toward Gaza’s small Shiite minority, which has lately experienced harassment and mass arrests while celebrating a Shiite holiday.

The ICJP, an organization committed to uphold the principles of democracy, further the cause of human rights and promote the rule of law, firmly condemns the ongoing repression in Gaza. We praise the courage of Mahmoud Abu Rahma and we call on the international community to open its eyes and act to shine a light on Gaza’s human rights situation, first and foremost by supporting political objectors, so that their exposure will not be in vain.


Fiamma Nirenstein

Rome, Italy

(In addition to chairing the ICJP, the author is a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.)