Letters to the editor July 11

Letters to the editor July 11

A ‘unique tool’

Kudos to Abby Schachter for her July 4 column regarding the mikva (“Mikva a communal space”).

A mikva that is of interest to all members of the Jewish community, regardless of affiliation, is one of the unique tools of the Pittsburgh Jewish community that helps bind us together as the family we truly are.  We are indeed blessed, as Abby wrote, that the Pittsburgh Jewish community is not only varied, but also in many ways united and the mikva is a wonderful example of this unity.

Anyone interested in further information regarding the new mikva can contact us at pghmikvah@gmail.com.

Judi Kanal

Squirrel Hill

(The author chairs the committee for the new mikva.)

Editorial assailed

A July 4 editorial in the Chronicle finds climate change a “critical problem,” justifying Jewish support for an end to the burning of fossil fuels for electric power.

Strangely, the president’s claim of authority to cripple the coal industry all by himself fails to bother you. Congressional gridlock is where you place the fault; if lawmakers don’t agree, the White House will show ’em with an “executive order.” But a president who does end runs around the Constitution, cheered on by Jews, qualifies to my mind as a problem indeed. And enlisting our faith on one side of an essentially nonreligious issue poses ugly potentials. Imagine a depressed coal town of the future where the defeated darkly ask themselves, “Who did this to us?”

Jack Markowitz

Squirrel Hill

Death tax rapped

As one that has been privileged to know Terry Starrett and her late partner, Pat McQuiston, I read with particular interest the 4 July story, “Locals react to Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage.”

I hope that the piece will be widely read and absorbed, as it brings home the extent to which honorable gay men and women are marginalized and discriminated against in Pennsylvania despite the decisions of the Supreme Court.

One facet of the unfairness, which was not described, but which is important, is how Pennsylvania’s uniquely cruel death/inheritance tax treats different classes of heirs.  While spouses that inherit pay nothing, an heir that is considered to be unrelated to the decedent would pay 15 percent from the first dollar of inheritance, which includes real property, bank accounts, and investments. In Pennsylvania, gay partners would be considered unrelated, thus the inequity of the levy is heightened.

So long as theocrats such as state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) rule in the Pennsylvania General Assembly (this is the “leader” that shut off the microphone of an openly gay member of the House because he anticipated that his statements in support of the Supreme Court rulings would be offensive to Metcalfe’s purported Christian faith), life here for the gay individual will be separate and unequal.

Oren Spiegler

Upper St. Clair