Latest update: September 4th, 2012
I fear your Feb. 17 front-page story about the recent bombing attacks against Israel was right on the mark. Apparently Iran is not going to take efforts to deter its nuclear weapons program lying down. We can expect more attacks as those efforts continue.
William Scheiner New York, NY
We Are One
Terror attacks directed against Israeli diplomats abroad should come as a warning signal not only to Israelis but to Jews everywhere.
Jews are really part of an extended family wherever we live. The world views us as one whether we live in Brazil, Ireland, Croatia or the United States. Iran definitely views us as one people and therefore these attacks cannot be viewed with complacency. Jews all over the world should take it upon themselves to endeavor to make Israel stronger. Because what we do for Israel is what, in the long run, we do for ourselves.
Thelma Susswein Jerusalem
Tuition And Education (I)
Re “Obsession With Tuition Hurts Jewish Education,” (front-page essay, Feb. 17):
Marvin Schick paints a dire picture of the future of Jewish education because of financial difficulties and the tendency to look to parents to make up the slack – which, he says, is not only an inadequate solution but also often has an adverse effect on children.
But it should not be all that surprising that school administrators tend to focus on tuition to meet their financial responsibilities. That is the most logical source for funds and indeed perhaps the most reasonable. After all, parents have at least as much of an interest in the education of their children as does the school. And school personnel have just as much a right as the parents to live their lives with some degree of dignity.
So sacrifice should not be a one-way street. Of course, great care should be taken to ensure that children do not suffer because of any disputes between their parents and the school.
Eliezer Gardner (Via E-Mail)
Tuition And Education (II)
Unfortunately, Jewish education receives no tuition subsidies from government; it involves two sets of teachers for each child; and its costs are largely dictated by those of the public schools, which are fully funded by government.
While there are parents who refuse to meet their tuition responsibilities, that is not the core issue. Until there is widespread recognition in our community that tuition will never be able to provide the wherewithal to run our schools, and that serious fundraising is essential, there will be no progress.
Sharon Glazer Los Angeles, CA
Tuition And Education (III)
The real problem bedeviling Jewish education is the failure of efforts to secure government funds for the secular education of children in parochial schools. Ambitious efforts in the past have resulted only in peripheral, although important, aid.
And while such assistance should properly be seen as a matter of equity with parochial school students entitled to the same educational funding as their public school counterparts, the current difficult economic situation in our country and around the world means that it will not be forthcoming.
Adam Sobel (Via E-Mail)
Tuition And Education (IV)
I was disappointed that no mention was made by Dr. Schick of the high quality of religious and general studies education provided by the U.S. yeshiva day school movement today. Graduates have not only strengthened the American Jewish community but Israel as well has benefited from those making aliyah.
Yeshiva day school graduates can be found in all professional, business and governmental sectors, with many achieving distinguished positions. So it is frustrating that this fact is not considered by prospective parents as well as by potential supporters in determining the value they place on this unique educational system.
One solution to the financial hurdles facing yeshiva day schools would be for Jewish leadership to actively promote the importance of day schools in order to enhance their prestige as philanthropic recipients.
Many Jewish philanthropists prefer to donate to non-Jewish causes. Recently, two major Jewish philanthropists each donated $100 million to medical schools of the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University. If this generosity were duplicated for day schools, their financial problems would begin to be alleviated.
Last but not least, there are very good reasons for the government of Israel, already the major supporter of Israeli yeshivot, to make major annual contributions for Jewish education in the Diaspora.
For steps toward a solution, bold thinking and dynamic action must be taken by the top educational, rabbinic and lay leaders of the American Jewish community.
E. Magnus Oppenheim New York, NY
Editor’s Note: The writer is a member of the board of directors of Manhattan Day School (Yeshiva Ohr Torah) and Ariel-Midrasha Institute in Jerusalem.
Kabbalists, Segulas And Red Bendels
A certain value promoted in segments of the Jewish community and touched on by Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum in his Feb. 10 “My Machberes” column requires a response.
Individuals are continually publicized as offering blessings and segulas (amulets) as a surefire cure for a wide variety of problems and ailments. Whether the need is financial, social or health-related, desperate Jews flock to these people with the hopes of reversing their ill fate.
Although many Jews believe segulas work, there is no evidence for this. More primarily, an authentic Torah view is derived from God’s words alone. And based on God’s words, these practices are not Jewish values. In fact, God prohibits such practices due to their powerless nature. Tosefta Shabbos (chap. 7) specifically refers to wearing red strings as “ways of the Emorites” – an idolatrous culture.
Prophecy ended with Malachi; no one today can guarantee God’s response. It is therefore an outright lie to say, “Do such and such an act, and God will respond.” Such charlatans build up the hopes of the unknowing masses and then shatter their dreams when no changes materialize.
To know Judaism and Torah, study God’s words. Dismiss all else, as we are commanded not to add or subtract from the Torah (Deut. 13:1). If you are in need, God can hear you from any location. “Any place you mention My name, I will come to you and bless you” (Exodus 20:21).
Rabbi Marshall Gisser
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