Raising kids without day school
I was upset by the perspectives piece “The moral costs of Jewish day school” (June 7), by Rabbi Aryeh Klapper, the dean of the Center for Modern Torah Leadership in Sharon, Mass. In big cities, it is possible, even easy, to raise children who have a strong commitment to Judaism and knowledge of who they are, without sending them to Jewish day schools. Yet the message in articles such as this one is that parents are not capable of doing so.
Public schools are already paid for with tax dollars, and the education in many public schools is excellent. By sending children to public schools, parents do not need two jobs to pay the high cost of day school. Time and energy are left on Friday afternoons to teach your children to make challah and enjoy Shabbat dinners regularly as a family. Parents without the financial burden of day school have money left for joining synagogues, enrolling their children in Hebrew schools and Jewish summer camps and family trips to Israel. There are also many opportunities to be active in the Jewish community: by volunteering and fundraising, by attending Jewish cultural events, many of which are for children, and by participating in community-wide celebrations, such as the one at Yom Ha’atzmaut.
My children are committed young Jewish adults, living and working in the Jewish community. Parents need to know they can make a Jewish home and raise Jewish children no matter what school they send them to.
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Objects to Bob Rae’s remarks
It is absolutely unacceptable and perverse for interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, who must know better, to call the result of the Six Day War started by five Arab nations planning to push Israel into the sea “imperial adventure” (“Liberal interim leader touts two-state solution,” June 21). Rae talks about “more than one narrative.” Is that the Liberal Party of Canada’s narrative? Is that how he intends to gain credibility with the Arab world? He will certainly not gain my credibility.
Past Co-chair, Canadian Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants
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The United Church report
In the guest voice “The United Church should not boycott Israel” (June 21), Shimon Fogel, the CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), takes the United Church to task for urging a boycott of settlement products and characterizes their recent report as “marked by historical distortions” and one-sided. I have, as a historian, perused the report and find it to be fairly balanced, giving due weight to the legitimate security concerns of Israelis, as well as to the national claims of both peoples. I would congratulate our Christian friends for having produced a balanced and thoughtful document. Fogel, however, takes exception to their call for a boycott of settlement products. Again, we might congratulate the church for eschewing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which they rightly regard as an assault on the legitimacy of Israel and the democratic forces within the country. They have taken a moderate and responsible position.
Fogel acknowledges the Jewish community has a healthy diversity of opinion, presumably extending to the settlements, but then proceeds to argue that CIJA must react when the church aims to target Israelis for boycott. Fogel has thereby extended CIJA’s legitimate defence of Israel to the defence of settlements, which is still a hotly debated issue. In The Crisis of Zionism, Peter Beinart urges us to distinguish between the democratic Israel, behind the green line, and the undemocratic Israel of the occupation and settlements, the correct target for a boycott. Likewise, Peace Now joined the settlement boycott, after the Knesset made it illegal to advocate such actions and subject to civil damages. Fogel and CIJA are out of line in extending their protection to the settlement enterprise.
Co-Chair, Canadian Friends of Peace Now
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Two-state solution needs Palestinian support
Stephen Scheinberg, co-chair of Canadian Friends of Peace Now, writes a long letter saying why the United Church of Canada and Peace Now are justified in recommending a boycott of goods from the so-called settlements behind the 1949-1967 armistice line (“The United Church report,” June 28). His argument seems to imply that if Israel would only go back to that line, there would be peace (and the Kotel comfortably back in Arab control). Such actions would make Israel cease its nasty policies, and peace would be the result. Balderdash!
I would argue that there will be peace only when the Palestinian authorities are prepared to support a true two-state solution. They never have been, and are not today. They want a one- or two-state solution with Arab control in each. They have conceded almost nothing to Israel in 45 years of solution seeking, while constantly demanding Israeli concessions.
All this was made clear to me and many others when former Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat was offered a ridiculously generous solution in 2000. He not only refused, which was his right, but instead of making a counter offer, he unleashed the second intifadah. Before that, I was a friend of the Friends of Peace Now. Now, I am only a friend of Israel. Peace Now is not. I have learned, they have not.
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The left undermines Israel
I feel compelled to address Bernard Katz’s letter, “Nakba Day at Tel Aviv U” (June 7). Clearly, Nakba Day calls into question the very existence of the State of Israel. The “celebration” of Nakba Day by Israelis of any ethnicity borders on sedition. Perhaps those Israeli Arabs wishing to celebrate Nakba Day should be invited to do so as permanent residents of the West Bank or Gaza. Katz’s views are indicative of a serious problem facing our community, that is, the left’s concerted effort to undermine the State of Israel under the guise of freedom of speech and so-called human rights. Coming from Jews, this is extremely dangerous.