A Story of Inspiration

I found Allie Freedman’s article on Ben Goldstein (“Beyond the Stutter,” Oct. 10) very inspiring. He is a wonderful role model for positive thinking. Keep up the good work, Ben.

John Heyn
Owings Mills

Two Associations Target Jewish Stutterers

As a person who stutters I was thrilled to read your article “Beyond the Stutter” (Oct. 10) about Baltimore native Ben Goldstein, whose story is inspirational and puts a human face to stuttering.
Goldstein’s personal journey with stuttering is compelling and will serve to help other people who stutter. I would also like to mention two great organizations that would be of interest to your readers.


First, the Israeli Stuttering Association (ambi.org.il) has been doing great things, especially for children who stutter, in Israel and beyond. Second, here in the U.S., the Jewish Stuttering Association (jstutter.org) supports people in the Jewish community who stutter, and it promotes Torah-oriented activities for children who stutter.

I also want to mention the Stuttering Foundation (stutteringhelp.org) that is famous for giving out diverse free resources to children, adults and parents. One brochure on its website is “Special Education Law and Children Who Stutter” that explains how every child has the right to free speech therapy, thanks to federal legislation over 40 years ago. The free therapy is available to all children who are enrolled at any type of school, whether public, private or religious. This free therapy covers all speech problems.

Adam R. Lichter
Springfield, Mass.

Democrats’ Solution: Tax, tax, tax

The Jewish Times Oct. 3 cover story, “Being Purple,”  was biased and infuriating.

The Jewish community needs to wake up and see the truth. Under the O’Malley/Brown administration over the past eight years, Maryland residents have had 70 new taxes and fees imposed on them. Many businesses and families are fleeing the state to more tax-friendly locations. Maryland has the advantage of being near Washington, and the state benefits from the many government jobs. If not for those jobs, the unemployment rate in Maryland would be much higher.

The only solution the Democrat Party seems to have is to increase our taxes, and that is not the answer. For Marylanders who don’t decide to leave the state, the clear choice is to vote the Democrats out. There are many qualified Republican candidates. It is time to wake up and realize that the Democratic Party will simply tax its residents into oblivion.

Ruth Goetz

Editor’s Note: The writer is a member of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee

Avoiding Chaos on Yom Kippur

I appreciated Marc Shapiro’s Sept. 26 article “Yom Kippur Without Fasting.” At our old shul in Richmond (with an aging population) we noted a large number of members who either had multiple medical problems and were on multiple medications or just stubbornly insisted on fasting. Predictably, on Yom Kippur afternoon, people started hitting the floor. Chaos ensued, as 500 people each took it upon themselves to call 911, and dozens of members with medical training surrounded the fallen, each trying to take charge.

We learned the following:
> Arrange a schedule of on-call providers among the membership to reduce the chaos.
> Widely publicize the existence of the Emergency Squad, asking everyone else to stand down and let them do the work in case of emergency.
> Have emergency stands around the building with sweets (for fasting diabetics) and drinks (for those who became dehydrated).

For weeks before the holy day (and multiple times during the day), the rabbi would remind all present that our goal was to send our prayers to the Heavenly Throne, not to deliver them in person.

I would note that many synagogues, especially those with large and/or aging membership, should consider adopting a similar system

Arthur S. Harrow

Justice, Charity Go Arm in Arm

Bravo to the Jewish Times for encouraging everyone to engage in the work of justice, and not only the work of charity (“A Hunger for Justice,” Oct. 3). This exact sentiment is why MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger works so hard to affect policy change. Our nation’s safety net must remain intact to provide for those who need support today, and we must also reform the system so that it works efficiently for everyone.

Michelle Stuffmann
Director of Outreach, Marketing and Communications
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Los Angeles

Join Us for Joyful Jewish Experience

Simone Ellin’s article on the East Bank Havurah (“A Time for Renewal,” Sept. 19) reflected well the history and character of our group. I received a warm welcome upon visiting the group three years ago. As a dues-paying member since then, I have participated actively, hosting Shabbat services in my home and learning Mussar (an ages-old Jewish spirituality practice to refine one’s character traits) with fellow members. I encourage people seeking a joyful Jewish experience to visit Meetup.com/East-Bank-Havurah or call 410-358-3694; then, visit us
in person.

Consider joining our unique Yom Kippur worship at the Pearlstone Conference Center on Oct. 3-4.

Susan London Russell

Quarry Not Represented By Dissatisfied Few

Rabbi Shapiro’s article “Please Be Kind” (Sept. 19) quite properly and effectively urges that, as Jews, we remember where we came from, that we treat each other with kindness and respect and that we should look out for one another. Rabbi Shapiro referenced an incident involving a small number of residents of the Quarry who failed to live up to that standard.

The rabbi was accurate in his observation, and he, as well as the larger community, should be assured that the wrongful comments of a few do not represent the views of the majority of the residents of the Quarry nor those of the officers and board of directors of the Greenspring Quarry Association, Inc.

Stuart Hirsch
President, Greenspring Quarry Association, Inc.

Holocaust Plaque Is a Must-Read

Basically hidden behind Joseph Sheppard’s sculpture at Baltimore’s Holocaust Memorial is a raised plaque. It bears the best, most concise explanation of the Holocaust I have ever read, just four paragraphs, written by Dr. Deborah Lipstadt. I recommend that the plaque be moved in front of Sheppard’s sculpture so that people passing by on Lombard Street may read it and be educated. Otherwise, there is minimal attention paid to the memorial, and I’m guessing that very little is learned from either the sculpture or the quote from Primo Levi on the memorial wall.

Bob Jacobson

Rice, Repentance Go Hand-in-Hand

In this High Holiday period of reflection, the Ray Rice imbroglio (“It’s Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing,” Sept. 12’s Opening Thoughts) offers a rare opportunity for an illuminating
exploration of comparative religion.

Taking nothing away from the hideous nature of domestic violence, still, the Rice case nicely crystallizes the difference between rabbinic Judaism and Pauline Christianity. The sweeping condemnation of Rice — including the NFL’s indefinite suspension of him, the Ravens’ jersey exchange, etc. — percolates a mindset that there should be no tolerance whatsoever of mistakes.

Such echoes the apostle Paul’s view that to violate a single commandment is no different than violating them all, with the punishment being absolute and eternal damnation. (The only remedy being acceptance of Jesus.) On the other hand, it is important to take into account Rice’s exemplary record of prior public service (for instance, the anti-bullying campaign), his expression of deep remorse and his pursuit of counseling: more like the Jewish idea of tshuva, repentance.

S.R. Cohen

Seek Common Ground

The most important issue to consider is what is best for Israel (“Bucking the Trend: Despite problems elsewhere, local pro-Israel students return to school confident” Sept. 2). With that in mind, I hope college students (and others) will consider the following: As most Israeli security experts agree, there is no military solution to the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

While it now seems more difficult to obtain, Israel needs a comprehensive, sustainable two-state resolution of her conflict with the Palestinians in order to avert renewed violence and increased isolation and criticism. Israel also needs to respond effectively to her economic, environmental and other domestic problems and to remain both a Jewish and democratic state. Failure to obtain such a resolution will result in a very negative future for Israel, the Palestinians, the U.S. and, indeed, much of the world. This is not only my view but also, as indicated in the Israeli Academy Award-nominated movie “The Gatekeepers,” the opinion of many Israeli strategic experts, including all the living retired heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s General Security Service. Of course, Israel’s security has to be a major concern in any agreement.

Most people look at the world in terms of good versus evil, us versus them, and often demonize opponents. Rather than doing that, I think it is urgent to seek common ground and solutions. It is easy to win a thousand debates, as the Palestinians have often acted irrationally and evilly, but it is important that each side try to see things from the other’s perspective as well as their own and seek common ground and solutions. It is essential to strengthen the moderate Palestinians rather than Hamas and other terrorist groups.

Richard Schwartz

Staten Island, N.