What’s Your Point?

The name of this publication is the Baltimore JEWISH Times. The Jewish/Judaic/Yiddishkeit relevance and significance of the “A Monumental Past” (July 4) cover story and the Arts & Life’s “A Unique Space” (July 4) feature is … ? Because Rosalee Davison is from Pikesville, and both she and Toby Blumenthal presumably are MOT?

Jerry Winston
Severna Park

A Marked Difference

It’s interesting to note the difference in the way Jews and Arabs react during times of extreme passion and during extraordinary conditions. (“Collective Anguish,” July 4).

When the case is the murder of a young Arab in revenge for the murder of three young Jews, the reaction of Jews is denunciation from the right and the left, including from the families of the terror victims.

The reaction of the Arabs to the murder of the Jewish boys is praise from all quarters with a three-finger gesture. The political leaders denounce, but the Arab media fall all over themselves in praise of the murder.

Jews arrange mass prayer vigils with quiet singing everywhere, even by the fresh graves. The Arabs burn bus stops and throw stones.

The Israeli police arrest 45 Jewish demonstrators who were attempting to attack Arabs in Jerusalem. They refrain from arresting Arabs during mass attacks on Jews that were far more dangerous.

The Malcha Mall is swarmed by masses of Arab shoppers, and hundreds of Palestinians shop at Rami Levy at the Etzion Junction, barely a kilometer from where the three boys were kidnapped and only a few kilometers from where the boys were murdered. What would happen if Jews went shopping at a shopping center in Ramallah?

Vive la difference! (Or maybe not, since this would be a sign of weakness on their part.)

Meir Indor
CEO, Almagor Terror
Victims Association

A Different View

There are two ways one can view the vote by the Presbyterian Church to support divestment from businesses that profit off of Israeli policies (“With friends like these …” June 27). The typical response is to see anti-Semites under every rock, in every pew, behind every tree. After all, the Jewish people are the Chosen Ones, and any attack on the Jewish homeland is an attack on the Jewish people. Or, one can step back and see that the actions of the Jewish state toward its non-Jewish citizens and residents are so egregious that even old friends can’t turn away any more. Perhaps, finally the world, including so many Jewish groups, is finally taking the guarantee of absolution and invisibility of Israeli crimes against humanity to a higher level of accountability of human decency.

Myles B. Hoenig

Land of the Free? Not with Brown, Frosh

I read the op-eds in the JT’s “Get Out the Vote” (June 24) issue by Anthony Brown and Brian Frosh, who won Maryland’s Democratic primary for governor and attorney general, respectively. They are decent hard-working men, but in my view and the view of many Marylanders, they are leaders who have profoundly lost their way. I also understand the opprobrium my constitutional conservative views receive from the typical Democrat and Jewish citizen, but many of our citizens have forgotten, rejected or never learned our core American values.

Brown and Frosh and their colleagues in the Democratic Party have, in general, replaced American values with the values of leftism. They are statists. Their vision is the vision of big state and small citizen. They, like the rest of the Democratic Party, wish to lead us to the cultural and moral bankruptcy of Western Europe, where thousands of bureaucrats micro-manage every part of life and where private property is disrespected, wealth creation is minimal, capitalism derided and the sense of entitlement of government largess normative.

Behind a veneer of concern for the citizen, the rhetoric of hope and change, Brown and Frosh are profound advocates for the state, for the truly frightening and anti-American push for inequality of power. They even boast how they will continue to energize such inequality: “I, the politician, will take evermore amounts of your private property, your hard-earned money so I may dispense justice throughout Maryland. I will decide who and where and how much and when you get health care. I will decide how and where you can educate your kids, what type of energy you use, how businesses are created.” On and on, utopian leftism seated squarely here in Maryland. Karl Marx would be proud.

Brown talks about a new way forward for Maryland. His Marxist-based liberty-draining and property-seizing leftist value system that he and the Democratic Party hold is anything but forward. It’s a fast green-powered bullet-train ride back to the economic and social degradation of all statist systems. We need to return to the land of the free and the home of the brave and reject these toxic visions.

Howard Sachs
Chevy Chase, Md.

Keep Pollard Right Where He Is

The JT’s July 4 editorial “Peres, Dershowitz, Obama — and Pollard” overlooked the bigger picture. For example, the legal scholars’ letter to the president cited claimed that Pollard’s sentence was “unprecedented … disproportionate.”

The issue is American exceptionalism.  An exceptional — unprecedented — crime warrants no less than an exceptional — disproportionate — punishment. There is one overriding, super-salient fact that sets the Pollard case apart from those of other Americans caught spying for so-called friendly or neutral countries: Not only has America been Israel’s only truly reliable ally in a hostile world — especially at the United Nations — but also the U.S. taxpayer has long subsized Israel, most recently to the tune of a $3 billion appropriation.

Whoever heard of a country generously underwriting another nation and then that nation turning around and spying on its financial patron and long-term political savior?

Indeed, according to media reports, Israel constantly ranks in the top tier of nations actively engaging in industrial and military espionage against the United States. Forget about executive clemency for Pollard, who has renounced his U.S. citizenship. Let him serve out his full term.

If it had been up to me, I would have exchanged Pollard for Gilad Shalit, instead of Israel releasing all those Palestinian prisoners.

Stephen Arkan
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Presbyterians Need to Curtail Hostility

The JT’s editorial “With friends like these …” (June 27) understated the hostility toward the Jewish state by the Presbyterian Church (USA). Agenda item 04-09, “Resolution on Equal Rights for All Inhabitants of Israeland Palestine and on Conversations with Prophetic Voices,” passed 61-4 and supports the Palestinian Arab position in every single case with no acknowledgment of Israeli or Jewish claims. It even stated that Jews should stop worrying about anti-Semitism anywhere until they fix Israel.

Consider another proposed resolution (agenda item 07-01). In the committee’s words: “Though the committee voted not to approve Item 07-01, we take the matter of language, and specifically the tension around the use of the term ‘Israel’ very seriously. We hope the discussion and education about the use of language continues.” I did not know “Israel” was such a loaded term.

Despite cheerleading from insignificant camp followers such as the Jewish Voice for Peace, the Presbyterian Church has no business telling Jews what our attitude toward Israel, Zionism and our religion and history ought to be. If it wants better relations with the Jewish community, the organized Presbyterian Church should cease denigrating our history and religion and stop supporting those who attack Israel and Jews throughout the world.

Jerry Levin

Best Defense: Take Pride in Being Jewish

Shortly after reading the JT’s “Who’s that Knocking at the Door?” (June 20) about Israel Restoration Ministries, I experienced the soliciting of their proselytizing message. Arriving by car at my home in the Stevenson area around 11 a.m. on June 23, I was accosted on my driveway by a number of African-American adults and youths from an Evangelical church, who insisted on speaking with me and giving me the IRM materials described in your article.

They refused to leave my property when I asked them, so I drove my car into my garage and closed its door.  Once in my house, I opened the front door to see if they had left and found their proselytizing materials on my porch but no trace of them. Their materials quickly wound up in my trash can; they had no success with me.

Our Jewish community needs to do more to expose the motives of the groups involved in the proselytizing and missionizing and who their backers are. If members of our community are made more aware that “Messianic” Christian missionaries are passing themselves off as “completed” Jews and are being aided by volunteers from mainline evangelical churches, perhaps fewer Jews will fall prey to their sales pitch.

Our religious leaders also need to do a much better job of making our youth take pride in our religion and in being authentically Jewish. Instead of only emphasizing what our religion prohibits and reasons why the missionaries are wrong, they need to better present Judaism as a treasured belief system that will help our people build a meaningful and successful Jewish life for themselves.

Marcia R. Greenfield

Attias’ Resting Place Is Jewish Honor

In the obituary for Benzion “Nick” Attias (“Belated Goodbye,” June 27) , it is stated that “his admiration for the soldiers who liberated the Jews from the Nazis inspired Attias’ choice to be buried in the Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery in Owings Mills, instead of a Jewish cemetery.” It should be noted that he was interred in the separate consecrated Jewish section of Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery, a benefit to which he was entitled as a veteran.

Retired Army Col. Erwin A. Burtnick
Commander, Department of Maryland
Jewish War Veterans

More Kudos for Everyman

This is wonderful (“Have You Heard? New play at Everyman Theatre more accessible than ever,” June 20). As an accessibility consultant and occupational therapist for over 25 years, I have worked with many businesses to create greater accessibility for inclusion of people with disabilities as well as to support compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. ADA ensures that reasonable accommodations are made for employees with disabilities (Title I) and that architectural barriers are removed and remedied for accessibility (Titles II & III). Title IV deals with telecommunications; therefore, the accommodations made for the deaf are in the spirit of Title IV and present a model for other businesses. Great job Everyman Theatre.

Shoshana Shamberg

Asheville Festival Has Tie to Baltimore

I enjoyed reading the article about Jewish food festivals in unexpected places (“Culinary Delights,” June 20, 2014). Upon Googling the events I learned that this year’s Asheville, N.C., festival has yet to take place. I was surprised that was not mentioned in the article.  I was also surprised that the Baltimore connection to Asheville was not mentioned. The 2014 HardLox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival will be held Oct. 19 in downtown Asheville. It is a fundraiser for Beth Ha-Tephila, whose rabbi, Batsheva Meiri, was previously affiliated with Temple Emanuel in Reisterstown.

Ann-Laurie Hyman