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J Street's Palestinian
Tilt Stalls Peace Talks
Eric Rozenman does a fine job of dem-
onstrating the discrepancies between
what J Street says and what it does ("J
Street Without Spin;' July 4, page 19).
While claiming to be pro-Israel, J
Street has consistently taken the side of
Israel's enemies on every issue. While
claiming to be pro-peace, they encour-
age continued war by absolving the
Palestinians of all responsibility for the
death and destruction they cause.
With J Street helping heap blame
for the violence on Israel and insisting
that only Israel must make concessions,
Palestinians have no incentive to make
peace. Is it any wonder with J Street
on their side, the Palestinians refuse to
FJA Should Respect
All Jewish Viewpoints
The raison d'etre of an educational
institution is to teach its students how
to think, and to do so requires expos-
ing them to many different viewpoints.
With a 25 percent Orthodox student
demographic, the academic leadership
of Frankel Jewish Academy is deny-
ing 100 percent of the student body
the opportunity to experience differ-
ent Jewish perspectives by imposing a
minority viewpoint affecting everyone
("School Standoff;' June 27, page 1).
Jews come in many different flavors
and with many opinions that are rarely
vanilla. Instead of achieving a mis-
placed and misinterpreted objective of
Kindness In Art
Thank you for your July 11 article
"Spreading Kindness Every Day," focus-
ing on the Kindness Project (page
9), a joint initiative of the Jewish
Community Center of Metropolitan
Detroit and Partners in Torah. We're
delighted that you chose to profile this
important program in the Jewish News.
Included with the piece was a copy
of a beautiful painting, The Colors of
Kindness, that now hangs at the JCC in
There's a wonderful story about how
this mural came into existence.
The JCC is fortunate to have on our
team Noemi Herzig, director of the
Active Life, a program for senior adults.
When JCC staff was asked to consider
halachic (Jewish law) observance, there
is now the greater offense of violating
derech eretz (respect) by denying free-
dom of learning.
How does being shomer Shabbos
reflect a rabbi's teaching abilities, and
what kind of a message has and is
being sent to the student body — that
unless you are shomer Shabbos you
are less of a Jew? Are these the lashon
harah (evil tongue) messages the com-
munity wants sent to its young? And
are these the lessons that we — as a
diversity of Jews — want our children
Excluding all of our community's
Reform rabbis and many Conservative
rabbis from teaching Judaic studies
— or any other subject — is distinctly
un-Jewish and denies all FJA students
access to unencumbered learning. That
is a shandeh [shame]!
This "dispute" puts form well ahead
of substance — so much so that the
reins of form have escaped the driver
of substance. As for the lay leadership
of the FJA: Wake up and start think-
ing outside of the spice box! The entire
student body is depending on you
to focus on the spices — and not on
the container — and the community
expects nothing less.
It's hard enough witnessing blatant
anti-Semitism around the world ...
musicians being threatened by per-
forming in Israel, European cartoons
ways they could incorporate more
kindness into their programming,
Noemi came up with the idea of a
mural with outlines created by local
artist Daniel Cascardo — but one
that would need a community to
She also wanted to do something
that people could enjoy for many
years, and she looked for a project
that could involve everyone, regard-
less of their skills.
And that's exactly what happened
last April when dozens of community
members of all ages came to the JCC
in Oak Park. There was a lot of music,
dancing, art, laughter, camaraderie
and, in the end, an extraordinary work
We want to thank everyone who
showing Jews as bloodthirsty creatures
and disturbing hate-filled messages
all over the Internet. Still, it might be
worse watching Jews threatening Jews
from the Israeli Army, Jewish women
taunting other Jewish women at the
Wailing Wall or, locally, disagreements
at the Frankel Academy "about which
Jew is the better Jew to teach our chil-
dren about being Jewish" ("All Jews
Should Remain United; July 11, page
It couldn't have come at a better time
to read about the Partners in Torah
program held at Yeshiva Beth Yehudah
on Tuesday evenings ("Empowered To
Learn:' July 11, page 1). My wife, Judy,
and I have been part of Partners for
many years, ready to learn and discuss
any aspect of Jewish life.
I have never felt less than Jewish at
Partners because I'm not Orthodox.
I do believe that Rabbi Cohen means
his words, "Everyone in the room is
accepted ... Every Jew is a Jew — and
Thanks to Rabbis Cohen, Burnham
and Muller, and many others leading
Partners, I can truly feel the essence
of kindness, respect and equality
throughout the room. I believe that
there is always room for differing opin-
ions and beliefs amidst the "embers"
of Jewish conversation. But there is
no room for arrogance and contempt,
especially among fellow Jews.
Now, if we could only spread the
"Partners in Torah" visions of Jewish
unity and fellowship around the world.
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The Colors of Kindness
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mural, Daniel Cascardo and especially
Noemi Herzig, who made it all happen.
assistant executive director
JCC of Metropolitan Detroit
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July 18 • 2013