How dare you?

I would like to express my outrage and disappointment about “Frum times in Teaneck High” (January 12).

I cannot view the article in any other light other than as an attack on the Jewish day school system. You proudly have the word “Jewish” in the title of your paper, and yet you feel no hesitation in attacking our Jewish day school system through printing the clearly very biased quotes from those you interviewed. I have worked in the Jewish day school system for 22 years and have been privileged to work aside the best trained professionals in the American educational system. They come to school day in and day out to support the students who need extra support, to educate and protect children when it comes to bullying behaviors, and to assist parents in helping their children. As I continued reading the article, over and over the quotes you used were not about how their child needed more, but rather about how terrible Jewish day schools are. I do feel for the parents you interviewed who were unable to access the services they needed, but to print such disparaging comments about the Jewish day school system is unpardonable.

There is a plethora of research which indicates the importance of a Jewish day school education in ensuring students’ engagement with Judaism. Those who attend Jewish day school are involved in Jewish activities and worship in much higher percentages than their peers who do not attend a Jewish school. How could anyone with any journalistic integrity print an article that indicates anything different? I am a proud graduate of a Jewish day school, as were my parents and even my grandmother in pre-war Hungary. My children are now proud attendees as well, who love school, their teachers and feel they are treated with respect by their teachers and peers. I am a proud educator in a Jewish day school, and feel it is a privilege each day to see the daily educational miracles our teachers accomplish.

I think you owe the entire Jewish day school system a retraction, and you should feel ashamed of the lashon hara you did print.

Aliza Frohlich, Teaneck

Thank you!

I enjoyed reading “Frum times in Teaneck High.” It’s nice to get such positive confirmation that the Teaneck School District continues to serve a diversified population.

Howard Rose, Teaneck
Trustee, Board of Education

More on unsung hero Jan Zwartendijk

Your readers will be interested to know that for Boys Town Jerusalem and its extended family of supporters and friends, Jan Zwartendijk was anything but “unsung” (“In Japan, discovering the unsung Dutch hero behind Sugihara’s rescue of Jews,” January 12). Thanks to a tip from Holocaust scholar Dr. David Kranzler z”l, we became aware of his life-saving efforts in 1996, established contact with his family, and subsequently honored him posthumously at gala dinners in both New York and Holland. We also paid him a tribute at Boys Town Jerusalem and at the Mir Yeshiva, where those whom he saved found their ultimate salvation.

We dubbed him “Angel of Mercy” and established the Jan Zwartendijk Humanitarian Award in his honor. Jan Zwartendijk embarked on his holy mission simply because it was the right thing to do. This became the criterion for future recipients of this award.

Boys Town Jerusalem also played a key role in having Yad Vashem recognize Jan Zwartendijk as one of the Righteous Gentiles.

Anyone interested in receiving more information is invited to write to me at rgray@boystownjerusalem.org

Rabbi Ronald Gray, Mannattan
Executive VP
Boys Town Jerusalem Foundation of America

Art through the ages

I enjoyed reading “Art Through the Ages” (December 29). Kudos to all the ladies who made this possible, and especially to the nine sixth-graders. The idea to pair youngsters with seniors at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh through art, such as clay, wood, paper, and origami, is unparalleled.

Art is therapy and it is an extension of life. The children, as well as the seniors, will gain so much from their mutual conversations and imagination. Teachers shape the lives of children, and what a unique idea to have each child paired with a resident or two to create items of Jewish significance. The children who commit one Sunday per month to the art encounter are very special.

All the parties will gain great pleasure and more importantly be a source of Jewish knowledge. Our Hebrew legacy lies in the theme of art. My best to all the participants.

A world without art — I don’t think so!!

Grace Jacobs, Cliffside Park

Israel does not need us

“Israel needs us” is the opener of Rabbi Aryeh Meir’s opinion piece, “Toward a meaningful Israel-diaspora partnership” (January 12). He then lays out a plan for American Jews to help Israel, not with donations, but with support of organizations with questionable agendas when it comes to Israel’s welfare and security. Endorsing the efforts of organizations such as the New Israel Fund, Bt’selem, and Breaking the Silence, among others, raises the question whose side is he on, anyway?

These groups self-brand as human rights organizations but repeatedly have been shown to be politically motivated, with a bias against Israel. Bt’selem, for one, was exposed as the primary source for Richard Goldstone of the infamous Goldstone Report. We all know how that turned out. New Israel Fund is frequently a chief financial supporter of left-leaning organizations with their own agendas.

Nowhere in the piece is acknowledgement of two realities: One, the current “occupation” is the result of decades of Palestinian refusal to make peace with Israel. How else does a tiny country survive with a “neighbor” interested only in its destruction? Two, the present government has been democratically elected so, like their policies or not, the majority of Israelis appear to be content. If not, they can vote Likud out at the next election. American Jews have no part in this. No, Israel does not need us.

Gail Abramson, Teaneck