June 2009

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News and Opinion

Letters to the Editor

Who Made Off With Our Tzedakah?

Marvin I. Schotland's response to Who Made Off With Our Tzeddakah objects that "greed" not be confused with "willful and misplaced credulity" claiming that Jewish Community Foundation would have invested more with Madoff if they had been motivated solely by greed. Schotland supposes that greedy people are invariably imprudent: spreading the risks even among good investments simply practices good stewardship; Schotland's prudence in spreading his risks in no way contradicts a greed which sought to over-maximize returns. I applaud the good works of the Jewish Community Foundation. I am sorry for their losses, and hope that wisdom will make them more diligent with future investments. Ronald Reagan once quipped that there is nothing wrong with a little greed. The problem is that there is no such thing as "a little greed." Greed by its very definition is excessive. The CEO doth protest too much, methinks.

Schotland's characterization of Loeb as a self-aggrandizing Goliath, while attempting to minimize his own investment mistakes, would be humorous, if they were not so intentionally poisonous.

-- Ben Burrows, Elkins Park, PA

The budget, poverty reduction and health care

As the legislative calendar rolls on, Congress has enacted a budget resolution that addresses health care reform, childhood nutrition reauthorization, and other poverty reduction social service programs. As the Jewish calendar rolls, we consider the journey from physical bondage to communal justice and responsibility through counting the Omer, the 49 days from Passover to Shavuot (giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai). Over the next couple of weeks, our attention turns to contemplation of compassion and righteousness, two qualities we can easily bring to bear on enacting policies to protect the vulnerable.

The needs are urgent. The economy and the cost of health care is driving one in four people with chronic health problems such as arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure to defer, delay or skip their care, and cut medications. In cutting back, diabetics run increased risks of amputation, vision loss, stroke and even death.

This behavior is not only stressful to the individual, it also adds stress to the strained health care system. Emergency care, short hospitalization, and long-term complications can top $10,000.

As we encourage our representatives to take action for affordable, accessible and quality health care, and poverty reduction initiatives, we hope they will consider with compassion those who must endure the current system.

-- Rabbi Meryl M. Crean
-- Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer
-- Rabbi Elliot Holin
-- Rabbi Linda Holtzman
-- Rabbi Alan LaPayover
-- Rabbi Yael Levy
-- Jeff Hornstein, President, Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice welcomes the submission of articles and letters to the editor letters @ pjvoice.com. Please include name, address and phone number for identification purposes. We cannot publish every submission we receive. We also reserve the right to edit submissions for length, clarity, grammar, accuracy, and style, though we will never intentionally distort the author's intent.

Editor-in-chief Ellen G. Witman editor @ pjvoice.com.

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