Pay Education Forward

As the president of ORT Atlanta, I want to thank the AJT for your excellent article about ORT in your Back to School issue (“ORT Reclaims Past to Revive Its Future,” Aug. 5). The article reminds Atlantans how crucial ORT’s work has been to the Jewish community worldwide for over 100 years.

Atlanta is fortunate to have many exceptional Jewish day schools housed in beautiful facilities. ORT’s mission is to provide that kind of education to children around the world, including the Israeli at-risk teens at Hodayot. I ask all your readers to consider how your Jewish education enabled you and your children to succeed in life, then pay that forward to a young person without the advantages you have enjoyed.

Hodayot, the youth village and school that ORT Atlanta has made our focus, has already been transformed thanks to so many in this community who have made generous gifts.

You mentioned several large gifts we have received but did not mention one of the most significant, a gift that transformed the school’s science lab from Johnny Benator and his family.

There is much more to do. Your article and the attention you have given Hodayot will continue to help us fulfill our mission. Thank you.

— Harvey Spiegel, Roswell, president, Atlanta Region, ORT America

A Zombie in Congress

Ten years ago, I was thrilled when Hank Johnson won election to the U.S. House of Representatives, replacing the anti-Semitic Cynthia McKinney. The voters had woken up to the fact that McKinney in reality was representing Gaza, not Lithonia.

Now Mr. Johnson seems to have become a zombie taken over by Cynthia McKinney (“I Do Not Seek to Blame Israel … for Every Problem,” Aug. 12). He didn’t anticipate that calling Jewish settlements the equivalent of termites would be problematic. He then claimed not to know that the Quakers’ American Friends Service Committee supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

A U.S. representative is supposed to know these things, but a zombie might not know them.

The citizens of the 4th District of Georgia deserve better than to be represented by the spirit of Cynthia McKinney and by someone who will focus on DeKalb and Rockdale counties rather than Gaza City and Hebron.

— Herbert Kaine, Berkeley, Calif.

Johnson Shows Leadership

I appreciate Congressman Hank Johnson’s message about Israeli settlement policies in the West Bank (“Johnson Seeks Peace in Mideast, With Jewish Community,” online Aug. 5), expressing a position in line with the U.S. government. Showing bold leadership, he addresses injustices and barriers to a peaceful resolution for Israel/Palestine.

As a Jewish Atlantan, I’m angered that Jewish community members took his statements out of context rather than focus on the 49-year Israeli occupation. Living in Israel, I watched settlements expand and saw their impact on Palestinian communities.

Unlike Johnson’s delegation in May, most Jewish delegations to Israel don’t meet Palestinians or see occupation realities, such as settlements and child detention. Unfortunately, these attacks on Johnson prevent Americans from having open, meaningful conversations and actions to end Israeli human rights violations.

May we embrace Johnson’s urgent call to action to preserve the possibility of peace rather than divert attention from his commitment to (Palestinian) human rights.

— Ilise Cohen, Decatur

Johnson Has Courage

Congressman Hank Johnson has shown great courage in visiting the West Bank for himself and speaking out about what he witnessed. Very few Americans and even fewer of our representatives have personally seen the effects of Israeli settlements (which the U.S. government has consistently termed as obstacles to peace) on the daily lives of Palestinians, who have lived under Israeli occupation for almost 50 years.

Some who feel threatened by Johnson’s message highlighting the growth of the settlements have decided to attack the messenger rather than address the core problems of this ongoing conflict.

As a member of the Atlanta Jewish community, I feel proud that an American official has taken steps to demand a more hopeful future by continuing to educate himself and others and to expand the conversation in a way that is necessary for a just peace.

— Daniel Rice, Decatur

Clinton’s Embarrassing Backers

Laura Silverman is scared of Donald Trump supporters because some are anti-Semitic (“Trump Backers’ Anti-Semitic Taunts and Threats,” Aug. 5). She does not allege that they have done anything; she just alleges that they are anti-Semitic. She also alleges that some of them are anti-LGBT. So she supports Hillary Clinton.
Clinton supporters include people who support the Muslim Brotherhood financially. Donors to the Clinton Foundation and her 2012 presidential run include people who support Palestinian terrorism, execute LGBT people, support executing Christians, and in some cases support honor killings.
There are many other reasons to oppose Clinton. But I would like to understand how Silverman can support her.

I also would point out that one of Clinton’s financial supporters is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Were Silverman to appear in Mecca dressed the way she is dressed in her picture, she would be executed with the support of Clinton’s donors.
Yaakov “Jim” Watkins, Denver

Latinos Dominate Immigration

In her report on the fourth annual Charla and Challah Jewish-Latino community event (“Immigrant Experience Helps Unite Jews, Latinos,” Aug. 12), Sarah Moosazadeh has “informed” your readers that “today, immigration restrictions stand in the way for Latin American immigrants who seek new opportunities and a better standard of living in the United States.”

Respectfully, that statement is absurd.

Event participant Judge Dax Lopez said, “People have valid concerns, but debates should be based on facts vs. feelings.” We wholeheartedly agree.

The latest available annual official figures show that of the more than 1 million legal immigrants admitted to the United States in 2014, Mexico was the No. 1 sending nation. The Department of Homeland Security flow chart “U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents: 2014” shows that Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Colombia also are in the top 20 sending countries.

By region, the combined numbers of immigrants from Central America and South America are far ahead of Europe and Oceania, for example.

We hope that the AJT’s future news coverage of immigration will include more careful research, less baseless opinion, and perhaps a nod to the underrepresentation and possible oppression of European immigrants in the oft-described “rich tapestry of the diverse fabric” of the “press-one-for-English,” changing American population.

Perhaps the object of the community event or news report was to add to the ongoing push for officially open borders and unrestricted immigration. In that case, we would point to the obvious fact that such a policy would be the end of any semblance of a sovereign, defined nation and a mindless betrayal of struggling American workers.

— D.A. King, Marietta, president, Dustin Inman Society, for the board of advisers