Letters to the Editor: Week of July 6, 2011

Keep Block Yeshiva on the Millstone Campus

I was extremely pleased to read the letter about Block Yeshiva High School (June 15) and I completely agree with the sentiments expressed in it. As a graduate of the school, I can attest to the impact the school has both on its students and the community at large. Block Yeshiva provides an excellent secular studies curriculum: standardized test scores of its students are consistently among the top private schools in Saint Louis. But Block Yeshiva also helps students to become better all-around individuals. Only last year, the community work of the Block Yeshiva girls received the recognition of this newspaper, as one of the paper’s Unsung Heroes featured in Oy! Magazine. 

Its graduates have gone to many different professions — now working in law and medicine, business and engineering. One of them, Rabbi Avi Greene, is currently head of school at Epstein Hebrew Academy.  

Considering the school’s achievements, I was surprised to hear Jewish Federation decided not to renew the school’s lease at Covenant House [Editor’s note: A spokesperson for Jewish Federation said it was stated before the school moved in to the Covenant House/CHAI Apart-ments space that a lease would be limited to one year]. 

The  location seemed perfect for students’ educational and recreational needs, with the Holocaust Museum, Brodsky Library, and Staenberg Family Complex in close proximity to the school. The decision not to renew the lease, therefore, seems shocking to me and puzzling in light of the Federation’s priorities for the future (listed on their website). The top two listed are: “Ensuring the Jewish identity and engagement of the next generation” and “Creating a vibrant local Jewish community that will help retain and be attractive to young people.” 

The kind people at the Federation should reconsider and extend the school’s lease.

Aleksey Kazakevich

Doctoral student in American History at 

Saint Louis University 


Palestinian right of return is historical myth

A recent Light article portrayed Mahmoud Abbas as living in two mythical worlds —peace legitimized by the UN for his people while his organization includes terrorist Hamas, and Right of Return said to be “stipulated” by UN Resolution 194 on December 11, 1948. 

The primary purpose of 194 was not to address the refugee issue but to create a commission to address a comprehensive peace between Israel and Arab neighbors — only one of its fifteen paragraphs even alludes to refugees in general.

Stating that refugees choosing not to return to their homes in pre-partition mandate (November 29, 1947) areas were to be compensated for their property by the governments in which they were living, 194 clearly holds Arab states to a responsibility for the refugees, and does not state that Right of Return” is the only viable option for refugees. 

The Arabs voted unanimously against it. 

With this veto in 1948 they laid waste to the Palestinian argument in 2011 that they deserve statehood because the Zionists displaced them during the 1947-48 war when actually the Mufti-led Arab Higher Committee unsuccessfully attempted to subvert the 1947 partition resolution that most Palestinians then found acceptable to produce peace.

Abbas is attached at the hip to Hamas. The Palestinian diaspora is the responsibility of Mufti Hajj Amin Husseini and his followers provoking the onset of hostilities in 1947 preventing peaceful coexistence.

These are not myths.

Yankel Ber Stoliar

Jerusalem, Israel and St. Louis