Letters to the editor: week of June 15, 2011

Faculty: Block Yeshiva is a community treasure

We, the general studies facilities at Louis and Sarah Block Yeshiva High School, would like to share some of our impressions with the St. Louis Jewish community.

Collectively we have invested over 150 years teaching at Block. Most of us have taught in other public and private schools throughout the St. Louis area providing us with the breadth of experience to rightfully state that Block offers a quality education as good as or better than any other local high school.

This year we are celebrating Block Yeshiva’s 30th graduating class. Our graduates have successfully distinguished themselves in some of the most prestigious colleges and universities, and a substantial number have returned to our community to work and raise their families, becoming the foundation of a new generation, thereby strengthening both the school and the community.

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We are justifiably proud of those facts. Although most of us who have signed this letter are not Jewish, we have come to appreciate how much our school contributes to the larger Jewish community, of which we are a part. As non-Jews, we would hope that the Jewish community recognizes how dedicated to excellence the Block Yeshiva staff is in both secular and Jewish education.

At Block, every student receives the opportunity to develop his or her Jewish identity as well as obtaining an excellent secular education to prepare him or her to succeed in the best universities. Our curriculum includes courses in each major discipline from introductory to AP level and these classes have a student-to-teacher ratio which ensures that no child is left behind, and provides to each child a personalized education tailored to his or her needs.

Our rabbinic faculty is awardwinning and recognized for their contributions in many areas of Judaic studies. The dedication of these rabbis extends to every facet of our school and their devotion to excellence, which infuses our atmosphere, emanates from their steadfast faithfulness to Judaic values and Torah tradition.

Block’s outstanding academic and religious reputation illuminates throughout the entire community, providing more depth and meaning to Jewish life and culture in the St. Louis area. An institution that teaches personal and social responsibility, as well as instilling love and respect for learning, for Jewish tradition, and for Israel, deserves the admiration and support of the community that profoundly benefits from it.

Wayne Dugge, Joseph Master, Rita White, Peggy Schrage, Susan Lemann, William Heyde, Joseph Bruns, Mark McGhee, Donna Jones, Karen Czmarko and Phil Jones

Path to Mideast peace blocked by Fatah’s alliance with Hamas

After reading the well thought out letters to the editor featured in the June 8 edition of the Jewish Light, relative to the proposals set forth by President Obama in his attempt to restart the Israel-Palestinian peace process, I couldn’t help but think of the title of one of William Shakespeare’s greatest classics- the comedy, “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Plain and simple, the points made by the letter writers were academic and moot because of the recent signing of an agreement between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the terrorist organization, Hamas, forming a unity government.

Truth be told, Abbas has sold his soul and the soul of the Palestinian people to the devil. Furthermore, for Abbas to state that the unity government won’t preclude him from conducting peace talks with the Jewish state only serves to add insult to injury. Obviously, Abbas has either suffered a severe case of brain-lock, or he’s completely delusional-devoid of reality.

For Abbas’ edification, or maybe just to refresh his memory, Hamas is the avowed sworn enemy of Israel, having renounced the Jewish State’s “right to exist” – in actuality, it doesn’t even recognize Israel’s existence-and has called for its annihilation. Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader, recently reaffirmed this position when he was quoted as stating:” Our program does not include negotiations with Israel, or recognizing it.”

All bets are off, as the many contentious topics surrounding any proposals for peace are now “dead in the water”-immaterial and irrelevant.

Suffice it to say that, there are no winners, just losers. Israel will never have the peace it has longingly yearned for, for the past 64 years – or ever since it was granted statehood by the U.N. Declaration of 1947 – and the Palestianians’ hopes, dreams, and aspirations of a state of their own will now most likely fade into oblivion.

Gene Carton

Olivette