May 1, 2008
Beit T’Shuvah, Jewish/Arab day schools, Charlton Heston
I would like to thank you for printing "Rescuing Jewish Addicts -- A Day in the Life at Beit T'Shuvah" by Roberto Loiederman (April 25).
The article is so well written, and it's so important that our community knows that an agency of our Federation is serving those who need help with addiction struggles.
In addition to services mentioned, Beit T'Shuvah (BTS) also serves the community with a Partners in Prevention program that goes into day schools, camps and synagogues. This outreach program teaches Judaism as a path to promote self-acceptance, self-worth, spiritual values and family harmony.
The residents and alumni of BTS have also joined together in creating an insightful musical performance event called. "Freedom Song," which communicates their common experiences with addiction and the growth they've experienced with the life-giving support of BTS. The group has performed the show locally and throughout the United States, receiving overwhelming support, interest and rave reviews.
As a BTS board member, I'm so proud of the wonderful staff and volunteers and the progress of the residents, and am so grateful that you've brought attention to BTS's efforts toward the healing of Jewish souls.
Punishing victimless drug crimes exceeds the standard for retributive punishment established in the Scriptures ("Addiction Debate: Legalization, Medication or Therapy?" April 25).
Exodus 21:23, "life for life"; 24, "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot"; 25, "burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."
Punishing the victimless crime of drug use violates the law of God by inflicting injury where there was no injury to another. Drug use murders no one, blinds no one, no teeth have been knocked out and no maiming has occurred, so where's the godly authorization for enforcing drug prohibition.
Nowhere in God's word is there any commandment to ban drug use. Victimless drug convictions often bring more prison time than for armed robbery, beating someone to death in a fight, detonating a bomb in an aircraft or providing weapons to support a foreign terrorist organization. The maximum sentence for all those crimes together is less than the mandatory minimum under sentencing rules for many victimless drug crimes. Drug war punishments clearly violate the eye-for-an-eye principle stated in the law of God.
Upholding a drug crusade that violates God's ordinances is doomed to failure.
I commend you on a well-written and well-thought out piece. What few people realize is that the drug laws were lunacy from the very beginning. Modern people assume that the drug laws were passed for a good reason. They weren't.
Opium smoking was originally outlawed because of the fear that Chinese men were luring white women to have sex in opium dens.
Cocaine was outlawed because of the fear that superhuman Negro cocaine fiends would go on a violent rampage and rape white women and shoot white men.
Caffeine was almost outlawed at the same time for the same reasons. The only reason caffeine escaped prohibition is because it is found in so many common foods.
In the past 100 years, there have been numerous major government commissions around the world that have studied the drug laws and made recommendations for changes. They all concluded that the drug laws were based on ignorance and nonsense and cause more harm than good.
The full text of these reports can be found at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer under Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy.
Schaffer Library of Drug Policy
Jewish/Arab Day Schools
I would like to encourage Rabbi Daniel Gordis to keep an open mind when it comes to educating Israeli Arab and Jewish children together ("Debra Winger Explores Jewish/Arab Day Schools," April 25).
Each of our four award-winning schools is a community of humanitarians dedicated to laying a foundation for a real and lasting peace in Israel.
Our teachers respect and celebrate each child's heritage, and our Jewish students, who because they interact daily with the "other," are forced to develop an even stronger sense of their own identity. Our parents are gratified because they are raising the next generation of leaders who might just be able to do what government officials have been unable to do thus far: find a peaceful way to coexist in Israel.
In addition, I'd ask Gordis to read our groundbreaking curriculum, which is sensitive to educating children from varying religious and ethnic backgrounds. Our curriculum is so successful that it is now in demand from other countries around the world as an innovative model on how to teach conflict resolution to children.
I appreciate Gordis' view that perhaps we should wait until high school or college to teach "competing national narratives," but until there is another viable plan for peace, I -- and many others -- believe as Gandhi did: "If we are to teach real peace in the world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children."
Julie I. Bram
American Friends of Hand in Hand
What is Tom Tugend's basis for stating that Charlton Heston was "reviled by most American Jews" as an arch conservative ("Charlton Heston, Oscar Winner and Advocate, Dies at 84," April 11)?
Even if it is true that most American Jews revile the NRA's policies, to assume that we would also revile the man doesn't give us much credit. I would hope and think that most American Jews, like most other Americans, are fair-minded people who can disagree with someone on an issue, even strongly, and still respect them.
The C.En hydrogen-based transportation invention appears to be little more than another fuel-cell battery ("