May 17, 2007
(Jewish) Mother’s Day
I wasn't surprised to read Amy Klein's cover story, "The New Jewish Mother" (May 11).
Today's (and yesterday's, for that matter) moms defy the stereotype of the nagging, overprotective, food-pushing mom and, instead, follow modern parenting theories, while balancing work and child-rearing.
In writing about the evolving nature of the Jewish mom, Klein left out those moms from other religious backgrounds raising Jewish children. They may not have been born Jewish or even converted, but when it comes to providing their children with a Jewish upbringing, these moms are fully Jewish.
The Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI), an organization that promotes a welcoming and inclusive Jewish community to unaffiliated Jews and interfamily, recognizes these moms raising their children in Judaism as the unsung heroes of the Jewish community. JOI developed and runs The Mothers Circle (www.themotherscircle.org), an education and support experience for women from other religious backgrounds in a committed relationship with a Jewish spouse or partner who have made the decision to raise their children in Judaism.
Jewish Outreach Institute
New York, N.Y.
Readers of the cover piece "The New Jewish Mother," might be left with the misapprehension that my mother regretted her decision to stay home and raise me and my brother. Anyone who has ever seen her in action as a mother or grandmother knows that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, her constant conviction that she did the right thing both for us and herself is what made me decide to follow in her footsteps.
Your "New Jewish Mother" articles were long on wording and short on substance. Wiser people than I have suggested that Mother's Day as it exists is obsolete. We need a day to honor the nannies and child care workers who generally make less money than gas station attendants and taxi drivers. More often than not, they are the ones who are really raising the children.
Rabbi Louis J. Feldman, Ph.D.
When I read about Anthony Artry's experience driving into Israel's Independence Day Festival, I was embarrassed ("One (Independence) Day in the Valley," May 4).
I'm also embarrassed when I'm out in public and someone wearing a Jewish Star is loud and obnoxious.
I remember how hard it was for my parents to get out of the parking lot after services at Temple Judea in Tarzana when I was a kid because the drivers were so rude. I used to sit in the backseat and think about how that went against everything we had just heard at services.
There aren't that many of us, so what each of us does carries a lot of weight. We need to represent our people in a more favorable light.
I don't think it's that difficult to be courteous in public and that includes driving. We can't fix the rest of the world, but we can work on ourselves. Let's try harder to make a good impression on others.
The touching piece about the Jewish American girl visiting Israel to do a mitzvah for the kids at Migdal Ohr reflects the possibility that The Jewish Journal has the potential to uplift Jewish souls ("A Different Disco," May 11).
May you continue in this way.
Day School Teachers
Larry Scheindlin is right: The Jewish community needs to take new and innovative approaches to preparing teachers and leaders for Jewish day schools, if these schools are to achieve their potential ("Success of Jewish Day Schools Breeds Crisis," May 4).
He is also right that we need "innovative training and mentoring programs and incentive fellowships."
However, he overlooks the fact that a few such programs already exist. Among the most successful is DeLeT -- Day School Leadership Through Teaching. Founded by philanthropist Laura Heller Lauder and created five years ago at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion here in Los Angeles and Brandeis University on the East Coast, DeLeT has sent out almost 100 new teachers into 31 Jewish day schools across the United States.
More than 100 mentor teachers have worked intensively with the fellows as they spend four days each week observing and teaching in general and Jewish studies classrooms. Outstanding faculty make DeLeT a unique teacher education program, in which fellows learn powerful approaches to teaching and reflecting and develop into Jewish "text people," who teach about Judaism and Jewish commitment in and out of the classroom.
Rather than search for new and untried approaches to addressing the teacher and leader shortages Scheindlin so accurately describes, the Jewish community needs to insure that successful solutions like DeLeT continue to get the funding and talented candidates they need.
Rhea Hirsch School of Education
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Both the last Lebanon War and the Winograd Report prove that we must expedite the reorganization of Israel's structure of government and electoral system as soon as possible ("Israel Experiencing Revival of Democratic Life," May 11).
We cannot afford failure.
Citizens Empowerment Center in Israel
In "Hillel Sees Bright Future" (May 11), the correct Web site for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life in the Los Angeles area is http://www.lahillel.org.
In "Das Happy Kapital" (May 4), Sarah Steelman should have been identified as the treasurer for the state of Missouri.
In "Fiery Holiday Lights the Spirit" (May 11), Renee Cohen should have been referred to as the executive director of CSUN Hillel; Rabbi Chaim Brook is the Chabad rabbi at CSUN.
In "The New Jewish Mother" (May 11), Rae Drazin has two children, not three.
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