Gary Rosenblatt deserves our approbation for bringing Jack Wertheimer’s incisive Commentary article to a broader audience (“Can We Afford To Make Others A Priority?” March 12).
I would encapsulate my reading of Wertheimer’s main point by paraphrasing the late Sy Syms: “A Jewishly educated Jew is our best Jew.”
There are thousands of young Jewish families who are deeply involved in synagogues, send their children to day schools and are assuring Jewish continuity. This is the Jewish youth of America that the organized community needs to cater to. They will provide the leadership for the next generation of American Jewry. They need and deserve our help in meeting the crushing burden of the cost of Jewish education. Some of the Jewish funds that now go to museums, hospitals and universities should be funneled into Jewish day schools.
However, I also feel that part of the Jewish mission is to help the world’s unfortunates. Victims of genocide in the Sudan, Darfur and the Congo need our help, too. Ruth Messinger and her American Jewish World Services create a kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God’s name) with every dollar they donate, as did the tremendous Jewish response, both here and in Israel, to the victims of the Haitian earthquake, as Rosenblatt pointed out.
I am not concerned about Jewish money going to the non-Jewish community. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his International Fellowship of Christians and Jews raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the poor Jews of the FSU and Israel. Much more Christian money comes into the worldwide Jewish community than Jewish money goes out to the gentile community. The balance of trade is very much in our favor.