Letters to the Editor: October 9, 2013

U.S., Ir­an should talk

“Sin­cere dip­lomacy is no more pos­sible than dry wa­ter or iron wood,” said Joseph Stal­in. On Aug. 23, 1939, he agreed to the Nazi-So­viet Non-Ag­gres­sion Pact. Stal­in was then un­pre­pared for war with Ger­many. Hitler planned to in­vade Po­land the next week, which he did, and know­ing that Great Bri­tain and France had a mil­it­ary al­li­ance in case Po­land were to be at­tacked, Hitler’s deal would keep the USSR out of the war, al­low­ing  Ger­many to avoid fight­ing on two fronts. Des­pite the pact, less than two years later, Ger­many in­vaded the USSR but by that time Stal­in had up­graded his mil­it­ary ca­pa­city. So the agree­ment served a pur­pose for both Ger­many and the USSR. Dip­lo­mat­ic agree­ments are made when both sides see an ad­vant­age. 

With all that in mind, Pres­id­ent Obama called Ir­a­ni­an Pres­id­ent Rouh­ani on the phone, and they spoke for 15 minutes. The ob­ject­ive for both parties was to get an ad­vant­age without con­ced­ing something that is vi­tal to their own self-in­terest. Giv­en that former Ir­a­ni­an pres­id­ent Ah­mad­ine­jad or an­oth­er lead­er who would no longer hon­or any agree­ment could gain power, Amer­ic­an con­ces­sions  on pos­sible nuc­le­ar weapons could res­ult in these devices end­ing up in hands of Hamas, Hezbol­lah or Al Qaeda. An ar­range­ment that would make that im­possible is the only ra­tion­al basis for any agree­ment. Pres­id­ent Obama was elec­ted to look out for Amer­ic­an in­terests, and Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Net­an­yahu bears the same re­spons­ib­il­ity for his coun­try. Both the United States and Is­rael have com­mon in­terests, so they will co­ordin­ate of­fers re­gard­ing Ir­an.

The phrase, “The en­emy of my en­emy is my friend,” is a pro­verb that ad­vances the concept that be­cause two parties have a com­mon en­emy, they can work with each oth­er to ad­vance their own goals. Both Ir­an and the U.S. have en­emies. Ex­amples throughout his­tory are com­mon, such as Bri­tain and France unit­ing against Ger­many dur­ing World War I and the West­ern cap­it­al­ist demo­cra­cies aid­ing the com­mun­ist So­viet Uni­on fol­low­ing the Nazi in­va­sion dur­ing World War II. 

With this in mind, let the U.S. and Ir­an talk and see what can be worked out that would be ad­vant­age­ous to both sides.

Mel Flit­ter


Rais­ing chil­dren with cul­tur­al ties

People want to know who they are and where they come from. The use of gene­a­logy web­sites like An­ces­try.com and com­puter-as­sisted lan­guage learn­ing soft­ware like Rosetta Stone is on the rise as adults today search for in­form­a­tion about their fam­ily his­tor­ies. It costs money and it takes time, but people care enough to do it any­way; but how much easi­er could we make it for our chil­dren if we just teach them from the be­gin­ning?

As a child, speak­ing a second lan­guage and be­com­ing ac­cus­tomed to eth­nic tra­di­tions is nat­ur­al and easy, without the trouble of lan­guage courses and hours of re­search. But the truth is that chil­dren gen­er­ally don’t re­cog­nize the value in learn­ing a second lan­guage and in learn­ing about their fam­ily’s cul­tur­al back­ground; by the time they are old enough to ap­pre­ci­ate these things, it is much more dif­fi­cult for them to do so. Be­cause of this, it is up to the par­ents to de­cide wheth­er or not they want to raise their chil­dren with strong cul­tur­al ties and know­ledge of their fam­ily his­tory.  

For adults who don’t speak a second lan­guage already, it may not be feas­ible to raise a bi­lin­gual child, but there are oth­er things you can do. Learn how to cook an eth­nic dish or sit down with your grand­moth­er and listen to some old fam­ily stor­ies. Look up some cul­tur­al hol­i­days and start a new tra­di­tion to share with your chil­dren. 

Giv­ing chil­dren cul­tur­al ties is an in­valu­able gift that can help them to have a bet­ter ap­pre­ci­ation for who they are and where they come from. It may take some ef­fort and ded­ic­a­tion, but your chil­dren will thank you for it in the fu­ture.

Christina Duben­ko


Thanks for or­gan­iz­ing breast can­cer walk

I would like to ac­know­ledge the ded­ic­a­tion and per­sever­ance of a mem­ber of the North­east Phil­adelphia com­munity, Car­ol Ros­tuch­er, and the phe­nom­en­al com­mit­ment she has shown in fight­ing for a cause.

Car­ol is a breast can­cer sur­viv­or and a res­id­ent of Rhawn­hurst. On her own ini­ti­at­ive, Car­ol has put to­geth­er an event, Judy’s An­swer for Can­cer 2.5k Walk or Run, on Oct. 26, 2013, from 9 a.m. to noon. The walk be­gins in Pennypack Park at Rhawn Street and Hol­me­hurst. The pro­ceeds will be­ne­fit the Fox Chase Mam­mo­graphy Van. The cost is $25 for adults, $15 for chil­dren 14 years and young­er, and chil­dren un­der 5 years of age are free.

Or­gan­iz­ing the walk was a product of hard work and ded­ic­a­tion, as Car­ol has on her own ac­quired the ne­ces­sary per­mits, the sup­port of Fox Chase Can­cer Cen­ter and schedul­ing from Fair­mount Park. The time and at­ten­tion Car­ol has shown to make this event hap­pen is a les­son for all of us of the power of in­di­vidu­al de­vo­tion to a cause.

Fur­ther­more, I would like to ex­tend my per­son­al thanks to Car­ol for hon­or­ing my moth­er Judy Sabat­ina, who passed away on Sept. 10, 1998, after her own battle with breast can­cer. Car­ol’s ef­forts to raise funds for Fox Chase Can­cer Cen­ter’s Mam­mo­graphy Van will go a long way in en­sur­ing that breast can­cer is caught early and prop­erly treated for many of our loved ones.

For more in­form­a­tion, email judys­breast­can­cer­walk@ya­hoo.com. A copy of the fli­er and re­gis­tra­tion for Judy’s An­swer for Can­cer 2.5k Walk or Run can be found at my web­site, www.johnsabat­ina.com, un­der “Events” tab. 

For those of you without email ac­cess who would still like to be in­volved in the cause, call 215-742-8600.

I en­cour­age all of you to come out for a great cause and help us con­trib­ute to the an­swer for can­cer.

John P. Sabat­ina Jr.


Re­sponse to clos­ing schools for hol­i­days

I did not have an au­thor­it­at­ive ex­plan­a­tion for pub­lic school clos­ings on Jew­ish hol­i­days, any more than un­der­stand­ing how va­ca­tion ‘breaks’ man­age to al­low for Chris­ti­an ob­serv­ance. 

However, I am Jew­ish and could nev­er re­ceive a school at­tend­ance award 66 years ago be­cause I did not at­tend classes that I loved dur­ing our High Hol­i­days. Ex­cused, but pen­al­ized. Oh, and I sure did make up missed work.

I gladly would’ve at­ten­ded classes dur­ing Christ­mas or East­er, but schools were closed. Isn’t it con­veni­ent not to call these days ‘hol­i­days,’ but in­stead simply plan ‘breaks’ around them?

I don’t want to mis­in­ter­pret your com­plaint as mired in pre­ju­dice, but just as I sur­vived a pen­al­ized at­tend­ance re­cord — even though it hurt — I bet your son will also sur­vive school clos­ings that al­low an­oth­er re­li­gion time for im­port­ant re­flec­tion. He might ac­tu­ally en­joy re­spect­ing oth­ers, as do non-Chris­ti­ans throughout the winter and spring ‘breaks.’ Un­less of course, your son in­ad­vert­ently is in­cul­cated with an­ger or a dis­tor­ted un­der­stand­ing of how we all should pro­tect and re­spect the faith of our neigh­bor.

If it helps your feel­ings of un­fair­ness re­gard­ing the lack of clear sep­ar­a­tion of re­li­gious hol­i­days vs. na­tion­al hol­i­days though, may I sug­gest that you cam­paign to have all schools open for ALL re­li­gious hol­i­days (that way very few could achieve an at­tend­ance award) and cer­tainly I will sup­port you. Of course, we would sim­il­arly ad­just so-called ‘breaks.’

Ac­tu­ally if you re-read your com­plaint and this re­sponse, you either will un­der­stand that there are far great­er wor­ries fa­cing all our schools, or you will have strengthened your re­solve to re­sent our High Holy Days … and I hon­estly want to be­lieve the first pre­vails.

Nev­er­the­less, I com­mend you for air­ing your con­cerns, for the hon­est ex­change of dia­logue is the very es­sence of our demo­crat­ic sur­viv­al.

Lor­raine M. Wag­n­er


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