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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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