Richmond District Chabad deserves community’s support

Thank you for publicizing the financial plight of RTC Chabad (“Chabad house near Presidio in a fight for its life,” May 27).

   As members of the Bay Area Jewish community for over 20 years, my husband and I have supported synagogues and organizations through our dues, donations and direct service.

   Many of our most inspirational moments, individually and as a couple, have taken place at this Chabad because of the combined spiritual leadership provided by Rabbi Ahron and rebbetzin Sara Hecht. Rabbi Hecht’s scholarship and his ability to clearly articulate Torah-driven precepts to laypeople are exceptional. Rebbetzin Hecht’s warmth and grace are unparalleled. We admire the entire Hecht family because they talk the talk and they walk the walk unlike any other family that we have ever known. Growing up in a secular Jewish family, we now have a deep appreciation for Yiddishkeit and Chassidism that we learned from the Hechts.

   It’s important to note that the Hechts were too modest to publicize their financial problems themselves. Please take a class or attend an event at RTC Chabad while donating what you can afford to keep these haimish and righteous members of our community with us for many years to come.

Gayle & Allan Schwartz   |   San Francisco & Truckee

A healthy democracy allows for disagreement

I remain proud to have represented our Jewish community as a guest of the president at the White House celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month (“Berkeley rabbi ‘brimming with pride’ after White House event,” May 20).  It is incumbent upon us, as Americans and as Jews, to remember that patriotism and Zionism must never become limited by any administration’s policy. Some of us will always disagree with a policy, especially when it comes to making peace with our enemies.

   We are obligated to pray for the welfare of our government, and to engage in the democratic principle of free speech when we feel compelled. Concerned citizens must defend the right of their fellow citizens and Jews to disagree.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor   |   Berkeley

Congregation Netivot Shalom

Borders are the least of our problems

Your May 27 editorial (“Israel needs to do what is best for Israel, not dance to others’ tunes”) defends Netanyahu’s government stand by making a big deal out of the 1967 borders issue. In reality, it is a minor one at best: If there are to be two states, then a border will have to be defined. And this border will have to be related to where the Palestinian population is concentrated — and that is roughly within the 1967 borders!

   For many forward-looking Israelis, the refusal to discuss borders effectively amounts to refusing to accept an independent Palestinian state. Or granting freedom to the Palestinian population. The real issue is freedom, not borders.

   The Israeli journalist Uri Avnery captured this best earlier this year: “Israel has maintained for decades a regime of occupation. It continues to control and humiliate another people. Ideologically and practically, it lives in the mental world of the 19th century, while the rest of the world is starting to live in the 21st. Israeli policy is simply anachronistic.”

   Obama understands this quite clearly, as do many Israelis. You do not in your editorial.

Amos Nur   |   Stanford