Thanks so much for the thoughtful write-up about “Jews and Baseball” in The Jewish Chronicle (“Hey ‘Jews and Baseball’ makers, you forgot Barney Dreyfuss,” March 31).
As it happens, we were very aware of Barney Dreyfuss and his important role in baseball, and a scene about him had been in the film until late in the editing process. In the end, we reluctantly took his story (and those of several other fascinating and important figures) out for the sake of length and the dramatic arc of the film.
We hope that our documentary prompts people to explore more deeply the relationship between Jews and America’s game, including the critical role played by Dreyfuss and other early Jewish owners. We are grateful to you for getting word out about the film, about Dreyfuss’ contributions, and about the connections between Jews and the great baseball city of Pittsburgh.
(The author is the director of “Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story.”)
Peace solution an urgent priority
Your March 31 issue contains two provocative opinion articles: the page 6 editorial about a hate-filled third intifada threat on Facebook — belatedly removed — (“The intifada won’t start here, says Facebook”), and the guest column on page 8, “Why Israel should support Arab democracy.”
The second article makes sense if we are alert to the present Middle East upheavals, which led to the nasty first one. Our Jewish organizations should recognize the new urgency of promoting an accelerated two-state solution.
Harold O. Levitt
The history and the present situation of the Jews in Ethiopia and in Israel would not be complete without the acknowledgement of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ).
This grassroots, nonprofit organization was founded in 1982, and its mission was and continues to be to help the Ethiopian Jews survive in Ethiopia, to assist them to reach Israel and to aid in their absorption there, and to preserve their unique and ancient culture. NACOEJ played a key role in the quiet rescue of Ethiopian Jews before and between Operations Moses and Solomon. In 1991, their staff in Addis Ababa assisted in the airlift of over 14,000 Jews during Operation Solomon, with NACOEJ staff flying out on the last plane.
In Ethiopia, their funds provide daily school lunches, adult education, employment, and religious programs and facilities for the 8,700 Jews awaiting aliya. In Israel, their programs include Limudiah: After-School programs of intensive education assistance for over 1,100 Ethiopian elementary school children; programs to sponsor over 1,300 teens attain quality high school education; college sponsorship for more than 300 Ethiopian-Israeli students to pursue university degrees. NACOEJ also operates a Bar-Bat Mitzvah Twinning Program and a school supplies collection program to provide basic essential learning materials.
All Jewish agencies and organizations contribute toward the mission of bringing Ethiopian Jews home to Israel.
Pittsburgh supports Leket
As chair of the Overseas Funding Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, I was pleased to read about Leket Israel in the March 24 edition of the Jewish Chronicle (“How Israel can feed more people without spending a shekel”).
The Overseas Funding Committee, using money raised from the Federation’s annual campaign, has directed significant funds to Leket Israel over the past three years. This past January, committee members visited the Leket warehouse during an annual program evaluation site visit in Israel.
Led by Joseph Gitler, the visionary who founded Table to Table in 2003 (which then merged with the National Food Bank in January 2010 to form the current Leket Israel), we heard firsthand about the ways the organization has been streamlined to collect and distribute food with optimal efficiency.
None of this work would be possible without the Pittsburgh community and, more specifically, the annual commitment from the Federation. It is precisely because of campaign dollars raised in Pittsburgh that Israel is coping with its “biggest threat” and reducing the number of people going hungry on a daily basis.
Laurie S. Moser