I am the Director of the HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) Israel office and am intimately involved in the evolution of the asylum system in Israel. The system is lacking and Israeli leadership has been less than receptive to the phenomenon of receiving non-Jewish refugees.
However, there are too many errors in Jay Bushinsky’s Jan. 20 column, “Israel’s treatment of African immigrants gives cold shoulder,” to bother commenting on each of them.
The figure of 40,000 Africans having entered Israel through Egypt is off by at least 25 percent; the reception center in the south is being built for 6,000 to 8,000 people, not 25,000; and the Israeli secret police scooping up 170 people and
sending them off through Kenya seems to be a distortion of the assisted voluntary return flight of 143 Sudanese in Dec. 2010 and helping them return home.
I suggest you publish an apology and retraction and do better research in the future.
Yosef Joel Moss
Rooting for our team: Super Bowl Sunday and the Jews
As I was changing planes in Charlotte last week, heading back to Pittsburgh, I noticed the woman in front of me in the boarding line. She was decked out in a Steelers sweatshirt and cap. When I mumbled to myself, “Here we go,” she launched full throat into “Here we go Steelers, here we go.” The US Airways stewardess checking our boarding passes smiled broadly and said, “There are a lot of Steelers fans working here in Charlotte now.”
That brought to mind an article I had read pointing out that Steelers fans all over the country, proud of who they are and where they are from, are looking for Iron City beer. I thought to myself, “If you are born in Pittsburgh, you are a Steelers fan no matter where you relocate to.” Recent news photos shows babies born in a local hospital swaddled in terrible towels. A father is quoted as saying of his newborn, “… she can’t choose what team she likes.”
We Jews can learn something from this. The Jewish people are our team. We are born into the Jews. No matter where we go, they are still our team. Sometimes parents say, “I am not going to raise my child in a religion, he can make that decision when he gets older.” We can learn from the parents and babies in that hospital: you are on this team, the Jewish “team” from birth. Be proud of it!
Just as we see all the buses in town proudly displaying on the front “Go Steelers!” we should be openly proud of our team and root for them. A friend once told me, “We all have to wear our Steelers shirts so the team can win.” When we Jews are proud to “wear our team colors,” when we are not afraid to say what side we are on, when we stand together and support each other, the rest of the world will respect us and we will respect ourselves. Every Jew’s connection with the Jewish people strengthens “our team.”
Go black and gold! Go blue and white!
Simone (Sheindel) Shapiro