Congratulations to the members and leaders of Tree of Life and Or L’Simcha for their willingness to make the hard choices, which allowed these two congregations to merge.
A move such as this takes vision and daring, but it also requires patience, trust and a willingness to put ego and pride aside. Looking around the country we see more and more of these types of collaborations and mergers. I suspect they will be what allow the Jewish community, faced with significant demographic and economic challenges, to thrive as we move fully into the 21st century.
Though change is never easy, when we are able to look beyond our own self-interests and focus instead on our shared future, amazing things can happen. Kudos to the visionaries within our community! May the families of Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha know success long into the future!
Rabbi Aaron B. Bisno
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Inheritance tax, renamed
The “death tax,” or if you prefer, the inheritance tax, is a tax in Pennsylvania that most people don’t even know exists.
You can be a hard-working person, struggling diligently all your 1ife, saving every penny you can, so you can leave something for your kids, or other family members, if you exit this life suddenly.
However, not long after your funeral, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is there, rubbing its hands, gleefully expecting its share of what you’ve left, an unbelievable 4 1/2 percent to 15 percent of your estate.
There must be another way to fill that large gaping hole in the Harrisburg budget. It seems that the more people who die in Pennsylvania the better off financially the state is — and our elected representatives are perfectly satisfied with this sad state of affairs — or so it seems.
My brother passed away recently, and I am asking Harrisburg to rescind the inheritance tax, and instead let me send that money to the local food bank, where a destitute, hungry living person can get a meal or two for himself and his family. If state government would specify another viable charity, I would go that way, too.
In addition, I am asking everyone who reads this letter to contact their elected representatives in Harrisburg so that, once and for all, they get rid of the “death tax” in Pennsylvania.
Won’t you help?