(photo credit: )
You don't have...
Sir, - Re Saul Singer's description in "Everyone needs a challenge" (November 9) of his experiences on the Alyn Bikeride Challenge route: As coordinator of volunteers for the Alyn Hospital Wheels of Love Bikeride, I congratulate him and the other 600 riders who participated in that mentally and physically stimulating accomplishment. His lesson to us all concerning our personal and communal well-being fit in very well with the many lessons of his weekly columns.
However, not all of us are capable of such physical performance, myself included, despite all efforts. Yet, again like myself, we wish to take part in this great humanitarian venture to continue the work Alyn Hospital does for our less fortunate children.
I therefore wish to open the opportunity to all readers in future Alyn Rides, such as the one planned for November 2008, to participate with us as members of the Volunteer Support Staff. We supply food and snacks during the ride, direct bike traffic and help with lodging facilities. But most of all we are a source of constant enthusiasm and encouragement.
Readers who wish to know more about our role in this exciting venture can go to our Web site (www.alynride.org) and click on Volunteers.
to ride a bike...
Sir, - Saul Singer is so right, and we should thank him for making us think about our bodies and our health, and about giving something back to society. Cycling is not just a sport; it's a way of life and a pollution-free way to get about. The increase of bike paths and the new helmet law are all encouraging signs to make it also a safe pastime. By telling us about Raz, Mr. Singer justified the effort he made to raise money for Alyn.
Readers should know that Raz, who is confined to a wheelchair and on an oxygen machine, is a gifted young man who was bar mitzva this year. At the age of 11 he organized, together with Metuna, a school road safety project called Kol Hayeladim. He is the figurehead of our young people's campaign for road safety. (Metuna has produced a video about Raz. For more details, call Metuna at (09) 884-4667.)
Raz believes we must make the roads safe for children on their bikes and in cars. He wants to save others the suffering he and his family have endured through a road crash.
As Singer put it so succinctly, we are responsible for ourselves and each other. It's worth the effort.
ORNA KLEIN, Director
Chaim b'derech Metuna
We aren't 'education mechanics'
Sir, - After reading Amotz Asa-El's two articles on education I understand his legitimate position ("Who's afraid of education reform?" November 9). But I do not understand why you didn't print any of our letters of response.
As a democratic person I accept the fact that Asa-El has the right to mock the teachers' protest; to ridicule our distress at having one of the lowest salaries in the OECD and some of the biggest classes. It is his right to ignore the fact that Limor Livnat tried to force the Dovrat reform upon us without hearing our opinion. He may even ignore the number of members of the Dovrat committee who left it and criticized it.
Asa-El sees us teachers not as skilled professionals whose voice as a group should be heard, but as "mechanics of education" who could and should be represented by principals and not by their own, and who should be bossed around by arrogant ministers.
It is also his right to see the education crisis as a "managerial crisis" that justifies managerial solutions. But is it really? Asa-El, Dovrat and right-wing economists may see the business management model as a miracle solution to all of humanity's ills. I and many of my friends do not.
Sir, - Kudos on an excellent article. A large number of people prefer airy-fairy conventional wisdom to incontrovertible facts. But when these facts are as well-chosen to preempt criticism as Amos Aza-El's were, and when the case is built in such a logical and methodological manner, the BS doesn't stand a chance.
There are not always two sides to every debate. In some cases, one side is simply wrong - either purposefully, or out of ignorance. Either way, wrong is still wrong, and the damage inflicted here has been tremendous.
Department of Public Policy
Tel Aviv University
Sir, - Re Amotz Asa-El's "Don't pity the teachers (November 2): What a pity Mr. Asa-El is another of those who disrespect teachers and their work. What a pity Dovrat's economic standards should be his criteria. Teachers invest an incredible amount of energy in every frontal lesson, and then adapt it to their pupils' needs. They cope with their pupils' inner turmoil, with their crises, with learning disabilities and the desperate need for attention, together with the child's growing thirst for guidance, comfort and encouragement.
Teachers, as professionals, can be compared to lawyers, who present their case in court after hours of preparation. They stand by their "clients" and often succeed in helping pupils discover the talents that will help them design their path in life.
What a pity Mr. Asa-El was unable to understand those "beggars" and why they stay in such a stressful and underpaid job, with almost no respect and venom spilled during every social conversation - not to mention in the newspaper.
GRATZIA GOLAN AND PAMELA HALPERIN
Gilo Comprehensive High School
Sir, - Bravo No. 1 goes to David Forman for reminding us that for every half-empty cup there is a half-full one, in this case a ferment of bubbling activity. It is bound to show positive results for the future of the Jewish people and deserves every reinforcement. Not only in the US but also in Australia and South Africa there are vibrant Jewish communities strongly supportive of Israel ("Don't bury American Jewry," UpFront, November 9).
Bravo No. 2 goes to Amotz Asa-El for his succinct statement of the content of the Dovrat Report in a form comprehensible to all ("Who's afraid of education reform?" Upfront, same date). His level-headed analyses of various subjects in previous issues of your paper induce not only a sense that his views are worth attention, but also a trust in his analyses.
Bravo No. 3 goes to Calev Ben-David, who so ably demonstrated the multifunctional capability that allows one to write an elegant article with one's tongue firmly lodged in one's cheek ("The Norman invasion," UpFront, same date).
Sweeter side of Israel
Sir, - Aliza Siekierski is only the newest of dozens of boutique chocolate makers in Israel - a few of whom have previously been spotlighted in your publication - and I wish her all the best ("The chocolate lab," November 9).
In order to acquaint people with some of the many hidden chocolatiers around the country, I and a friend have organized the first ever Chocolate (and Charity!) Tour of Israel, called Chocolate at Heart, to take place this coming February. It's time visitors, and locals, got to know the sweeter side of Israel and discovered a few of the many chocolate makers whose export-quality and delicious chocolates must be seen (and tasted) to be believed.
Besides learning about the wonders of chocolate and other gourmet treats around the country, tour members will also participate in several charity projects to do their small part in making this wonderful country an even better place.
For more information visit www.modiintours/chocolate or contact me at email@example.com
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