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Welcome to Chelm
Sir, - Isn't it curious that in countries where teachers are highly respected and well paid (Japan, Korea), the scholastic achievements of their students are very high ("Israel's ranking drops in int'l exam testing," December 5)? Here, where teachers are neither respected nor paid a living wage, the same scholastic achievements are very low. You don't have to be a genius to work that one out.
Here in the land of Chelm, after three years full-time study, a teacher's first salary is NIS 2,800. I was a high school teacher for 25 years (ORT Greenberg, Kiryat Tivon). My monthly pension is NIS 2,500.
Would you encourage your children to become teachers?
Sir, - Why has no one thought of binding arbitration as a means to end the teachers strike ("Teachers to court: State acting in 'bad faith,'" December 5)? The right to strike (and in this case for all the right reasons) cannot and should not be abridged even by court order unless all means to end it have been exhausted. Apparently not in this case. Binding arbitration means its incumbent on all sides to find an acceptable way to end the impasse. Past experience has shown that the courts and government makes promises and consistently breaks them.
Worse yet is the general apathy among certain segments of the population with regards to respect for the teaching profession.
We are slipping in our academic standing worldwide - we ranked 40 out of 57 in international testing. There was a time when we ranked far higher and a bagrut meant something. We will suffer from illiterate, poorly educated young people who are supposed to be our future leaders The government must and should give back hours and build more classrooms along with raising salaries and showing its respect for the system which at this point it seems to scorn.
Sir, - I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry when I read of the environmentalist grinch trying to steal our Hanukka candles ("'Green Hanukkia' campaign sparks controversy," December 4).
If the Green Hanukkia campaigners really wanted to cut emissions, they should be encouraging all Israelis (and Jews) to observe Shabbat. One day of every week, religious Israelis do not use their vehicles, do not fly on aircraft, do not cook or turn on electricity - surely that is a much great contribution to the environment than not lighting a tiny oil wick for one night of Hanukka.
Sir, - If Jewish Greens want to feel good about reducing carbon dioxide emissions, even infinitesimally, let them light smaller candles.
Sir, - I would like to propose to Green Hanukkia that they start a worldwide campaign for everyone to reduce their breathing rates. Wow! Would that lower the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere!
It's the adults
Sir, - Roy Runds ("Drive death down," Letters, December 3) shows the danger of too few firing synapses. People older than 25 are regularly killing others on our highways, but one 17 year old does it and suddenly all laws must change? Roy's the type who'd claim that 18-year-old kids can fight and die for the country but can't have the rights of an adult. It's a culture fomented by adults that makes our roads so dangerous, and idiotic suggestions won't help solve it.
In defense of Shmuley
Sir, - I very much take issue with the single pejorative comment to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's essay "The virtue of imperfection" ("Making saints of sinners," Letters, (December 4). I was so positively impressed by it that I saved it.
Real life is, in fact, hard. One does not have to read how the rabbis describe the battle between the yetzer hatov (the tendency to do good) and the yetzer hara (the tendency to do evil) as persisting to the last breath. In the engaged life, each day forces sometimes numerous challenges, and humans that we are, we often fail.
Rabbi Boteach expressed that and commendably personalized it to present the reader with an experienced analysis. I did not read that he even implied that his philosophy absolved anyone from responsibility or consequence. I'm sorry that the responder felt he had to construe that.
PESACH GOODLEY M.D.
Sir, - It was good to see Prof. Samuel Freedman glowingly endorse the Conservative Movement's initiative to ensure the halachically mandated ethical treatment of workers in the kosher slaughter industry ("'Hechsher tzedek,'" UpFront, November 30).
Freedman fails to mention that part of the focus of the hechsher tzedek is the welfare of the animals. Ironically, Freedman writes, "The hechsher tzedek puts the treatment of human beings on par with the treatment of an animal"; it is precisely the unnecessarily cruel mistreatment of animals during the kosher slaughter process that raised the awareness of the Conservative leadership to the additional problems of worker abuse in the kosher meat industry. Halachic violations, whether they be toward human workforce, fraudulent marketing or egregious abuse of animals, is the tikkun work of hechsher tzedek - a tikkun that transcends movements and denominations.
RABBI ADAM FRANK
Congregation Moreshet Yisrael
Sir, - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, in the Health Scan section (December 2), wrote about the Hadassah Optimal Hidhud clinic. I would like to inform readers that there is another clinic in Jerusalem that provides comprehensive assessment, evaluation, diagnostic and treatment services for ADHD for a reasonable fee: The Machon Etgar clinic, affiliated with Herzog Hospital.
Machon Etgar offers both a traditional-medical-psychological and an integrative-holistic approach (see www.drraf.com/ adhd-add.htm) for children, adolescents and adults with ADHD. Staffed by psychologists and a psychiatrist, sessions are available in English, French and Hebrew. In addition to a thorough four-session ADHD assessment (which includes a T.O.V.A. test of attention), treatments include parent consulting, medication therapy, child therapy, family therapy, information and workshops on diet and natural therapies and biofeedback therapy.
Machon Etgar aims to provide an evidence-based integrative approach for the greater Jerusalem area at rates that are affordable. The clinic serves secular and religious families. For more information about Machon Etgar ADHD clinic, call (02) 652-2223.
RAFAEL RICHMAN PH.D.
Psychologist, Machon Etgar
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