Education is key
Sir, – It is important for every pregnant woman and her family to know that many premature births can be prevented with appropriate treatment (“Mortality rate of very premature babies twice that in other Western countries,” November 19).
Education during pregnancy heightens the pregnant woman’s body awareness and in many cases – if she detects the changes that indicate premature onset of labor, and gets to the hospital in good time – the labor can be stopped or slowed down for sufficient time for the mother to be given a drug which will strengthen the baby’s lungs.
The optimal time to begin a childbirth education course is at 28-30 weeks. However, many childbirth education courses in the public sector (and even in some private programs) concentrate only on the birth process and the hospital environment without any focus on that last trimester of pregnancy or breastfeeding and post-natal issues.
These courses provide an ideal opportunity for women to understand the difference between totally normal body changes and those that require investigation. In my own work practice, I have seen many cases of women who have been treated for premature labor and continued their pregnancies to give birth to healthy full-term babies.
HaifaThe writer is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding counselor.Hours to wait
Sir, – Yara Dowani complains about the Kalandia checkpoint where she waits hours to cross (“How Kalandia makes us suffer,” Comment and Features, November 19). She goes on to say that “many of us view Ramallah and Jerusalem and other parts as the occupied lands of Palestine.” She also wonders why there is no intifada.
Well, Yara Dowani, you just answered your question as to the why of the long lines and checkpoints.
“The many of us” of your people would love to daily bring in explosives and suicide bombers into all parts of Israel. For Israel to survive there have to be checkpoints. Where there is more danger from terrorists, there are longer lines. A few years ago I drove to the Kalandia checkpoint and was told to leave as the soldiers put on bulletproof vests and helmets when they saw a large force of Arabs marching towards them with large boulders and rocks. As I drove away, they were attacking the soldiers.
Is it any wonder that you have hours to wait at Kalandia? Yes, in Spain, Switzerland, France and Geneva there are no checkpoints. Why? They are not in danger of daily attacks by Arab terrorists and suicide bombers.
You want no Kalandia checkpoint? Well live how “the many of your people” would live in any other country. No bombs, no suicide bombers, no intifadas and give up the idea that you will achieve turning Israel into Palestine.
No danger: no checkpoints.
Ma’aleh AdumimSecurity necessity
Sir, – The recent history of air travel has shown the absolute necessity of the security checks at Ben-Gurion Airport. The checks can be bothersome, and so security staff must, as a matter of policy, conduct the interviews with tact and sensitivity.
By the same token, passengers also have obligations – one of which is to answer questions which are posed to them. Susan Hattis-Rolef conveniently forgets this when “as a matter of policy she refuses to answer the questions” posed to her (“Airport security checks,” Think About It, November 18).
Nothing in the questions asked by the security staff was untoward and Ms. Rolef should have been firmly, but politely, told that failure to answer the questions would require her removal from the queue. In fact, the only fault I can find with the security officers, was their kindheartedness: Ms. Rolef was allowed to board the flight although she had adamantly refused to answer any of the security questions.
Mazkeret BatyaForever thankful
Sir, – I would just like to thank the nation and people of Israel for helping my country (Philippines) in assisting and organizing medical operations (“First baby born in IDF field hospital in Philippines, named Israel,” November 17).
You are one of the first responders to the disaster area. How could such a small nation surrounded by hostile neighbors help my country so many miles away? We are forever thankful and grateful for such help. God bless Israel! Thank you!
Los Angeles, CaliforniaOff the mark
Sir, – Michael Freund’s article, “Celebrating failure at the GA” (Fundamentally Freund, Comment and Features, November 14) is so far off the mark that it calls into question whether he even attended the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America. Freund’s central argument is that the GA ignored the findings of the recent Pew Study and that Federations are “celebrating” while ignoring the crisis that the Pew study presents.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In addition to a dedicated plenary discussion, as well as a major stand-alone session, one would have been hard pressed to find any of the 50 or so sessions, events and meetings at the GA that did not deal with the study’s findings in some way. Even before the formal conference began, in a special pre-GA, soldout session called “Shake Up the Shuk,” the GA brought scores of young people together to craft and share their own vision for the future.
The GA also confronted the issues of costs and the accessibility of Jewish life, and also dealt with greater accessibility for disabled members of our community. Further, in a separate and remarkable plenary session before the entire GA, one of the United States’ leading public opinion researchers, Mark Mellman, led five millenials in a dialogue responding to Pew about what it means to be young and Jewish today.
In short, it seems clear that Michael Freund was misinformed about what took place at the GA.
Federations unequivocally take the issues the Pew study raised as critical challenges facing North American Jewry today. Federations and many in the community agree that not enough has been done in the past to effectively address the wider trends Pew raised. However, Federations devote considerable financial and human resources to engaging more Jews and growing our community for the future, as the GA showed, not only as a response to Pew but because these efforts underscore the basic mission of the Federations.
The Pew study offered the most comprehensive data on the North American Jewish community in over a decade, and Federations are at the forefront of responding to these challenges with plans to ensure a strong, confident and inspired Jewish community in the decades to come.
Chattanooga, Tennessee The writers are co-chairs of Jewish Federations’ National Young Leadership.Giving thanks
Sir, – On the last Thursday of November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day. I recall vividly one Thanksgiving many years ago, when my late father-inlaw, Rabbi Leo Abelow, of blessed memory, a Polish immigrant, who studied hard to become a US citizen in the 1920s, began telling us “kinderlach”: “I must tell you why, as a religious Jew, we are here celebrating Thanksgiving Day, as we do every year.”
He continued and said: “You should always remember what a great landlord America has been to its Jewish citizens. American Jews have always been able to practice their Judaism openly and without fear of persecution.
We also have been able to support the State of Israel openly by buying Israeli Bonds, and other donations.”
Now that my husband and I have made aliya, we are happy to be living at home, instead of being tenants in a land of good landlords.