February 2009

Top Stories
• Financial Crisis
• Tribes of Rivals
• Budget Process
• ME Roadmap
• Rotten in Gaza
• Spare the Rod
• Letters to the Editor

• Gaza War Hits US
• Trip to Israel
• Soldier and Cinderella

In Their Own Words
• Jane Eisner
• Sen. George Mitchell
• The Inauguration

• Unwavering
• My Name is Asher Lev

Raising A Mensch
• Madoff Lessons

Living Judaism
• Herman Rosenblat
• Jewish Girl in Syria

Teen Voice
• Vegetarian

The Kosher Table
• Great Kosher Products

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News and Opinion

Letters to the Editor

Advocating for Universal Healthcare

While I consider the universal insurance coverage of the Baucus Plan a stopgap measure for a single-payer government administered health service, the immediate need to reform the healthcare delivery system overrides my reluctance. May I remind our readers to watch carefully the vote of Senator Arlen Specter, whose moderation has been draining like an air conditioner with a bad condenser leak. Senator Specter will be up for re-election in 2010, and should not once again be re-elected because of his seniority in the Senate, because of his ancient Watergate vote, or because of another election year conversion to environmental quality. When chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Specter and his colleagues approved Bush nominees whom Specter would not have entertained in his woodshed -- the very kind of ideologues whom Specter denounced in December of 2004, but (threatened by removal from the chairmanship) which he was forced to recant like Henry IV and Gallileo before the Republican Inquisition.

-- Ben Burrows, Elkins Park, PA

Seeking 1970-1974 BBYO Members

We are a small group trying to find those friends that were part of Philadelphia BBYO Greater Philadelphia region from 1970 to 1974. We are beginning to put together a reunion. If you were a member or know someone that was please have them contact either our website or email investdr@aol.com.

-- Michael Schwartz, Holland, PA

Put Money Into Jobs

The incoming administration and congress are developing an economic stimulus plan of about $800 billion, which is supposed to create approximately three million jobs. The jobs will evolve from projects designed to rebuild and replace our roadways, bridges, dams, and possibly runways. Schools will be upgraded. There could be substantial funding of energy projects, which will hopefully reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

We need quick turnaround projects ready to be implemented within 90 days of funding.

Unfortunately, about $300 billion of the $800 billion economic plan will go to tax cuts for individuals ($200 billion) and businesses ($100 billion), and not create jobs. The tax rebates parceled out in the spring of 2008 did not stimulate the economy because $66 billion of the $78 billion in rebates went into savings accounts or used to pay down debts. Businesses might use the tax cuts to pay down debt and buy back stock.

The incoming administration should not put the $300 billion into tax cuts, but should use the entire $800 billion to create good paying U.S. jobs, while improving our infrastructure, upgrading school resources, promoting alternative energy programs, increasing domestic oil production and reducing the importation of foreign oil.

-- Donald A. Moskowitz, Londonderry, NH

Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would restore middle class

The Jewish tradition teaches us that dignity in the workplace elevates the human spirit. Over the past several decades, workers’ rights have steadily eroded and economic inequality has deepened. We believe the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would help reestablish a sense of balance in our economic system and restore our middle class.

One of most prevalent misconceptions of EFCA is that it would abolish the secret ballot. This is not true. Under the proposed legislation, workers get to choose the union formation process – secret ballot elections or majority sign up. What EFCA does prevent is an employer manipulating the flawed system to influence the election outcome.

Imagine a political election in which Candidate A has total and exclusive access to the voters for 8 hours a day, can require voters to attend meetings at which he tells the voters all the reasons why voting for Candidate B would be bad for them and their community. Meanwhile, Candidate B has little or no information about who the voters are, only has access to them at the beginning or end of their work day, and has no systematic means for rebutting Candidate A’s claims.

Imagine further that Candidate A was found to have violated the law by intimidating voters or firing those who expressed support for Candidate B and that the penalty for violating the law consisted merely of a public apology.

This scenario mirrors the current NLRB election process.

EFCA would restore workplace democracy and fairness. It is a way of balancing the scales of justice and of giving workers rights that most of us would take for granted.

As the Jewish community continues to champion poverty reduction, EFCA provides a real path to economic security so many workers are currently denied.

-- Rabbi Elliot Holin, Congregation Kol Ami
-- Rabbi Robert Layman, Interim director, Board of Rabbis
-- Rabbi Morchechai Liebling, Jewish Funds for Justice
-- Rabbi Marc Margolius
-- Rabbi Linda Holtzman, Mishkan Shalom
-- Jeff Hornstein, President, Phila Jewish Labor Committee

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice welcomes the submission of articles and letters to the editor letters @ pjvoice.com. Please include name, address and phone number for identification purposes. We cannot publish every submission we receive. We also reserve the right to edit submissions for length, clarity, grammar, accuracy, and style, though we will never intentionally distort the author's intent.

Acting Editor-in-chief Daniel Loeb publisher @ pjvoice.com.

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