Letters January 26, 2017

People may dislike Obama’s actions
There are many good reasons to dislike, even despise, former president Barack Obama. Over the course of his eight-year tenure in the Oval Office he has weakened America, betrayed our allies and polarized the nation. He willfully ignored the law in pursuit of a narrow political agenda, governing by executive order (“Woodmont not playing its ‘A’ game,” Editorial, Jan. 19)

So, why would any fair-minded persons conclude, when some members of a private club object to offering him a free membership, that their objections are motivated by racism? What’s the basis for that particular inference? In sum, many a decent and fair-minded person might simply dislike the man for his behavior and character.
PAUL LEBER
Potomac

Woodmont dispute divides community
The Woodmont Country Club members who object to the very idea of former president Barack Obama’s membership provide an excellent opportunity to further divide the Jewish community (“Dispute over Obama’s membership in largely Jewish country club heats up,” Jan. 19).

That the appropriateness of opening membership to him is a matter of controversy entices us, needlessly, to choose between America and Israel. Perhaps that is not a purposeful but an unintended consequence.

If so, we have been there before: Ralph Nader, James Comey.
JESSE ETELSON
Rockville

Praise for Chesed and Hummus founder
Kudos to Adam Gorod for co-founding Chesed and Hummus, an organization to help align the Jewish value of kindness to animals with our actions, in this case the act of choosing not eat them (“You Should Know … Adam Gorod,” Jan. 5). Eating meat, dairy and eggs inherently causes suffering and death even under the best conditions. Being vegan is also the easiest way to be kosher since you don’t have to worry about whether the food is meat or dairy.

Thank you to the Washington Jewish Week for talking about this important subject.
MINDY KURSBAN
Bethesda

Woodmont should be honored  to have president as member
Have the members of the Woodmont Country Club learned nothing (“Dispute over Obama’s membership in Jewish country club heats up, Jan. 19)? The only reason the Woodmont Country Club exists is because Jews were barred from membership in gentile clubs.

Reading what some of the members have expressed indicates to me that they have never been confronted with Auschwitz, or the Holocaust in general, never as children been barred from playgrounds, beaches, parks, movies, etc.

It is most shameful to deny membership to the Woodmont Country Club to the first African-American president; instead, it should be an honor to have him as a member.

Apparently some of the members not only forgot all the centuries of exclusion of our people, but they also forgot that under President Barack Obama, Israel received the largest military aid ever of any country, $38 billion, received the latest and most sophisticated airplanes in the world, the F-35, and received the necessary funds to complete the Iron Dome project a couple of years ago.

Apparently some Jews have a very short memory.

What a shameful episode!
JOHANNA NEUMANN
Silver Spring

Obama’s Jewish legacy
Here is the former president’s Jewish legacy (“So much for friendship,” Editorial, Jan. 5): releasing 1.7 billion (with a “B”) in small bills to Iran’s theocracy, the world’s greatest terror sponsor and killer of Jews (and Americans) across the globe; orchestrating a U.N. resolution to deny our sovereignty over our holy Temple and prayers at the Kotel; backing an Egyptian government which intended to rip up the peace agreement with Israel; and fueling radical Islam and the terror its reigns on Jews, Christians and Muslims across the world through withdrawal and weakness.

And then there’s the incredible damage he wreaked on traditional Torah values in the United States.

Thank God it’s over.
G. SCHIFF
Potomac

Recalling a man who helped found Woodmont
In 1981 when we arrived in Washington, a member of Adas Israel brought a message to me that Leo Freudberg wished to meet me. He was ailing and confined to his bedroom, and if I was all right with that we could meet in his room.

Freudberg had been hearing good things about me and was always interested in the future.

I found out that he had donated the large tract of land for Woodmont Country Club so that there was an outstanding club for people who mostly had been denied membership in area clubs which denied Jews membership.

Based on his generosity, I believe that he would recommend that the membership of Woodmont extend not only a generous lifetime membership but a sensational welcome to the president who has spoken at Adas Israel, signed into law an aid bill of $38 billion for Israel over the next 10 years, supported Israel and who embodies American ideals of brotherhood, justice and rodef shalom, the pursuit of peace. He is a man who has served his country.

If former president Barack Obama and his family accept, it would be a vindication of Leo Freudberg’s gift of the club to create a place of welcome, entertainment and recreation which Obama and his family have earned through dedicated public service,
I hope that the Obamas would accept such an offer.

I am not a member of Woodmont.
RABBI ARNOLD SALTZMAN
District of Columbia

Ashamed of Hier blessings for Trump inauguration
I too am very shocked at Rabbi Marvin Hier’s decision to take part in the inauguration blessing (“Hier will honor the presidency,” Editorial, Jan. 12).

Blessings bestowed to a man who has blatantly expressed xenophobic views, who has deprecated other religions, notably Islam, who has indulged in anti-Semitic stereotypes is, according to me, in total contradiction with Jewish values.

I am ashamed.
YVETTE CHALOM
Berkeley, Calif.

Disagreeing with Israel’s policies doesn’t equal anti-Semitism
As a Jewish woman probably old enough to be Barry Forman’s mother, I grew up in an era when Jews could not join country clubs, stay at nice hotels, or expect to be accepted at ‘good’ universities.

Do not tell me that what the membership of the Woodmont club is doing isn’t racism (“Dispute over Obama’s membership in largely Jewish country club heats up,” Jan. 19). Unless the club’s membership is limited to a very narrow political spectrum of Jews, I would bet that some of its present members aren’t all that happy with Israel’s current policies — which does not make them anti-Semitic.

As a Jew who is strongly committed to the values that brought my grandparents to America, I am outraged by the current Israeli government’s attitudes toward the settlements, toward women, toward the power of the super-religious. That doesn’t make me anti-Israeli; it makes me stand in opposition to some of the government’s policies.

In light of that, should I want to become a member of the club, would someone blackball me because they don’t like my positions on current Israeli policy?

I realize that former president Barack Obama’s policies carry more weight than my opinions — but I think he was absolutely right in finally saying that the United States, while supporting Israel, does not have to sycophantically approve an evil that is being proposed by the current government there.

Being a good Jew doesn’t mean supporting any and all policies in Israel any more than being a good American means supporting any and all policies in the United States.

Being a good Jew speaks to human values; and you think a Nobel Peace Prize winner isn’t good enough for you?

For shame.
SUSAN BERLIN
Lanark, Ontario, Canada

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