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“Respect Difference”

Though it somehow managed to slip under my radar, it turns out that The Jewish Week ran a letter last week by the daughter of the JCC’s former executive director, Debby Hirsman, Elisheva, in response to the recent Greasy Latke ordeal.

I was both elated and saddened to hear that the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan was one of the recipients of the not-so-coveted “Greasy Latke” Awards. (“They’ll Be Watching You,” Dec. 26) The JCC’s gross miscalculation, if not also in ends, then certainly in means, should not go unrecognized.

However, I am saddened that awards such as these must exist. Why is it that we as a Jewish people cannot except and celebrate difference and channel our energies towards greater ends? Why must we, as Jews, be our own worst enemy?

Moreover, I am saddened that while I grew up in the Jewish community, as I prepare to graduate from college in June, I shy away from seeking employment in this community. While the other world might not be any better, it does not purport to have the values that many of the Jewish institutions do, at least the JCC once did.

It is my wish for the New Year that we can work as both individuals and a community to respect difference so that one day we can create a Jewish community free from internal criticism and one that we are proud to be a part of.

Elisheva M. Hirshman-Green
New York, NY

Word to that, sister.

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