Ethiopian JewsEditor: I commend you for your recent...


June 09, 1991

Ethiopian Jews

Editor: I commend you for your recent coverage of the selfless efforts of the government and people of Israel to rescue, welcome and acclimate the thousands of Ethiopian Jews who had to flee their native county.

In particular, your editorial of May 28 cogently recognized the difficult yet crucial mission faced by the state of Israel since its inception.

ron U. Raskas.


Other Side

Editor: The View From Wall Street article by Thomas Easton on June 3 regarding Woodward & Lothrop is a disappointing example of the author's pre-determined views and a disregard for the other side of the story.

If Mr. Easton had chosen the balanced view, here are some of the facts he could have highlighted since they were offered to him:

* In one of the most difficult years for retailing in the Northeast, Woodies/Wanamaker's store-for-store sales performance was comparable to or better than many of its major competitors.

* Its gross margin percentage was maintained at previous-year levels.

* Its selling, general and administrative expenses were $18 million under the previous year.

* Its interest expense was $13 million less than the previous year.

* It spent $54 million in capital in a continuing $200 million multi-year program to improve selling facilities and systems.

* It opened two new concept free-standing home furnishing stores in 1990 and will be opening a new full-line Wanamaker store in Wilmington.

* Its major investment strategies to remodel existing stores fully anticipated business interruption and potential impact on its financial results over the short term. More important is its confidence in the long-term success of its finances.

* It recently (in May) augmented its senior management team by the appointment of Robert Mang (formerly of Bon Marche, Seattle) as president.

* It is the better-quality, full-line ''hometown'' store in the greater Washington and Philadelphia market places with over 100 years of delivering goods and services to customers that it knows well.

So as Mark Twain might have said to Mr. Easton: The report of Woodies' and Wanamaker's death is an exaggeration.

Certainly the 11,000 dedicated and hard-working employees of these two great companies (as well as thousands of our local customers) would dispute Mr. Easton's observations.

Robert J. Mulligan.

Alexandria, Va.

The writer is a vice president of Woodward & Lothrop John Wanamaker.


Editor: Ray Jenkins (''Pope Scoop,'' May 19) does a serious injustice to Richard John Neuhaus -- and to Pope John Paul II, whose new encyclical, Centesimus Annus, Mr. Jenkins purports to defend.

It is ludicrous to suggest that Neuhaus is ''one of a small band of conservative theologians who seem ever ready to give absolution to anything done in the name of 'the market economy.' ''

Mr. Neuhaus' Wall Street Journal piece on the encyclical in fact emphasized the pope's challenge to libertarians and celebrated the encyclical's call for a ''new capitalism'' more attentive to the life of the spirit.

I would be happy to send Mr. Jenkins pieces from the New York Times, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times which suggest that Mr. Neuhaus is far closer to the truth of the encyclical than he is.

But then it is not even clear from his essay that Mr. Jenkins ha read Centesimus Annus. Mr. Jenkins, who tells us that he has ''followed the writings of John Paul II on these issues for quite a few years,'' then allows as how, on that basis, he could ''tell from reading [Neuhaus'] article . . . that the Neuhaus interpretation was highly selective.'' Oh, really? How interesting.

Perhaps Mr. Jenkins could read the encyclical itself, and then tell us some more about interpretations.

George Weigel.


The writer is president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Religious Resources

Editor: Thank you for publishing the Peirce report, "Looking at the Future, Baltimore and Beyond," May 5.

Neal Peirce and his colleagues have helped us understand better the challenges and possible next steps in the future of this community.

I suggest supplementing what they have written with a fuller vision embracing also the contributions our religious community makes to the metropolitan region. Here I think first of churches, synagogues and other places of worship as centers of moral renewal and, often, beneficial neighborhood activities.

A fuller vision would underscore as well how our Catholic schools are helping little ones, especially from minorities, prepare to be well-educated useful citizens at a tremendous annual savings to the taxpayer.

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