Retirement HomesEva Miller's philosophizing about old age...


March 22, 1994

Retirement Homes

Eva Miller's philosophizing about old age (The Sun, March 6) is relevant, perceptive and encouraging, but her fears about retirement communities are unfounded.

We come to these establishments for a variety of reasons, the most cogent being realistic appraisal of the prospect of being unable to take adequate care of ourselves in our final years, unwillingness to burden our offspring with worries about us, development of congenial friends of similar age and views, elimination of housekeeping and groundskeeping chores in favor of more relaxed and enjoyable activities, availability of healthful meals and ready health-care, and security of person and possessions.

At the same time, we are able to preserve a lifestyle as independent as each is capable of. There are life-care retirement communities available at most every financial level.

Actually, we worry about our less practical friends who are afraid to plan for their futures, in the belief that they can fend for themselves indefinitely.

Richard F. Ober


The writer is president, Blakehurst Residents' Association.

No Chosen People

An article in The Sun March 12 on the sale of Afro-centric literature in Baltimore cites the view of many Afro-centrists that blacks were the real chosen people of the Old Testament -- and that modern-day Jews have usurped their history.

Many Jews in the Reconstructionist movement of Judaism (founded in the U.S. by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan in the 1930s), do not believe that the Jews are God's "chosen people."

Rather, we see ourselves as a people with a unique history and a special purpose in the world, who are not chosen from or placed "above" other peoples.

The Reconstructionist movement has reflected this concept by rewording a number of major Jewish prayers to eliminate the Hebrew and English words that mean or imply "chosenness," and to emphasize instead the idea that Jews exist "along with" all others, not above them. As in all things Reconstructionist, the key is inclusiveness -- not exclusiveness.

Personally, I think it is more important and far less destructive for each of us to think about choosing a relationship with God, rather than argue about whom (if anyone) God has chosen.

This provides a much better vantage point from which all of us can work together toward healing the world, which -- God knows -- we must desperately do.

Ilene R. London


In Another's Home

Last month, Israeli television showed scenes of settlers firing on Palestinian residents of Hebron while the soldiers stood by, or even cooperated.

After that, Dr. Baruch Goldstein slaughtered Muslim worshipers as they prayed, and the Israeli army fired on them as they fled.

There are many responses to this massacre. Some have already rejoiced, many will deplore it and feel ashamed and perhaps angry, the U.N. will issue another (its 67th) reprimand of Israel, and the American press will do "damage control."

But I am thinking of Gandhi's response when government officials told him that the Amritsar massacre was "not government policy."

He said, "Despite the best intentions of the best of you, you must in the very nature of things oppress us to control us. It is time you recognized that you are masters in someone else's home."

The simple fact is this: It is Israeli government policy to rule over a people who want self-determination.

The international community, including the U.S., has declared the Israeli occupation and the settlements illegal; they are masters in someone else's home.

To enforce such an illegal and immoral occupation has, in the very nature of things, required terror and massive human rights violations. This massacre then, is not an aberration; it is an extreme case in point.

A few years ago, Israeli journalist Ari Shavit wrote in Ma'ariv, "It is not a matter of territories in exchange for peace. It is a matter of territories in exchange for our humanity." Of all the responses to the massacre, only one is truly moral: end the occupation.

G. Simon Harak


Wigging Wigler

I am really getting irritated with classical music reviews that begin with Steven Wigler comparing the performance in question to coming down with the flu ("Ligeia," Feb. 21), recalling lame high school half-time shows (American Brass Quintet, March 8), or wishing he had instead gone to see "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective" ("Madam Butterfly," March 7).

Although some of these reviews were actually favorable, I do not find this "creative" style to be amusing, enlightening or relevant. If he is attempting to be arch and witty in the style of Stephen Hunter, he fails miserably.

Critics are hopefully critical but fair. Lately, Wigler has been petty and crabby, except when drooling over some prodigal pianist or violinist whose press agents have done their jobs well.

He recently opened an article by taking pot shots at famous conductors, marveling that people of such deficient skills were entrusted with such important responsibilities. I hope Wigler has his glass house well insured.

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