Talk about a “Snow Job”: Peter Berkowitz’s mean-spirited review of Jewish Christmas records (LEO Weekly, Dec. 5) reveals a superficial understanding of religion, American popular culture, commerce and, most of all, music. Christmas, as it is observed today, compels people to spend money they don’t have to give people they don’t like things they don’t need. It is the feeble, totally secularized, two-cylinder engine that drives our economy. In this context, the argument that Jews should refrain from cashing in on this bonanza is, dare I say, unchristian. Remember, it was Irving Berlin who wrote “White Christmas.” As far as “Bob Freaking Dylan” is concerned, I suggest that Berkowitz listen to “Oh Mercy” and “Slow Train Coming” to familiarize himself with Zimmerman’s born-again Christian phase. It might help him take a baby step toward legitimizing his self-referenced role as a “music critic.” But maybe I’m the wrong person to ask.
Vincent J. Callahan, Highlands
Laughing All the Way
Lots of the criticism for our weak effort in schools is rightly directed at parents. I often wonder if the best educational program for a high school would be to have students in class four days a week and their parents on the fifth.
Yes, I’m an old retired teacher who often laughs at himself.
Bob Moore, East End
The Road to Peace
Peace is a concept that is too many times overlooked. War is a concept that is glorified in today’s society. Now why is it that something that causes such mayhem and destruction is always held in higher regards than something that is productive and helpful? Media definitely plays a big role in this, but I am looking toward schools. Never while I was in school did I get lessons of more than a couple days of Martin Luther King and Gandhi. Peace is hardly emphasized at all in school systems.
Peace takes a huge backseat to the teachings of war. The periods of my history classes were always separated by war, and there are many classes devoted to studying only the wars. There has only been one class I have come across where its sole purpose was to learn about peace, the efforts toward it, and the wide variety of people and organizations that support it.
Peace should be a much bigger focal point in all school systems. There are far too few people who actually know the concept of peace. Most people would tell you that peace means there is no war, when in reality, true peace is much more than that. This is what needs to be changed. Knowledge is our greatest asset.
Trevor Fields, Lexington
Cuts That Kill
This January, core government functions such as scientific research, education, public safety and environmental protection will face deep cuts under budget sequestration. If lawmakers cannot put politics aside to avoid continued cuts to these programs, our nation’s security, global competitiveness and economic growth will be compromised. Teachers will be taken out of classrooms, cutting-edge research will be stifled, and conservation of America’s natural resources will be diminished.
Experts agree these essential jobs and services are not the drivers of our nation’s debt, and these federal programs have already done more than their part to reduce the deficit — cut to levels not seen since the Eisenhower presidency. I urge the president and members of Congress to work together to find a balanced approach to address the deficit and to prevent further cuts to science.
Brad Gottshall, Clifton