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July 20, 2007

Group’s Finances Clear

A July 13 article fails to mention that all financial information about the Claims Conference is on the organization’s Web site (“Accounting Shift at Claims Conference”). In addition, the Claims Conference Web site lists every single allocation made by the organization, a level of transparency few Jewish organizations can match.

The change in the Claims Conference’s 2006 audit has been recommended by its independent auditors, Ernst & Young, the same firm that has audited the Claims Conference in the past and had recommended the previous manner in which unsold property values were documented.

The financial statements resulting from past audits have always been publicly available, and have always listed all Claims Conference assets. This is truly a technical accounting issue, one that will be well documented — as all other Claims Conference financial matters have always been.

Julius Berman
Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
New York, N.Y.

On Judeo-English

Philologos’s column on whether there is such a thing as an Jewish-English language gave me some new ideas on the subject (“Judeo-English, Part III,” July 6). During the great immigration of Eastern European Jews there were synagogues and associations that kept their minutes in a Judaized English written in Hebrew letters. The old Hebrew Publishing Company had their name in English spelled out in Hebrew letters on their logo. Because literacy in English became all but universal among Jews at that time, this new Jewish language never took root. There was no need for it.

What interests me now is that among those Jews who reject the modern world and secular society, such a language is in use. These groups believe that Jewishness can only survive in America in isolation from American society.

I think they are wrong. Jewish life flourishes in this country to an extent that suggests we are in an historic golden age. It is sad to see Jewish communities who deny themselves the growing spirituality and scholarship of the wider Jewish world. That they have created their own Jewish language is proof of their isolation from and contempt for the rest of us.

Rabbi Philip Bentley
Hendersonville, N.C.

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