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Jewish Identity in the South Bay

August 01, 1985

Several points about Jewish day-care in the article "Jewish Identity: Group Fears the Loss of Community, Hopes to Bring Families Back to Fold" that appeared July 14 in the South Bay section of The Times, cry out for clarification.

Vicki Burdman, a member of the South Bay Jewish community, is quoted (as saying), "Some Reform and Conservative Jews are uncomfortable leaving their children in an Orthodox day-care center where Orthodox principles such as strict observance of the Sabbath and stringent adherence to dietary laws are taught and practiced."

Ms. Burdman, who is referring in particular to the day-care center at Chabad of South Bay in Lomita, is full of misconceptions about our school. As teacher at Chabad for three years, I feel obligated to set her views straight.

Of 55 children enrolled in our state-licensed day-care facility, only a handful are from Orthodox families. The majority, who have Reform and Conservative backgrounds, hardly feel "uncomfortable" as Burdman charges.

We are not teaching Orthodox principles. Rather, we are reinforcing Jewish identity and teaching the children to function in two cultures. There is nothing "uncomfortable" in helping children find meaning and satisfaction in their Jewish heritage in conjunction with a well-rounded secular studies program sponsored by the National Pediatric Support Services.

I invite Ms. Burdman to come to Chabad and see our established, loving, healthy Jewish environment where both children and parents feel comfortable. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

EDNA WODNICKI

Redondo Beach

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