Religious Importance of Circumcision Overlooked

For religiously observant Jews and Muslims, circumcision of males is not “The Unkindest Cut” (Bulletin, Fall 2002), but rather a benevolent slice. I would not waste time criticizing the “Profile” of J. Steven Svoboda ’91 but for his stated view that “ideally circumcision should be outlawed.” Such thoughts would make Thomas Jefferson, as well as Moses and Mohammed, turn over in their graves. While, to Mr. Svoboda, circumcision may be “never necessary . . . not endorsed by any national medical association” and a cultural artifact, it is a religious imperative in Judaism and Islam with 5,000 years of stubborn obedience and billions of adherents behind it. Proposing to outlaw it would make the Third Reich smile and is as disingenuous as proposing to outlaw baptism on the ground that there is no medical need for it and people may drown.

Protests Unbecoming a Gubernatorial Candidate

I was most impressed by the article about Jennifer Granholm ’87 in your Fall 2002 edition. She is a remarkable candidate indeed.

However, if she was one of the “rabble-rousers” who attempted to ruin the Harvard 350th anniversary celebration in 1986, I think she should be ashamed. During the observance, the zealots protesting Harvard investments in South Africa surrounded Memorial Hall to force cancellation of a scheduled dinner, hired an airplane to buzz the crowd in the Yard and shouted interruptions during several speeches.

As a graduate of Harvard College, I was at the time much offended by such tactics at a once-in-a-lifetime event honoring Harvard’s long history. It could be that Jennifer Granholm learned a different code of behavior at Berkeley. If I were a voter in Michigan, I would be wary of someone who is still proud of disgraceful disruptive activities even if they were carried out years ago when she was at Harvard Law.

Granholm’s Potential Is (Almost) Unlimited

Back in law school, it was obvious that Jennifer Granholm had the intelligence, energy and charisma to achieve just about anything. None of us who knew her back then can be surprised by her meteoric rise in politics. If she weren’t a Canadian native, I bet she’d be elected president in the next 10 years or so.

Article Honors Pilot, Veteran

I have just read the article “To Serve and to Honor” from the Fall Bulletin and wish to thank Ms. Newburger for her efforts. Irene Englund was my older sister, and I was very proud of all her accomplishments. The article was an honor to her. In her late 70s, she also had served as a deputy sheriff in New Hampshire and had been on the emergency rescue squad. Her whole life had been spent in service to her family and country.

Veteran Politicians Feature a Standout

My compliments–the Fall 2002 issue is terrific. I have read it all. The article “Politicos Emeriti” is classic and sets a new high for its genre.

A Gentlewoman and an Officer?

Thanks for the excellent and well done article about the burial of WASP Irene Englund, “To Serve and To Honor.”

Dr. Englund’s dogged (and public) pursuit of what was right resulted in a reversal of Army policy and a partial victory. While the Army allowed Mrs. Englund to receive a military funeral, they have yet to acknowledge WASP status as de facto Army Air Force officers. This may seem an arcane point, but the Army’s intransigence continues the long and active discrimination against these pioneering women who were AAF officers in every conceivable way except in fact. The reason for this, as Barry Goldwater so eloquently said during congressional testimony, was they were “girls.”

We are continuing to fight for full recognition.