In Defense of Stephen Miller
I am writing to respond to your story about my cousin Stephen Miller (“Stephen Miller’s Unlikely Journey,” March 17). Rather than highlighting Stephen’s courage to think freely and question the accepted groupthink in which he was raised — surely Jewish values — the tone of your article is depreciating.
Let me be clear: Stephen Miller is a man of principles and integrity. He is a patriot. He believes America is great because it is a nation of immigrants, and that those who come here shall do so lawfully. Your vignette that he dropped a friend because of his Latin heritage is hearsay and besmirches his character. If you disagree with his politics, then please say that in plain language rather than writing an article under the guise of impartiality.
In the spirit of fair and balanced reporting, I wish you had interviewed other relatives of Miller, aside from Larry Glosser. If you had, you would have found several family members who are proud to be related to him, who are inspired by his service to our country and who know that he exemplifies the Jewish value of Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof (Justice, Justice shall you pursue) — championing what is just even when it is unpopular to do so.
Sarah Miller Lipton via email
The intolerance of the Jewish left is clearly demonstrated in the piece on Stephen Miller, whose former rabbi, school acquaintances and faraway relatives berate him for rejecting the liberal dogma pushed upon him during his Santa Monica youth.
They seem genuinely perplexed that despite their intellectual beneficence, Miller became a conservative and — imagine — isn’t even shy about it. They lament their failure to instill in him empathy, respect and even the ethical standards of Judaism. And when he was 13, he put his greasy hand on a pizza slice! Oh, the horror. This man must be irredeemable.
The left celebrates diversity, especially of gender, ethnicity and race, but will not tolerate diversity of thought. As David Horowitz says, “Once you break with the left, they want to kill you.”
Leslie Fuhrer Friedman, Culver City
The Homeless and the Budget
In response to the federal budget being presented to Congress, I have great concern about the poor and most vulnerable in our society. As the head of a homeless and poverty agency, I know that this is the time to increase, not decrease, funding in order to live up to our promise of a fair and decent country. We have talked about the need for permanent, supportive housing, affordable housing and working to get those who are homeless off the streets. Those of us on the ground each day trying to achieve those goals need the critical funding from our government to make this happen. City and county measures recently passed will certainly help greatly, but federal investment is also critical. Budgets are moral documents, and if we talk about our priorities and then don’t fund them, it is just empty talk. While I don’t deny that national defense and security are crucial, why do they need an increase now when our citizens are suffering so deeply?
Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater, Executive Director of Friends in Deed , Pasadena
Kudos to Team Israel
Mazel tov to Team Israel on its accomplishment (“Team Israel Aims for Hollywood Ending in Baseball Classic,” March 17). We are proud of you!
Aside from their goal of winning the World Baseball Classic (WBC), the goal is to train young Israelis to represent Team Israel by filling their rosters with Israelis in future WBC competition.
With this in mind, it is important to take the next step. I propose bringing young Israelis to the United States who have the passion and ability to excel in the game. We could bring and host young Israelis who want to improve their skills and knowledge of the game. While here, they can reside with families that are also passionate about baseball while exposing the visitors to the parks, fields and batting cages, and observe local amateur and professional teams. The youngsters could receive instruction from knowledgeable coaches who can conduct clinics and instill the necessary fundamentals to raise their game to the next level.
Jon Blank, Director of the Jewish Baseball Western Wall of Fame via email
An Apology to Grammarians
Letter writer Geoff Neigher is absolutely right — fewer (quantity), not less (degree), is the correct usage; my apologies to grammarians everywhere (Letters, March 24). Kudos, Geoff.
Beryl Arbit via email
A story about the Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival (“Varied Explorations of Jewish Culture, History at Film Festival,” March 17) misidentified financier Michael Leven.
In a brief about a Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) mixer (“Moving & Shaking,” March 17), certain statistics were misstated. FIDF supported 66,000 soldiers in 2016, including 14,500 who benefited from educational programs and 2,800 lone soldiers who received assistance.