Letters to the editor: Talking Trump, Shapiro, and worthy award winners
I don’t often read Marty Kaplan’s column, but this week I did, and how glad I am to have done so (“Roget’s Trumpasaurus,” July 7). Regardless of one’s political views, it is a beautifully envisioned, constructed and written piece. Thank you, Marty, for writing it and thank you, Jewish Journal, for printing it.
Immanuel “Manny” Spira
Marty Kaplan is a blessed thinker and writer. His column on Roget’s and our vocabulary was terrific. Just what I needed as I sat here wondering when Congress would impeach the man before someone took him out permanently.
Government under Donald Trump is like watching democracy die. The CNN wrestling video was the last straw from this indecent, inelegant, crude, revolting hack. If only the GOP had the backbone to admit he is their mistake and get him out of the White House.
Rev. Emmalou Kirchmeier
Shmuel Rosner uses some of the text from President Donald Trump’s speech in Poland to conclude “How Trump’s Sentiments Are Israel’s Sentiments” (July 14). I think this is a mistake. It’s a mistake to believe that Trump has any sentiments or deeply held beliefs regarding Israel, or any other group, or nation, or principle (aside from what is good for Trump’s ego is good).
Sometimes, as has now been noted on several occasions, Trump comes across as “presidential” when reading from a teleprompter, words written by someone else. Actors come across as presidential on the stage.
Sadly, the closest we can come to what is going on in the dark mind of the president is to read his tweets. And even these sentiments change frequently. To read into a prepared text read by Trump any depth of feeling or conviction is a mistake.
I would like to know why Donald Trump has a favorable rating only in Russia and Israel. I’ve seen polls where Barack Obama and John Kerry rated less than 10 percent in Israel. We American Jews will always be totally supportive of Israel but, with such divergent conclusions, it really makes it harder and harder.
I’ll point to only one issue out of hundreds. When Trump gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to get more than $100 billion in military aid, do people think that somehow that is good for Israel?
Marina del Rey
Based on Ben Shapiro’s assertion, as “fact,” that “Trump is the most moderate Republican president since Richard Nixon” (“How the Dems Can Lose 2018,” July 14) and that Republicans have moved to the political center while Democrats have slid to the far left, I say, for one, Nixon presided over the creation of the EPA, which Trump is tragically dismantling. Ronald Reagan, who fought for gun control laws and who granted amnesty to illegal immigrants, would be considered a liberal by today’s GOP, ever since an extremist, uncompromising group of congressmen and women known as the Tea Party gained control of the House of Representatives in 2010. Not even after 9/11 did George W. Bush react so extremely against Muslims as Trump has demonstrated.
Likewise, Shapiro’s take on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who currently polls as the most popular politician in the U.S., is stereotypically reduced to the archaic notion of “socialism,” as applied to the USSR during the Cold War, which has no relation to the “democratic socialism” Sanders espouses. If anything, Sanders champions policies supportive of the working and middle class that got Franklin D. Roosevelt elected president four times, and others, such as nonprofit health care, which is the norm worldwide.
The Lessons of Hiroshima
I share Rob Eshman’s reluctant doubt that “Never Again” is dependable. As the generation that experienced the horror passes, so, too, does the horror itself. We wanted to slam the door on it forever but slamming the door isn’t always the same as slamming it shut. Actually, our holocausts aren’t remarkably original long-term (I’m Armenian).
When I look clear-eyed toward the Jews’ current refuge in Israel, I admit to the same doubt as toward future holocausts as Eshman.
Separation of Church, State
While the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Orthodox Union (OU) share common ground on many issues, we believe the OU’s position on government funding of religious institutions is shortsighted, and not in the long-term best interest of the Jewish community (“Jewish Groups Differ Over Ruling About Public Funds for Religious Institutions,” July 14). Jewish history is pretty clear on this point: With the king’s purse comes the king — and all his meddling and regulations.
For more than a century, the ADL has steadfastly promoted the idea that the separation principle has been a key to religious freedom for Jews and other religious minorities in America. It protects religion from government oversight and interference, and keeps the government from favoring or promoting certain religious faiths or doctrines. When the government provides funding to religious institutions in any capacity, it has the effect of promoting religion.
The Trinity Lutheran decision raises more questions than answers on the scope of government funding now available to religious institutions. We are concerned it will be read as leaving the door wide open to such funding. Requiring taxpayers to fund religious institutions is not wise policy.
Pacific Southwest Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League
What to Do About the Wall
I support Shmuel Rosner’s call that we American Jews demand that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu honor the original January 2016 decision to give Conservative and Reform congregations official recognition at the Kotel (“Fight or Flee? American Jews Face Post-Kotel Dilemma,” June 30). Orthodox Judaism does not speak for me. But Judaism does. I believe in a broad construction of Jewish law and culture. For me, Judaism is a great religion because it was the first religion to center on ethics, not on ritual practices that could ensure a good harvest, etc. If Reform and Conservative Judaism have no official status in Israel, then America soon will be recognized as the true home of world Jewry.
The July 7 edition of the Jewish Journal contains a remarkable story by David Benkof (“Diaspora Jews Cannot Expect Veto Power Over Jewish State”). Besides the incredibly arrogant tone, it is intellectually dishonest. To call the “Kotel architecture” issue a kerfuffle is demeaning. As is ignoring the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government reneged on an agreed-upon compromise. Finally, while Benkof has a legitimate point in stating that Diaspora Jews cannot expect veto power over the Jewish state, then I assume that he also agrees that Israel has no legitimate case against the United States when it takes positions in the United Nations General Assembly with which Israel vehemently disagrees.
Kudos to Berrin
Lately, I’ve been thinking what a fine journalist Danielle Berrin has become, and when I read “When the Dream of Israel Clashes With Reality” (July 7), I realized each story is better than the last. Several pages later, I learned she has been named journalist of the year by the Los Angeles Press Club. So very well deserved.
After surviving the Holocaust in Poland, I was sure that for the rest of my life, all Jews, including women, are equal. Berrin’s story, so well done, points out that I am wrong. Women, of all places in the “free” country in Israel, are not equal to men. How can that be? The country that rose on the ashes of 6 million because of great bigotry and inequality. Wake up, Israeli leaders: All of us, we love Israel, and we want to continue to love it!
Rancho Palos Verdes
When it comes to the complicated Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there’s one simple fact that pretty much everyone agrees with: The attempts at a “two-state solution” have...
Last week, sitting under the majestic neo-Renaissance ceiling of Cipriani’s downtown Manhattan restaurant, I listened to speeches about unity, richness in diversity, heroism and humility....
Is there anything more Jewish than a debate about debates? I guess there could be a debate about the debate about debates. But while many...
In November 2014, I moderated a panel on the future of American Jewry at 30 Years After’s fourth biennial Civic Action conference at the Skirball...
This week, the government of Saudi Arabia came under heavy, justified fire for its apparent murder of a Saudi citizen living in the United States,...
I used to enjoy grocery shopping as a pleasant, even relaxing diversion. It was a break from work, a chance to run into friends from...
There are few policy arenas in which President Donald Trump has been more successful in his misdirection of the nation’s attention than the Middle East....
I know the risk I take when I say anything positive about President Donald Trump in today’s climate of self-congratulatory partisan idiocy. My friends in...
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are over. We went from fast to feast. I ate enough to last a year....
Adina Elbaz had just celebrated her 16th birthday when she was hit by a minibus on her way to school. Sustaining major head trauma, Elbaz...
Two Israelis get married. An everyday occurrence but in this case, both Israelis are celebrities; one a TV journalist and personality, the other, an actor....
For musician Craig Taubman, eclecticism has always been the name of the game. For more than 15 years, Taubman led the popular Friday Night Live...
It’s deep autumn, and if you made it through this past summer and the Jewish holidays relatively unscathed, good for you. The endless inclement weather,...
One verse, Five Voices. Edited by Salvador Litvak, Accidental Talmudist Your name shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I...
The New Israel Fund (NIF) announced last weekend that UCLA Jewish History Professor David N. Myers has been appointed president of NIF’s board of directors....
Refugees usually arrive in a new country with little to their names, isolated because their language and customs are different. But some refugees who arrive...
Earlier this month, the Burton Sperber Library on American Jewish University’s campus was abuzz with chatter about Galicia, the historic Central European kingdom that straddled...
Under the banner of “Hoops and the Holy Land,” 300 Sinai Temple basketball camp students not only got to meet but also had the opportunity...
Bruce Jay Friedman’s darkly comic play “Steambath” posits a provocative scenario in which a motley crew of recently departed souls discover that the afterlife is a...
Most teenagers have a musical hero: an artist they listen to again and again when they are happy, when they are sad, when they just want...