Marlene Adler Marks claimed in her column topresent a “Jewish” view of the movie “Titanic”(“A Jewish Seat in theAisle,” Jan. 9). Most of her thoughts about guilt and responsibilityof survivors, the coming tragedies of the 20th century, and so on,are really not specifically Jewish at all. Only her reference to theHolocaust, and a weak one at that, puts it into a Jewish context. Sadthat the Holocaust must be the datum point for all Jewishexperience.
I must admit, however, that “Titanic” did indeedevoke specific images for me as a Jew. My mother’s family came to theU.S. from England, via Canada. Like most Jews who came in the firstfew decades of this century, they no doubt would have been insteerage. Had they come a few years later, they could have been onthat ill-fated journey.
How many Jews, I wondered, shared the fate of somany Irish, Italian, and other poor immigrants seeking a better life?How many died without a chance, kept locked below decks while the”better” part of the passenger list sought safety?
There may have been a few wealthy Jews in firstclass, but most of our ancestors came here in steerage. What are ourcurrent obligations to those still in “steerage,”locked out while therest of us enjoy our comfort and safety? If this was not a part ofMarks’ reaction as a Jew, then she has lost touch with a part of herJewish roots.
Martin Cohen, Ph. D.
The last time I spoke to Stan Hirsh, I remarked tohim how pleased I am with the quality of The Jewish Journal. He toldme to say that to the highly capable editors of the weekly.
Therefore I am writing to all of you to expressthe pleasure you give me each week when I read your excellentcommentaries, articles and updates. I read the Los Angeles Times, NewRepublic, Jerusalem Report, Near East Report and other publicationseach week. But each Friday your pertinent articles entice me to readThe Journal virtually from cover to cover.
I am particularly pleased when you use an articlethat has appeared in another publication and your editors havethought it worth offering to your readers, so you paid for it andoffered it to us.
Thank you for the quality you bring to our houseeach week.
Feinstein’s Fine Job
We are waiting to let you know how much we enjoyRabbi Ed Feinstein’s Torah Portion commentaries each week. He makeseach week’s portion interesting and most relevant.
Please continue to run this most stimulating andinformative feature. Thank you.
Evelyn and Joshua Gross
More Fan Mail
I very much enjoyed the article about Makor(“Mingling with Meaning,” Jan. 9) by Michael Aushenker. He has alight, humorous, first-person writing style, and I hope he cancontinue to bring us his slightly twisted and accurate angle onJewish life in Los Angeles.
I recently saw a wonderful play called “MorningStar” at the Colony Studio Theater. It’s about all of us who sharethe Jewish experience in America. The acting was superb and the setwas beautiful.
I urge you and your readers to see it. The theateris located at 1944 Riverside Drive in Silverlake. They have awonderful art exhibit there too about Jews in Russia and LosAngeles.
A Day of Learning
Over 1,000 people attended the recent Yom Limud atTaft High School which turned out to be a wonderful opportunity forstudy, learning and sharing ideas. The range of teaching talent wascertainly impressive and the Bureau of Jewish Education did awonderful job of organizing the event.
I took advantage of the wide range of offerings toarrange a rather eclectic day of learning for myself and found eachclass interesting, engaging, and full of eager students.
Many thanks to the Bureau of Jewish Education forsponsoring Yom Limud. Judging by the turnout, there certainly is ademand for making this an annual event.
It was wonderful to be part of the ReformCommunity Shabbat at Temple Emanuel on Friday, Jan. 9. Despite therain, several hundred congregants from synagogues throughout the areaattended the service, singing and worshipping together.
What a rare treat to celebrate Shabbat with thebeautiful music and inspiring prayers of so many gifted clergy –over 30 of them — who filled the bimah. It was truly a veryspecial evening, and a unique opportunity to share in the warmth andspirituality of our community.
My appreciation and thanks to those at HebrewUnion College and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations whohelped coordinate the service, and to Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman,president of HUC, for speaking so passionately about the need torenew and strengthen our commitment to Judaism’s teachings andtraditions.
Elaine L. Diamond
West Los Angeles
On Jonathan Pollard
Writer Anne Roiphe (“Jewish Leaders Must Extract aMoral Thorn,” Jan. 2) appropriately brings to light the shame ofindifference when she describes Jewish leaders’ seeming lack ofconcern about the travesty of justice at Jonathan Pollard’s lifesentence for spying for Israel.
The fact that then-Secretary of Defense CasparWeinberger was permitted to so arrogantly go back on the deal madewith Pollard that would have provided a lighter sentence in exchangefor a confession has always been incomprehensible to me.Unfortunately, Weinberger is no longer accountable for his obviousvindictiveness towards Pollard. But we as a Jewish community showedcontinued passivity when Janet Reno, in her review of the Pollardcase, decided his sentence was perfectly appropriate. And herrecommendation was readily accepted by President Clinton.
What possible good for the Jewish community isserved by our sacrificial tolerance of such unequal treatment of oneof our own by the government’s actions?
Amy Goldner Guttman
Regarding the essay on Jonathan Pollard by AnneRoiphe: She asks that we stand up and fight for the convicted spy’srelease. I will not do so! Yes, I do feel for his parents and I dofeel for his wife but, try as I might, I do not feel for him atall.
Let’s call it like it is. Pollard got the sentencehe did because of Caspar Weinberger. Should his sentence be commuted?Probably. But not absolutely. Remember, he did take money.
Netanyahu and Control
I do not stand by the whomever-may-be-in-powerIsraeli government, and do not believe that uncritical loyalty is theway to express my hopes for the nation. I believe that the patriot isthe gadfly, constantly “speaking truth to power.”
Netanyahu is acting as if he can further theinterests of Israel by breaking the letter and the spirit of the 1949Geneva Accords, as well as two subsequent United Nations resolutions,by doubling already-illegal Jewish housing in the West Bank.
Instead, his decrees will escalate the anger,frustration, and feelings of betrayal of the Palestinian people. Intheir feelings of helplessness, one or more Palestinians may dosomething outrageous. Netanyahu will judge that act, and with lessthan King Solomon-like wisdom, come down with yet another punishingmeasure, and the spiral of distrust will continue.
I seem to remember a pre-1948 atmosphere when onecould borrow a cup of sugar from an Arab neighbor, and share coffeein each other’s living rooms. Let our letters, and our dialogue –and our taxes — support that feeling among cousins,rather than expansionist decrees, judicious road-building thatresults in Arab ghettoization, and control, control, control.
THE JEWISH JOURNAL welcomes letters from allreaders. Letters should be no more than 250 words and we reserve theright to edit for space. All letters must include a signature, validaddress and phone number. Pseudonyms and initials will not be used,but names will be withheld on request. Unsolicited manuscripts andother materials should include a self-addressed, stamped envelope inorder to be returned.
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