Letters to the Editor: Gun rights debate, keeping politics out of temple, Radical Middle and David Suissa
Gun Rights Debate Continues
First of all, congratulations to the Journal for debating an issue that the Supreme court handed down a decision on almost 10 years ago (“Does the Second Amendment Guarantee the Right to Bear Arms?” Oct. 13).
Second, my admiration to Karen Kaskey for her very well-done arguments. In contrast: The best part of Ben Shapiro’s arguments is the headline: “Good Gun Policy Starts With Reality.” His analysis of the facts, though, is superficial and he fails to see the reality that modern society is not the same as it was 200 years ago. Everything in the universe, including American society, is subject to change. He doesn’t understand that the purpose of the constitution of any country is to serve its people and should be subject to change, as well.
As far as the Supreme Court decision on the issue: Yes, the court has the legal authority to clarify the meaning of any part of the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean justices can read the minds of those who wrote it. Nobody can.
Svetlozar Garmidolov, Los Angeles
Regarding Ben Shapiro’s column on the Las Vegas shooting (“Good Gun Policy Starts With Reality,” Oct. 13):
• Congress and the states have the legal authority to ban assault weapons.
• Polls show a majority of Americans want assault weapons to be illegal.
• Shapiro doesn’t even deal with the issue of assault weapons in his column. Instead, he changes the subject to a supposed effort to take away all guns from all citizens, which is untrue and irrelevant to the massacre in Las Vegas.
• Shapiro makes the lame conservative argument that because it’s impossible to stop all shootings, there’s no point in even trying. That makes as much sense as saying that I won’t lock the doors, windows and gates of my house because I can’t stop all burglaries.
• Conservatives love to say that the left can’t see evil when it’s staring them in the face and won’t act against it when they can. The real evil here is that conservatives are just fine with mass shootings, won’t do anything about them because they’re on the payroll of the gun industry, and callously thwart the desire of all Americans to feel safe from the threat of assault weapons.
Michael Asher via email
Leave Politics Out of the Temple
I was in shock when I read “Political Pundits Discuss ‘Trump’s America’ in Debate at Valley Beth Shalom,” (Oct. 13). First, this should never have been organized at this temple. I believe that there are tax consequences, aside from being very distasteful. Peter Beinart and David Frum are looney Jews talking trash about Trump.
Any normal person would be absolutely fed up with this constant line of crap! Trump is a racist, Trump is anti-Jewish, anti-Israel, and on and on. I wouldn’t be surprised if Valley Beth Shalom is losing membership. I know that other “liberal” temples are. Keep houses of worship just for spiritual purposes and leave politics at home!
Alexandra Joans, Los Angeles
Please add my name to those who feel the same as the “heckler” at Temple Israel of Hollywood (“Heckler Interrupts Kol Nidre Sermon,” Oct. 6).
Your “senior writer” seems to have given a new definition to the term heckler. Not long ago, “heckler” would conjure up a picture of someone sitting at length in an audience, making it rough on some budding entertainer.
Your reporter indicated none of that. The man got fed up with the narrishkayt and stated, “This is supposed to be a house of prayer.”
According to your reporter, he was not the only one disturbed by Rabbi John Rosove’s flights into “liberal political rhetoric.” Others voiced their displeasure that our synagogues were being turned into houses of rebellion against the government. He stated his protest — and left. “Stormed”? Tsk, tsk.
My wife and I “stormed” out of Temple Beth Hillel this past High Holy Days, demanding (and receiving) our money back, after the rabbi made sure that the congregation was apprised that Israel is an occupier, that it is non-egalitarian toward women who just want to pray at the Western Wall, that we should be magnanimous enough to welcome all in need to share our boundless country and, oh, yes, that the Reform movement has asked all Reform synagogues to “rise up against this [illegitimate] government.”
As your reporter quoted another irate citizen not afraid to buck the rising liberal nonsense, “We don’t need to listen to this bull—-!”
P.S. Apparently, neither do the fine people of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, who pulled out of the movement for the same reason.
Steve Klein via email
Obviously, there were people attending the Kol Nidre service at Temple Israel of Hollywood who strongly felt that denouncing our president during the rabbi’s sermon was not appropriate — so much so that they walked out; and one man even spoke out in opposition as he stormed out of the sanctuary.
I agree with Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple about keeping politics out of the synagogue. It is not intended to be a place for expressing political differences.
According to Wikipedia, “politics is the process and method of gaining or maintaining support for public or common action, the conduct of decision-making for groups.” It serves to sway people’s allegiance.
On the other hand, a temple is “an edifice or place dedicated to the service or worship of a deity.”
Whether or not you like our president (I voted against him), the temple is a place for religious worship — certainly not intended for political denunciation of our president.
George Epstein, Los Angeles
Both Parties Leave the ‘Middle’ Behind
Karen Lehrman Block is completely right, but rather late (“Toward a Radical Middle,” Oct. 6). The “middle” (to which I belong, as well) was written out of the Democratic and Republican parties years ago, and I see no sign of it being able to return because its politicians have morphed into the “establishment” and are functioning only to their own benefit. That’s what Donald Trump ran against and that’s why he was elected.
Your first redesigned issue was excellent.
Stephen J. Meyers via email
Progressives Should Reconsider Their Ethics
In “Dancing With Darkness” (Oct. 13), David Suissa extols the personal freedom we enjoy in the United States, although it tragically enabled the Las Vegas massacre. American freedom has a particular resonance with Jews because it’s inspired by the Ten Commandments, which assert that true freedom requires moral behavior. The Founding Fathers were so profoundly aware of their Hebrew roots that the Liberty Bell’s sole inscription is from Leviticus; Ben Franklin’s original idea for the Great Seal of the United States was a depiction of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea; and George Washington personally assured the fledgling Jewish community that its members were free and equal citizens.
Despite this history, progressives have for years condemned Christianity and Judaism, the latter by demonizing Zionism. Since turning their backs on Judeo-Christian ethics, progressives have become meaner and less tolerant, like the crowds who cheered Madonna when she mused about “blowing up the White House,” and Linda Sarsour when she praised a convicted terrorist murderer.
After the Las Vegas massacre, a young, Jewish CBS vice president declared she was unsympathetic to the victims because “country music fans often are Republican.” Progressive indoctrination, such as Hillary Clinton calling candidate Donald Trump’s supporters “deplorables,” robbed this woman of her conscience and empathy.
Hopefully, the Harvey Weinstein scandal will lead progressives to reconsider their values, or we may well forfeit the freedom our ancestors died for.
Rueben Gordon, Calabasas
Good Luck, David Suissa
Congratulations to David Suissa on his new role as editor-in-chief of the Journal. The most recent Journal already shows that there is a changing of the guard and a new leadership reflecting a new light shining on different aspects of Jewish life, Israel and the world.
I have been a longtime reader of the Journal and I want to wish you much success in your new position. Go from strength to strength.
Leila Bronner, Los Angeles