Letters to the Editor: Figueres, Cuba, Charedim

With Gratitude

I received such a delightful surprise. I received a copy of your thoughtful article “Figueres” (July 12). I am grateful for your visit to Costa Rica. It is a lesson in itself.  I am grateful that, at a special time of need, you remind us of the truths of the dreams and their realities of Jose Figueres. You can perhaps understand my emotion if I share with you that I am the widow of Jose Figueres. Shalom. 

Karen Olsen de Figueres
Former first lady of Costa Rica

The Wonders of Cuba

What a wonderful article on tracing family roots to Cuba (“Cuba: Land of My Bubbe,” July 26). I was so moved after my first visit to the Jewish community of Cuba that I co-founded CHAI Missions, a nonprofit Jewish organization dedicated to humanitarian effort with a focus on Cuban Jews. We are now excited to be taking a group this coming November to share this amazing experience. Visit chaimissions.org for an insight on what a Jewish mission to Cuba looks like.

Randi Glasman Simenhoff
via jewishjournal.com


Thank you for such a wonderful piece by Isabel Kaplan on her family history. I recently traveled to Cuba and visited both Jewish cemeteries in Guanabacoa. There is so much more to see and discover about the Jews of Cuba. I just can’t wait till my next trip.

Yael Gadiela Gillette
via jewishjournal.com

Charedi Too Powerful

David Suissa grossly understates the problem and seems unaware of the enormous power Charedi leaders crave and have over their beknighted minions (“Charedim Need More Judaism,” July 26). Nothing will change until Charedi women are fed up with their plight and declare enough is enough.

JJ Gross
via jewishjournal.com

Gender Equality

I agree that pretending genders do not matter in life has gone too far (“Do Men and Women Matter?” July 19). However, I cannot follow your leap that this is the root of LGBTQs engaging in loving relationships outside of the male-female coupling. LGBTQs are different genders. I believe we should have six gender choices: male, female, gay male, gay female, female-to-male transsexual, male-to-female transsexual. All are different and distinct, and each should be entitled to equal rights and treatments under the law. The writers of the Torah, with their divine influence, had not yet recognized this fact.

Alex Romano
via jewishjournal.com

Dennis Prager responds: Mr. Romano writes that “we should have six gender choices.” He has well articulated the progressive ideal that I described in my column.


The war is on to destroy the gender constructs that made our marriage culture possible and the subsequent family unit that it produces, which is the very foundation of a strong and moral society. We are wandering into uncharted territory.

We look to Europe and secular societies in Asia and the trend is the same — people are choosing to forgo marriage and procreation.

Why have a child if it keeps you from pursuing your passions? Why have a child if it keeps you from going out every night with your friends or from traveling the world?

Europe’s demographic collapse is even more severe when you then notice that each passing generation favors smaller and smaller family sizes. These reinforcing mechanisms, compounded by the passing of time, creates a culture that is antithetical to the family unit.

But what happens when, in addition to their secular-inspired, anti-family preference, they then drop gender constructs altogether? It will only escalate both their irrelevancy and their disappearance from humanity as well as the gene pool. We truly are wandering into uncharted territory.

There is a part of me that wants these people to take their dumb ideas with them to the grave. But their collapse will be destructive to our survival, especially when their ideas have also impregnated the minds of many Americans. The vacuum they leave will be the cause of much chaos and cruelty. We are between a rock and a hard place.

Howard Fines
via jewishjournal.com

Free Speech Not Free

Well, free speech bit the dust here (“In Orthodox Community, Offensive Billboard Taken Down,” July 26). Between America and Israel, it seems the Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox and Charedi have a limited capacity to control themselves and need the secular world’s help. Enough already!

Suzy Lenkowsky Krikorian
via jewishjournal.com


An article about BTS Communications (“Second Chances at Beit T’Shuvah’s Creative Company,” July 26), a project of Beit T’Shuvah, incorrectly stated that it had received a $250,000 grant from The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. It was from the Jewish Community Foundation as part of its Cutting Edge Grants program, paid out over three years, not four as the article stated.