Author Was Indeed a Mensch
While your annual “Mensch List” issue (cover story, Jan. 5) highlighted people who embody the Jewish community’s future, we would like to honor someone who touched a future she knew she wouldn’t live to see.
Last year, author Amy Krouse Rosenthal died. Days before succumbing to ovarian cancer at age 51, she received acclaim for her New York Times essay “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” It was a beautiful and touching love letter to her about-to-be-widowed husband, Jason, creatively penned as a dating profile for him so that “another love story begins.”
She touched many more lives as a children’s book author — an underappreciated art for which she had a special talent. Her book “Uni the Unicorn,” an imaginative story about a unicorn who believes that little girls are real, is one of our 5-year-old daughter’s favorite bedtime books, alongside “Goodnight Moon,” “Chicken Soup With Rice,” “Sylvie,” “If Kisses Were Colors” and “A Giraffe and a Half.” Rosenthal’s books “Spoon” and “Little Pea” are adorable, too. She was an exceptionally gifted writer and storyteller, and through her books, she will continue to touch the future.
Shoshana and Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco
Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel
Here is a proposal I’ve not yet seen. I’m sure someone will tell me why.
Israel swaps the West Bank for the Gaza Strip, minus a narrow passage to the sea. Each state shares Jerusalem as its capital. What becomes of the settlements and the property of Gaza is a problem with many solutions, none beyond the capacity of negotiation. Each party will object, no doubt, but the status quo benefits neither. The proposal gives the Palestinians more territory than they are likely to obtain any other way and freedom at last. Israel expands its territory, less in quantity than by annexing the West Bank, but more in quality. Currently Israel has one friend. With its occupation over, it can devote its energies to being a good neighbor and a positive participant in the United Nations.
Start talking. There is nothing to lose.
Robert Ragaini, Santa Monica and New York
Moses and Nonviolent Protest
While enjoying all of the discussions of this weekly parsha, Rabbi Denise L. Eger’s comments resonated with my own longstanding understanding of the developmental story of the life of Moses and especially of his significant emotional conflict: his unbridled rage! (“Table for Five,” Jan. 5). It ultimately kept him out of the Promised Land. Lost was the first opportunity for the exposition of the power of a nonviolent protest.
True leadership calls for thoughtful reflection and not impulsive, incendiary behaviors. We are living in a time when national leadership demonstrates provocative words and threatens dangerous actions. These, too, are demonstrations not of strength but of disqualifying Mosaic immaturity. The Talmud offers a guide to keep in mind when selecting leaders: “Who is mighty? One who conquers one’s passions, as it is said: One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one who rules over one’s spirit is better than one who conquers a city.” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)
Sheldon H. Kardener via email
A Settler for Peace
Caroline Schuhl Schattner’s efforts to bring Palestinians and Israelis together are indeed courageous and inspiring (“Settler Opens Her Home to Peace,” Jan. 5) but the Journal’s story portrayed her as a lone actor while, in fact, she represents Roots-Shorashim-Judur — the joint Israeli-Palestinian grass-roots initiative for peaceful coexistence and transformation based in Gush Etzion.
Readers who are inspired by Schattner’s work should visit friendsofroots.net to see how the work of this small, dedicated group, mostly volunteers, is slowly changing life on the ground in the West Bank.
Dave Paller via email
‘Settler Opens Her Home to Peace,’ Jan. 5:
Does (Caroline Schuhl Schattner) know she is living in a land that a Palestinian family was kicked out of, their home demolished and a new home built for people like her? In other words, she is living in a stolen land. It will be much appreciated if she gives her home back to a Palestinian family and does this from France.
The problem is that so many (especially Jews) still believe that this attitude is uncommon among Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria. It isn’t. The vast majority live, work, play, desire peace from and coexist with their Arab neighbors every day.
The real peace is possible only when Palestinians really want it. If they deny terrorism, stop hatred, put down their arms, Israel will be the first to stretch her hand to them. Palestinians will have everything: education, prosperity, economy, jobs, you name it. But the problem is they don’t want peace.
This is a wonderful article and I hope she will be truly blessed in her quest. It’s just so disheartening that this well-intended article has to be met with so many negative comments. It surely is the root of the problem. God bless her.
Nechama Shana Kulszan
‘Pixar and the Zohar,’ Jan. 5:
Loved this movie (“Coco”) and so did my husband and 7-year-old (boy/girl) twins.My granddaughter totally got it. She said, “This is a movie of family love.”
“Coco” is a beautiful movie. Día de los Muertos is a beautiful tradition. Mexican, Mexican indigenous, Spanish and Jewish teachings (part of the Talmud and part of the Zohar) speak about communicating with the departed and their continued presence or visits among us (especially on ritual occasions at certain ceremonies). People who look at the world through only one cultural lens tend to view everything that way, even though it may be in fact about another people. Since at an energy/spirit level, all dynamics/laws are basically the same, this is not wrong, only confusing for those who see only a switching or scrambling of categories.
‘Meet the Fosters,’ Jan. 5:
This reminded me of our foster parenting days — filled with joy and sadness, love and pain. So often when asked how we could return them to their parents, our response was that they are like library books; love them, treat them as if they are your own, but always remember they really do belong to someone else.
‘“For We Are Glorious,” ’ Jan. 5:
Karen Lehrman Bloch is an emerging and important voice in expounding on the values of classic liberalism while exposing conflicted progressive ideologies and faux liberals.
‘Where’s #MeToo for Persian Victims,’ Jan. 5:
You’d think Western feminist groups would be standing up and speaking out for the brave Iranian women who are rejecting masculine imposed limitations, but for some reason, they are not. I can’t imagine why.
‘Oh, Lorde,’ Jan. 5:
There are three possible responses to the weak-minded people who succumb to BDS pressure: denial, derision or engagement.
Denial is obviously the wrong choice.
Engaging these artists on its face appears the most responsible and high-minded. However, when the Israeli ambassador to New Zealand tried to do that by inviting Lorde to meet and discuss, he was roundly condemned for pressuring and bullying the poor girl.
So, in this anti-intellectual age of tweets and sloganeering, derision turns out to be the better response. Disgusting but true.
Israel doesn’t need Lorde and would do well to withdraw any future invitations to perform there.
No, her young fans are not socially conscious because they did not ask her to boycott Russia. It’s time for Jews to stop being polite and nice when people call you baby killers.
George Naftali Muenz
In the Jan. 5 edition of Movers and Shakers, the Shalom Institute in Malibu was mistakenly referred to as the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles’ Shalom Institute in Malibu. The programs are unaffiliated.
Alana Yakovlev’s name was misspelled in an article about her pro bono work (“Law Isn’t Just a Profession — It’s a Calling,” Jan. 5).