LETTERS: Torah Battle, Mormon Official, Ethics

Ethics Certificate

I heartily agree with David Suissa and his reservations about the new certificate indicating that Jewish businesses uphold labor laws (“Laboring for Ethics,” March 6). If the Rubashkin scandal [Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse] is what prompted the certification idea, it is hardly the most noxious scandal in the Jewish community.

Why are we not issuing certificates to money managers to avoid other Madoff-style swindles? Why do we not certify that rabbis in our community aren’t molesting children and avert scandals like the one that hit the National Conference of Synagogue Youth? Why single out the Jewish shopkeeper?

California has an exorbitant minimum wage, and aggressive labor regulation. If the rabbis involved in the certification movement believe that shops along Pico Boulevard are in violation of these regulations, they should report the store owner to the authorities, not engage in feckless, feel-good activism.

Janet Fuchs
Beverly Hills

Battle Over Torahs

Your article, “Public Court Battle Erupts Over Possession of Torahs” (March 13) is a horrible display of the decision making skills of your management and editing team.

I am a student of Rabbi Samuel Ohana. He is doing my wedding; his wife is catering it. I learn with him, and he has welcomed me into his home.

He has dedicated his life to serving the community and is a man of great moral and ethical standing. The slant on your reporting was not just slight, it was disgustingly obvious.

You offered a venue for lashon ha-ra (bad gossip) to be spoken about this man, and that makes you just as guilty as the person who is speaking it.

I do not care if the L.A. Times feels that this story is worth publishing, but how can we be a light unto nations when we will stoop down and publish the same filth and slander?

I do not know the details of the case, and as far as I can tell, it is just a dispute of ownership. What you and the lady involved have done is of greater notice and deserving of as much criticism. I hope that the community can see the misrepresentation that you have made.

Michael Sachs

Surviving Bernie

Yes Mr. Eshman, Bernard Madoff is a criminal and an evil man who hopefully will spend the rest of his life in prison (“Surviving Bernie,” March 13). Where, however, is the outcry against the people of the American-Israel Cultural Foundation in Israel responsible for investing its entire endowment, $14 million, with Madoff Securities that is now all gone?

Leon M. Salter
Los Angeles

Different Religion

I was not at all disappointed to see professor David Myers attacked for his notorious right-wing views (“20th Century Zionist Asks: ‘Has Jacob Become Esau?’” March 6). For the record, however, we should note that Esau, as referred to by Myers and by Rawidowicz, was Christianity, not Islam. After all, Rawidowicz was writing in the first post-Holocaust years.

Michael Berenbaum
via e-mail

Money for the Arts

In this economic recession, I feel that Cheryl and Haim Saban should be embarrassed to donate $5 million so that their name will be on a theater marquee. (“Sabans Donate $5 Million to Theater,” March 13).

This money could be better spent: scholarships for children to receive Jewish educations, Jewish aged under the poverty line and housing for Jewish disabled. The list goes on.

Laurie Saida
via e-mail

Editor’s note: As our story made clear, the theater houses the Temple of the Arts synagogue, which Cheryl Saban credited with playing an important role in their lives.

ZOA Mormon Official

How wonderful to be able to read news about the L.A. Jewish community while I sit at my computer in Israel! (“Zionist Organization’s New Mormon Director: Q&A With Mark Paredes,” March 6).

The appointment of Mark Paredes to the directorship of the Zionist Organization of America office in Los Angeles is great news. I met him when he worked at the Israeli Consulate and saw this bright and inspiring man in action.

Chana Givon

Building Bridges

On behalf of the American Muslim community, I applaud the efforts of Rabbi [Reuven] Firestone and The Jewish Journal in building bridges of understanding between the American Muslim and Jewish communities. (“An Appreciation of Islam: Q&A With Rabbi Reuven Firestone,” March 13)

Both Judaism and Islam have much in common — moral values emphasizing family ties and tending to the less fortunate, speaking up for justice and human rights and being good citizens of society.

While we may hold different legitimate political views, even within our own communities, let us continue to strengthen bonds between American Muslims and Jews, shun voices of extremism and together be a force of positive change in the broader society.

Munira Syeda
Communications Coordinator
Council on American-Islamic Relations,
Greater Los Angeles Area

Thank You Rabbi [Reuven] Firestone for your book presenting Islam to Jews and non-Muslims in a fair and more accurate manner.

Thanks to The Jewish Journal for being involved in this.

As a Muslim I always thought that there are much more things in common than differences between Jews and Muslims. I hope this will be realized by more people.

Majed Ibrahim
via e-mail


Marty Kaplan’s “Stem Cell Slippery Slope Fallacy” (March 13) tells us that the world is full of bigots. Live and let live has been abandoned in favor of our way or the highway, leading to hatred and violence: the religious fundamentalism of ultra-Orthodox Jews disdaining all other denominations, Islamists stoning to death a 13-year-old rape victim charged with adultery and lots of Christians wishing to disenfranchise our gay population.

Then we have the haters of anyone not like them, including white supremacists, anti-Semites and animal rights advocates who feel that the lives of laboratory-bred rats are more important than the lives of human beings.

Now we know of evil greedy people who worship money and think nothing of stealing from the needy. What a world.

Martin J. Weisman
Westlake Village