Your Letters


David Myers

Professor David Myers showed his true colors in his reply toStandWithUs when he wrote that the “Palestinians” are not entirely to blame forthe conflict (Letters, Feb. 28). He reminds me of the familiar grade-schooleducator who never noticed bullying, but always berated the victim for strikingback; and when answered with, “But he…,” would say, “Now, now it takes two tomake a fight.”

Of course it does: one bully and one victim! But only one ofthem decides on conflict or peace: the bully.

Louis Richter, Encino

As a student, I can attest to the overwhelming abundance ofone-sided, hawkish information being disseminated by groups such as StandWithUsand the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Rather than providing abalanced perspective on the Middle East conflict, these groups capitalize onstudents’ fear of anti-Semitism and overemphasize Jewish victimhood.

Unfortunately, this type of manipulation also permeated aJewish Forum on Public Policy. The conference’s discussions on Israel promotedthe most militant perspective and appallingly demonized Muslim and Arabstudents. I would expect a Jewish forum on public policy to provide a morediverse sampling of political perspectives with regard to Israel.

I fear the atmosphere in the Jewish community has providedan environment for students that is both intellectually stifling andunreflective. As a result, we are losing sight of the complexities of theconflict and the careful nature with which it must be handled. One-sidedpropaganda needs to be replaced with informed debate both within our communityand others. It is time to substitute purely defensive advocacy with the pursuitof positive solutions to the conflict.

Jaime Rapaport ,Los Angeles

Canaries

I read Rob Eshman’s column (“This Week,” Feb. 28) and wasdisheartened, not only by his description of the anti-Israel and anti-Americademonstrations he encountered, but by the fact that he chose to go to Italyrather than Israel on his “brief vacation.” I’m sorry that he didn’t have apleasant visit.

By contrast, my husband and I chose to spend our vacationlast November working as volunteers on an Israel Defense Forces base, alongwith many other volunteers from all around the world. We worked side by sidewith young soldiers doing whatever tasks were needed, wearing the same uniform,eating the same food, sleeping on the same cots that these young Israelis areprovided during their army service. They asked, “Why are you here? Why wouldyou spend so much money on airfare to come and work?”

The answer is simple: We came to Israel to work with them,to let them know that we support them with our presence, not just financially.It seemed to raise the morale of these young people: to make them feel notquite so alone in their tiny country. It counteracts the condemnation andbashing of the rest of the world.

Ruth Giden , Sherman Oaks

Gay Rabbis

When David Bianco wrote about homosexual relations describedin the Torah as referring to a “specific kind of male-male sexual intercourse”(“Gay Halacha,” Jan. 17) it was misunderstood by Rabbi Daniel Korobkin in hisletter to the editor (Letters, Jan. 31). Korobkin had understood it to meanwhat Rabbi Bradley Artson had presented in the Jan. 17 issue as a Conservativemovement interpretation of the biblical prohibition, limiting it topromiscuous, multipartner homosexuality. Korobkin’s objection should have beendirected specifically to Artson’s interpretation, but not to Bianco’s, which isin line with the traditional view that prohibits all male-male sexualintercourse involving penetration.

We now both realize that we are on the same page indisagreeing with Artson’s speculative interpretation.

Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, David Bianco

A Wish Is Granted

Appreciation to Marc Ballon for his piece on Jewish FamilyService’s (JFS) recent success with the Naturally Occurring RetirementCommunity (NORC) grant from the federal government (“A Wish Is Granted,” Feb.28). An even larger “thank you” to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. HenryWaxman (D-Los Angeles) who carried this request on behalf of JFS and TheFederation’s Jewish Community Relations Committee, which orchestrated theadvocacy around this proposal. The NORC will be the precedent-setting model forthe care of the elderly for decades to come. We at JFS are proud and delightedto be the first such site in California.

Paul Castro , Executive Director Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

Single Problem

Thank you very much for Amy Klein’s article, “A SingleProblem” (Feb. 14). For years, I have noticed that the focus in synagogues andtemples is on married couples with children, even while singles are oftencharged as much as two-thirds of what an entire family is charged formembership.

For singles, childless people and even adults withoutcollege degrees, the No. 1 criterion for joining a synagogue or temple is howwell they are accepted as complete and worthwhile contributing members of theJewish community. Most synagogues and temples do a great job of making themfeel inferior, which they really aren’t.

Rose Rosenberg, Los Angeles

I am a 63-year-old man who doesn’t belong to a synagoguebecause I feel that I don’t fit in.

You hit the nail on the head when you write that many of theevents for singles “often lack content.” I hope that your article makes somedifference with a Jewish organization and that a group of singles might becreated with substance and purpose.

Raphael Confortes, Los Angeles

Who Should Pay?

On my trips to Los Angeles, it is quite evident that theJewish community is a fairly well-to-do one (“Who Should Pay?” Jan. 31). Thefinances are there, as I’m sure they are in most North American Jewish communities,to make Hebrew education not only available to people committed to Judaism, butattractive to families who may not have a strong Jewish grounding but arelooking for a quality Jewish education for the children.

The American Jewish community should get its prioritiesstraight. Jewish education is the bedrock of the Jewish culture and survivaland has to be made affordable and available to all. By not subsidizing Hebrewday schools more heavily and making them financially accessible to the generalJewish population, the American Jewish community is unfortunately contributingto assimilation and intermarriage, and is losing young people.

Gerald Wexler, Quebec, Canada

A Culinary Surprise

I read the recipe for Vietnam bagels (“A Culinary Surprise,”Feb. 21) to my 85-year-old father who has been in the bagel business for morethan 60 years. His comment was, “That’s not a bagel, it’s cake.” A real bageldoes not have milk or butter. And honey in the water? I guess it’s a pleasantsurprise to find any bagel in Vietnam, and this one should definitely keep thename “Vietnam” bagel.

Seymour and Richard Friedman, Brooklyn Bagel Bakery Los Angeles

Iraq War

I never thought of The Jewish Journal as an especiallyhumorous publication, but the Feb. 28 issue proved me wrong. The superb spoofby Arthur Waskow (“Iraq War Not Just Means to Just End,” Feb. 28) — thatAmerican Jews should support a pre-war Marshall Plan for Iraq, urge a worldwidetreaty to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction and insist on all-Arab peacetreaties with Israel — is worthy of Dante and Balzac. Rob Eshman’s notation ofa Parisian newspaper’s description of Jacques Chirac as a “Warrior for Peace”is equally clever. I commend The Journal for its satirical brilliance.

Chaim Sisman, Los Angeles

JAM

I am writing with concern to the article “‘JAM’-packedCampus Outreach” (Feb. 28). The article gives a detailed report on the Jewishlife on campus at UCLA.

I was glad to read of the wonderful work carried out by Hilleland JAM on campus and it is amazing to see how many students have been involvedwith these organizations.

However, it was very surprising to see no mention of any ofthe good work done by Chabad. I was personally approached by Rabbi Mendy on theBruin Walk, who invited me to come over for Shabbat dinner. I was welcomedpersonally by both rabbis and I enjoyed a wonderful meal as well as having theopportunity to meet more than 100 other Jewish students. I enjoyed myselfimmensely and I plan to join the rest of my friends to attend Chabad social andeducational activities.

Jewish life on campus is thriving and between Hillel, Chabadand JAM things are going on all the time. I was especially happy last week tosee all the three rabbis dancing together during the Moshav Band concert put onby Hillel. It is for this reason that it seems bizarre to have left out Chabad.

I am sure this was not done on purpose, and I hope thatJewish life on campus will continue to flourish with all the organizationscontinuing to work together.

Name Withheld Upon Request, Los Angeles

Clarification

The Feb. 28 Circuit about the Jewish Community Foundationomitted mention of the Foundation’s College Campus Initiative Project, whichinvolves Los Angeles Hillel Council, the Jewish Community Relations Committeeand the Shalom Nature Center. The coalition works in partnership with JewishCampus Service Corps fellows on individual campuses throughout Los Angeles toengage Jewish students and combat anti-Israel sentiment.