January 16, 2019

Letters to the editor: Mother’s Day and dueling narratives

Love You Forever, Like You for Always

This is perhaps the most heartfelt piece I have ever read about motherhood (“The Language of Pleading Eyes,” May 9). It brought tears to my eyes, but not to worry, they were tears of joy for your amazing family and mother. Happy Mother’s Day to your mom and all of our mamas … they first give us life, then nurture, teach, and guide us as we make our own way in life. After we leave home, they are then there to comfort us. Thanks for a wonderful story that now is forever in the Book of Life.

Peter J. Strom via jewishjournal.com

My mom suffered three strokes; the last was massive and finally took her. This is an excellent article. Thanks for sharing, made me laugh and cry. I loved the line, “Parents can push our buttons because they installed them.” My mom definitely pushed mine, but it made her who she was. 

Pam Woodward via jewishjournal.com

Navigating Those Narratives

David Suissa’s article “Paralyzing Narratives” (May 9) hit four nails on the head. I believe that David could have added one more, however.

No agreement with Israel signed by the Palestinians, Iran, or any faction of radical Islam, will be worth any more than the piece of paper signed by Hitler that Neville Chamberlain waved to the world in 1938, shouting “Peace In Our Times.”

Agreements signed by countries and organizations who have a centuries-old culture of hatred, which is ingrained in all subsequent generations, will be totally self serving, and only instill a false sense of security.

Michael Gesas, Beverly Hills

David Suissa’s analysis of Palestinian narratives is interesting, but to suggest that he has captured the totality of their narrative — and discovered how it prevents them from good faith negotiations — is naive. Ultimately, the narratives he relates are his, not theirs.
Before paraphrasing, he ought to have read a book written by two teams of Israeli and Palestinian social scientists, “Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine.” It presents both narratives on facing pages — the left side relates the Israeli version of events, the right, the Palestinian version. The writers’ goal isn’t to figure out who is more correct; indeed, there is fairness and chauvinism on both sides. Understanding becomes possible only when one suspends disbelief in the other’s narrative.

We Jews always point out — and rightly so — how the Arabs’ failure to acknowledge our worldview prevents honest engagement. It is arrogant to suggest that we are permitted to dismiss theirs, or to present it in the simple version that Suissa offers.

Alan Paul via email

May Her Memory Be a Blessing

Reading about these women’s stories brought back feelings that I have always tried to suppress on Mother’s Day, but it gave me a better understanding of myself (“When a Mother Dies,” May 9). I lost my mother when I had just turned 13, she died of brain hemorrhage at age 46, it turned my life upside down, and I was full of insecurities. I really believe when my father died of a heart attack at 50, a broken heart contributed to his death, as my mother was the light in our lives. I had a strong understanding of each daughter’s reaction.

I wondered if I have been a good enough mother to my three children as I had few memories of my own mother.

I do feel blessed to be around for the birth of my first grandchild, and hope for many more!

Mandy Koren via email

Praise for Our Young Protectors

Great story (“Two L.A. Soldiers Shine in Service of Jewish State,” May 9). Only the Israeli Defense Forces preserves Israel from the hatred of its neighbors, and to hear about such enthusiasm and dedication in the young troops does my heart good. I served three years in the U.S. Army 40 years ago. Different time and different place, yet my time in the military was certainly the most formative time in my youth. My son-in-law has now served in the U.S. Army for around 10 years, including tours in Iraq. Liberal or conservative, American or Israeli, we must all be proud and grateful for our young people who defend us against the evil that is still all too common in this world.

Christopher Arend via jewishjournal.com


A story about Pamela Mayers-Schoenberg and her photography exhibition “The Vermont Project” (“Vermont Avenue Communities on Display in Santa Monica,” May 9) implied the project is ongoing. It was completed in 1998. The same story mischaracterized comments by Los Angeles Times art critic Leah Ollman. Ollman’s comments were about a different body of work by Mayers-Schoenberg.