December 12, 2018

Letters to the editor: J Street students, sharia and inclusion

A Word From J Street Student

As a student leader of J Street U at the Claremont Colleges, I feel obliged to respond to David Suissa’s recent column, “J Street’s Real Failure.” 

I have relatives living in Beersheba and have heard from them firsthand the terror of living under rocket attack from Gaza. Of course, I would never tell them how to vote or what policies to support. But it is no way arrogant to conclude, as most Israeli politicians concluded more than 20 years ago, that the only way to end the conflict is by making peace with the Palestinians based on a two-state solution.

The problem, as Secretary of State John Kerry discovered, is finding leaders on both sides who are willing to look beyond their own short-term political interests and courageous enough to make the compromises necessary for peace.

The status quo feels comfortable enough for now for Israelis, but eventually if the occupation continues, Israel will face a choice of remaining a Jewish homeland or remaining a democracy. Without a two-state solution, it cannot do both. There is also the cost of occupation on the lives of Palestinians, which I care about, in large part, because of the Jewish values on which I was raised.

This may seem “boring” to Suissa, but some ideas are so big and so fundamental that they need to be repeated until they finally sink in. J Street’s mission is to keep that flame alive, even through the periods when the parties seem deadlocked.

J Street and J Street U provide a voice for so many of us who feel let down by the established leaders of our community who offer nothing more than blind support of everything the Israeli government does. There’s nothing boring about this. It’s essential. It offers my generation a way to remain engaged with Israel — and it offers Israel a path to a better future.

Sage Lachman, Pitzer College, J Street U Claremont Colleges president and Southwest regional co-chair

Does Star Power Have Staying Power?

The article is right on (“Denounce Sharia Everywhere,” May 16.). I’m really pleasantly surprised that the Jewish Journal used it, since I’ve found the Jewish Journal to be politically correct and left-leaning. I’ll continue to enjoy some of Hollywood’s product, even though I recognize that the people who produce it are ordinary people with a talent to entertain. The sole ability of many of them is merely to read lines well, with proper direction. When they start believing their own hype about their wisdom, they have gone around the bend. Let us see how long this current protest lasts and if it grows to include all the related issues listed above, or if the Hollywood crowd tires of it and moves on to some new issue.

Jerome Liner via

The Need to Increase Inclusion 

Kudos to Michelle Wolf for exposing this little-known secret that Jews with mental illness, and their family members, overwhelmingly experience shame and isolation within our Jewish community (“Let It go: Removing the Stigma,” May 9). Such stigma is well-documented in the general community, but is more prevalent in our community, despite evidence that mental illness is a brain or chemical disorder and not the individual’s fault. This is a double burden for our Jewish family members who may not easily blend into the mental health rehabilitation services offered in the general population. This is often due to cultural differences, as many with serious psychiatric illness come from much different backgrounds than our Jewish family members and the focus of rehabilitation services is on social integration. Medication has contributed greatly to the reduction in symptoms, but is inadequate without the proper social support. We need to be able to be more inclusive as a community as the key to rehabilitation is medication, family and social support. 

Adrienne Sheff Eisenberg, Tarzana, CA

It’s All Greek to Me

I enjoyed the interview with Matthew Weiner (“Weiner Talks the Societal Reality Mirrored in His ‘Mad Men,’ ” May 16), but writer Jonathan Maseng may want to re-view some “Seinfeld” episodes.

He observes that the “Seinfeld” character George Costanza, “though clearly Jewish in so many ways, was made out to be Greek.” Who knew? The name’s Italian, and George’s father was shown visiting relatives in Italy.

Gene Sculatti, Northridge, CA


A story about the online invitation service Mitzvites (“A New Way to Send Out Invitations,” Mazel Tov Supplement, Spring 2014) provided an incorrect amount that the site charges. It is $249. The story also mischaracterized the relationship Will Bernstein and Jess Wall have with the company ZeroLag. Bernstein has worked there for two years; Wall does not work there but handles the day-to-day operations of Mitzvites.