January 16, 2019

Letters to the editor: Father’s Day, Theodore Bikel, the ethics of keeping kosher and more

You Can’t Spell ‘Father’ Without ‘Her’

This is one of the most thoughtful and touching columns to appear in recent memory (“From Dad’s Art Studio to the Rabbi’s Bimah,” June 13). How lucky for Rabbi Zoe Klein to be his daughter, and how lucky for him to be her father. And thank you for describing so vividly his feelings about mortality. Death and art are intertwined, as are life and art, as are life and death. The parallels of his artistic life and the rabbi’s religious life show how similar they are in giving shape to our existence.

Jim Ruxin via jewishjournal.com

What a wonderful and insightful article. I will treasure its lesson.

Beth Kaiman Zwick via jewishjournal.com

Clarification, From the Source

The article written by Danielle Berrin about the Puah fertility conference conveyed a good sense of the seminar and the capacity for a couple to take advantage of modern fertility technologies within the context of full commitment to halachah (“A New Era for Torah-based Fertility Treatment,” June 13). 

The first viewpoint cited in my quotation, that infertility is a decree from God for which we should not intervene, is not a “traditional talmudic opinion,” but rather is the view of Turnus Rufus, the Roman governor. The Talmud, Bava Batra 10a, presents this as a debate between Turnus Rufus and Rabbi Akiva. The clear implication being that Rabbi Akiva’s view — that when a person is going through difficult times, we are commanded to partner with God to alleviate the suffering and find solutions — is indeed considered the traditional talmudic and Jewish perspective.

Rabbi KalmanTopp, Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills

A Merciful Coincidence

Is it possible that there are ritual laws, which just happen to be ethical as well (“Is Kosher Ethical?” June 13)? We don’t follow Torah commandments because they make us feel good about what we eat, we follow them because they are Torah. There is nothing ethical, on the surface, about not eating pork, but we follow that law too. We follow Torah because it is Torah, and Baruch Ha-
Shem, the laws defined in the Torah provide for a more humane slaughter of animals.

Rich Bonn via jewishjournal.com

There is no law, regulation or standard, however intended for the good of all, that has not been circumvented or perverted for self-interest or downright cruelty. It would be helpful if there were a society that reviewed Kosher vendors and posted their work publicly.

Regina Weiner via jewishjournal.com

UCLA’s Trials

Your June 5 edition featuring “Ground Zero” at UCLA was your best issue ever (“Battleground California,” May 30). Congratulations to Jared Sichel and the others for excellent reporting.

As a UCLA alumna, I hope you will follow up with articles about other campuses facing similar problems.

Selma Alpert, North Hollywood

90 More Years! 90 More Years!

Thanks for the enjoyable piece on Theo Bikel, who has been a gem among gems in the Jewish cultural world for decades (“Theodore Bikel: A Man in Full,” June 6). His acting and singing are a pleasure to watch and his performances here at Theatre J in Washington, D.C., were joyous. And the best thing was having him as a dinner guest whose stories were among the best I ever heard. May he perform for another 90 years.

Aviva Kempner, Washington, D.C.

Israel’s Presidential Problem

Israel needs all the good PR possible (“Israel’s Ugly Election,” June 13.) I would have loved to see someone like (Elie) Wiesel or (Natan) Sharansky as president. But that was not to be — and I hope that the new president will prove to be a good choice.

Mel Wacks via jewishjournal.com


The Letters section of the June 13 issue should have credited Ken Lautman for the “True Roots of Anti-Semitism” submission and Norman Lerner for the “Vouching for Veterans” submission.