January 24, 2019

Letters to the editor: Teshuva, Seoul food and a minyan a day

Tradition, Teshuvah and Trojans

I am a sometime Christian (more “some” than “time”) who relates perfectly to those Rob Eshman describes in this most excellent column (“What For?” Sept. 26). I totally agree that teshuvah “is not a Jewish thing; it’s a human thing [and that] Judaism (like Christianity) offers a way.” Needless to say I often struggle to find that “way.” I am married to a wonderful, spiritual Jewish lady, totally committed in heart and soul to her faith. She has taught me what it means to love and be loved. 

Ken Artingstall, Glendale  

Loved it, so spot on. I am one of those “holiday Jews” who goes for two reasons, maybe more that I’m not aware of, but I go because it feels good and sets a good example for my grandchildren. This year, my 8-year-old granddaughter was in the pop-up choir for Temple Isaiah and she asked me if I was going to come see her. I asked her if I have ever let her down. When she saw me in the audience and gave me that smile that only a papa and his granddaughter could feel, it said to me, as I wiped the tears away, that is God looking down on both of us.

What she didn’t know was as the services were held at Royce Hall at UCLA and I am such a big USC fan, that it was the first time I was on the UCLA campus … what a grandfather won’t do.

My wife makes me read Rob Eshman’s column each week, and I must say, he really has his hand squarely on the pulse of what’s going on in the world as well as the people he speaks for.

Allan Kretchman via email

Seoul Food

How clever to teach both about Judaism and multiethnicity via food (“What Roy Choi Can Teach the Jews, Oct. 3). Rob Eshman has given me a lot to think about as our organization continues to develop our interfaith work in L.A.

I’ll be referring to Reb Green’s list repeatedly as a personal guidepost. Tasty!

Shepha Schneirsohn Vainstein, president, reGeneration

A Minyan a Day …

Much gratitude to the Jewish Journal and Danielle Berrin for the wonderful Oct. 3 cover story, “Prayer: A Story for Yom Kippur. Berrin took us on her one-year odyssey as she said Kaddish for her mother at a daily minyan, in her case at Temple Beth Am. 

Her personal journey unfolded before us: from her being alone and afraid to understanding the power of saying Kaddish to finding the great gift of community made up of angels who attend daily minyans. Her writing was beautiful, insightful and moving, and Berrin managed to bring her insightful writing to the story as well as pour her heart and soul into her very personal story. Many thanks.

Susan Mishler, Beverly Hills

Exodus Complex

Severyn Ashkenazy did a magnificent job trying to sell present-day Poland to those seeking a “safe” country in Europe (“Safest Place in Europe, Sept. 26). However, the memories of the horrors committed in that country are still etched deeply in people’s psyches … and as my cousin Louis Begley (“Wartime Lies”) wrote in one of his best selling books, what was most shocking and hurtful was that his Polish neighbors, best friends, turned into bitter enemies of the Jews. Of course, there were many Poles who heroically saved Jews at great risk to their own lives, and are justly honored. 

Ashkenazy’s seemingly innocent reference to the “embattled,” “unsafe” and “overcrowded” Israel was meant to psychologically impact and dissuade Jews from going there, particularly should another en-masse exodus from Europe be necessary. And to toss out history so cavalierly is both hurtful and unwise.

He and the Jewish community at large can hold their heads up because there is an extraordinary Israel.

Cesia Bojarsky, Beverly Hills

Summer of War, Fall of Reflection 

I could only agree with everything this article had said (“5775: Old Conflicts, New Hopes,” Oct. 3). Arthur Cohn’s opinions on the war that took place this summer gave me another insight to understand what really happens in Israel as well as Gaza. The tragic kidnapping and murder of the three boys — as well as the death of many more — ended up saving the lives of many, a positive way to look at what happened to Israel. The sacrifices that were made prevented thousands of deaths. All across America, news reports continued to show heart-wrenching photos of dead children in Gaza without any implication as to what really happened, leading many to believe that the conflict was all Israel’s fault. This, many argue, led to a rise in anti-Semitism all over the world. Israel has seen Hamas’ endless building of tunnels, showing Israel what Hamas will continue to do in order to keep power. This summer’s conflict brought the civilians of Israel together in unison, relying on one another for strength, support and the will to keep living life as only the Israelis know how.

Melissa Lustman, via email