September 22, 2019

Letters to the editor: The Berlin Wall, Maher/Affleck/Harris II, voting and more

Chipping Away Another Brick in the Wall

Thank you so very much for the excellent description of the celebration (“Lessons From a Wall,” Nov. 14). I lived in Germany almost continuously from 1971, when I went as a U.S. soldier, until I returned to California in 2004. Nov. 9, 1989, was one of the most memorable days in my life. I drove from Frankfurt to the border of East Germany where thousands of people in their Trabant and Wartburg cars were stuck in a huge traffic jam together with BMWs and Benzes and Audis. It was one huge party! The joy of so many East Germans breathing the heady air of freedom for the first time was fantastic and also made me proud to have served almost 20 years earlier during the Cold War. 

In January 1990, I flew to Berlin with a hammer and chisel. I had the joy of playing woodpecker by chipping away at the Wall, while also shaking hands with an East German Volkspolizist through a hole in the Wall, a man who was just as glad to see the Wall come down as I was.

Christopher Arend, via

Celebrity Death Match for Peace 

Rob Eshman is exactly right (“Maher/Affleck/Harris II,” Nov. 7). I share David Lehrer’s positive review of Salam Al-Marayati’s recent position — you will recall that he’s the same guy who accused the Mossad of masterminding 9/11. It took Christians centuries to get past expulsions, crusades, science denial and more. Maybe we can speed up the process for Muslims with some truly open and honest dialogue.

Barbara H. Bergen, Los Angeles

I’m still hyped on Bill Maher giving it to the oppressive egomaniac Charlie Rose. Maher put him in his place and didn’t let Rose do his constant annoying interrupting. Hooray for Maher on that one. He always knows the facts.

Joe Cohen, via

If You Teach It, They Will Come (to the Voting Booth)

Marty Kaplan’s otherwise eloquent analysis of why Americans seem to prefer it when their TVs deliver news about crime instead of news about what is happening in government neglects one vital component (“Nightcrawler Nation,” Nov. 7): We have spent generations neglecting the political education of our young. At some point in the last several decades, we decided that civics at the high school level was somehow a fringe enterprise; therefore, we have now graduated millions of young people who go out into the world with no basic knowledge of how their country, their state, their county or their city works. In other words, they are ignorant of government at all levels. No wonder they are drawn to the “if it bleeds, it leads” school of journalism. No wonder they cannot be bothered to vote.

Joan Walston, Santa Monica

You’re Your Worst Critic, cont.

I found David Suissa’s article “Exporting Self-Criticism” (Oct. 31) to be very insightful in the way he interpreted President Reuven Rivlin’s words. Israel’s approach in how they lead their country often contrasts with other countries. While I see the value and importance of Rivlin addressing Israel’s flaws in order to correct them, I’m conflicted as to the public way he dealt with the matter. Referring to Israel as a “sick society” is somewhat harsh. Extreme words like those create an opening for misinterpretation and attack by the media. Israel, a state full of controversy, is constantly in a bad light with the media in general, and this lends itself to contribute to the animosity. While I highly commend Israel for constantly looking for ways to grow and fix where it falls short, it must deal with these issues in a tactful and sensitive manner.

Aleeza Hirschmann, Los Angeles


A Nov. 7 article on the Sephardic Jewish Film Festival (“Sephardic Film Fest Fetes Beloved Israeli Entertainer”) omitted the full name of the Sephardic Educational Center’s president. His name is Neil J. Sheff. 

A Nov. 14 article on historic Jewish women doctors in Los Angeles (“Caring for the Tubercular, the Invalid and the Poor — Three Pioneering Jewish Women Doctors”) should have stated that the Mount Sinai Home for Chronic Invalids was located in the Belvedere neighborhood of Los Angeles.