September 23, 2019

Letters to the editor: The Federation takes on Iran, Running Springs returns and more

Did Federation Toe the Line or Overstep?

Thank you for Rob Eshman’s thoughtful, reasoned piece regarding Federation’s position on the Iran deal (“Federation: Take It Back,” July 31). Regardless of one’s personal view on the issue, I was stunned that Federation took a position, which I find wholly inappropriate and entirely outside of its proper role. I say this as a Federation donor, and one whose wife worked in senior Federation leadership.
It is heartening that in an environment that often does not reward thoughtful discussion, Eshman called for exactly that on an issue of great complexity and importance. I lean in support of the deal, but certainly respect those who, after study and analysis, oppose it. Unfortunately, those people appear to be a minority, drowned out by the shrillest voices who label any Jew with an opinion contrary to the current Israeli government’s a traitor or a phony Jew. We are better than this, and I hope pieces such as Eshman’s help to reset our dialogue.

Alex DeGood, Los Angeles

I appreciate Eshman’s thoughtful and rational article supporting the Iran deal. Particularly in the face of so many who have never read the deal, and even more who have no idea how close Iran is to a nuclear device.

I am dismayed by the push-button responses of so many uninformed but not surprised by the extremism of Benjamin Netanyahu (who is campaigning our Congress) and Mike Huckabee’s comments about the deal leading Jews to the ovens. 

David Edelstein via email

The position of Eshman and of the rabbis who signed “A Rabbinic Letter of Support for the Iran Agreement” (July 31) — some of whom are colleagues and even friends of mine — should not influence Federation at all. Bottom line on the whole negotiating process and its result shows a bias that willfully disregards the lessons of history.  Probably the best comparison is the Neville Chamberlain appeasement of 1938, giving Hitler what he wanted and crowing about Peace in Our Time. That appeasement did not guarantee peace, it guaranteed World War II. We won that one, thank God, and finally ended it because we had the bomb and Japan didn’t. Our American Jewish Federations need to keep that in mind, even though some of our officials in Washington — elected and appointed — choose to ignore it, as do their self-deluded supporters.  

Well done, Federation.

Rabbi Baruch Cohon via email

Noble/Notable Abstentions 

It was interesting to note a certain commonality in the two open letters signed by local rabbis regarding positions against and for the Iran deal. Absent from each list were the names of some rather prominent and widely respected rabbis in our community. Possibly, those rabbis were not contacted or were out of town. But I believe the absence of some rabbis from each list was not accidental. Clearly, as within the Jewish community and the general population as well, there is a third position regarding the Iran deal, and that is, “We really don’t know, or are not sure, if the deal is good or not.”  Knowing of and respecting some of the rabbis whose names did not appear on either list, I prefer to believe they too are not sure and in their predictably wise judgment, decided not to lead others to conclusions while they themselves were in doubt.

Stu Bernstein, Santa Monica

Fresh Springs in Summertime

We were so surprised to see our son pictured in the Jewish Journal article on Moshava Malibu (“A Fresh Start in Running Springs,” July 31). He was able to participate in this wonderful camp through Yachad, The National Jewish Council for Disabilities, which provided the additional services for him to participate in all of the camp activities as a full member of his bunk. This type of inclusiveness is a hallmark of this camp thanks to the Yachad-Moshava Malibu partnership. We are incredibly grateful.

Ernestina Osorio and David Zingmond, Los Angeles

Thank you for bringing attention to Bnei Akiva’s remarkably expedient purchase and revitalization of the camp in Running Springs for Moshava and its new retreat center. It sounds like the camp is off to a very successful first summer, filling an important gap in Southern California’s array of Jewish camp options.

We at Habonim Dror Camp Gilboa see this development as a healthy sign that Zionist youth movement summer camp is indeed alive and well in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. We moved into our beautiful Bluff Lake campsite in 2011, and are proud to offer our unique camping experience in our own home for the first time in 27 years. It is heartening to see that Bnei Akiva is also thriving once again in its own home after many years of absence. We welcome Camp Moshava to the neighborhood and look forward to future collaboration on the mountain. 

Liz Bar-El, Habonim Dror Camp Gilboa board of directors, president