June 30, 2017

Uplifting Stories

I just read Ed Elhaderi’s story and can’t thank you enough (“My Quest for Fulfillment: How I Left My Roots in Libya to Find a New Life in Judaism,” June 23). I’m 88 years old and am still learning. I’m the daughter of Jewish immigrants and so happy when others find love in Judaism. 

Shirley Goldenberg

via email

I just finished reading your article about Rafi Sivron (“The Unseen Hero,” June 2). I think it’s great that he is getting the attention he deserves. 

Thank you for a great article!

Ryan Stanley

via email

Bringing Civility Back to Political Debate

David Suissa suggests that political debate should occur on weeknights rather than Shabbat (“Rabbis Should Aim Higher Than Politics,” June 23). However, if politics is “ugly and divisive,” as he suggests, no debate is likely to be fruitful. I think the objective instead should be to make politics something other than “ugly and divisive.”

Politics has been defined as the process of deciding who gets what, when and how. Of special importance in our democratic political system is the relative openness of the system, which enhances opportunities to have a say; the idea that the strongly placed and advantaged do not always prevail in the competition; and that ordinary people can and do have an impact upon the result. I feel that rabbis can legitimately dwell in their sermons on the usefulness of the process of politics without arguing for a particular result.

They also can contrast conflicting points of view and ask their congregants to decide for themselves. This is a good way to establish that issues are not “black and white.” (I have taught that way at Cal State Long Beach.)

I have heard Rabbi Jacob Schachter, a leading decisor of the Orthodox Union, argue that every political issue has a solution in Jewish law. If so, this would be the most ambitious way to deal with the problem. It certainly leaves the “ugliness” behind.

Barry H. Steiner

Emeritus Professor of Political Science

Cal State Long Beach

I like what David Suissa said. Our souls should be touched and elevated — that’s one of the reasons I go to temple on Shabbat: to shut the chaos of the week gone by and have my soul soak up the words that I’m hearing from the pulpit. Just maybe they will guide me to go higher than I did last week.

Susan Cohn

Redding, Calif.

Whose Land Is Israel Occupying?

The left thinks it owns the language. It does not! In his short op-ed (“50 Years Later: The Fighting Continues,” June 23), Adam Wergeles, no fewer than five times refers to “the occupation” of the West Bank — viz., Judea and Samaria — part of the ancient territory of Israel. 

Whom does Wergeles and his leftist cohorts think this land is occupied from? Which country? If he answers, “The Palestinians,” let him tell me what country this is. There is no Palestinian state or country, there never has been. It is a made-up name, just like the West Bank. 

If anything, one can say that this territory was taken back from Jordan after the 1967 Six-Day War, when Jordan lost it as a result of Israel’s victory over the aligned Arab countries that were about to attack and sought to destroy Israel. But Jordan never had any claim to the West Bank. 

Jordan held the land as a result of the armistice agreement between the combatants — the so-called Green Line — after the ’48 Arab-Israeli War of Independence. 

In a war, especially when not the aggressor, a country does not return land that was taken back from its enemy. Except in relatively few cases, as in the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt after Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel, conquered territory is incorporated within the confines of the victorious country. 

The Southwestern states of the United States have a sizable Mexican population. Does this mean that they can claim this territory as occupied? 

Saying “occupied” doesn’t make it so.

C.P. Lefkowitz

Rancho Palos Verdes


The Sunday show time for “I’m Not a Comedian … I’m Lenny Bruce” at Theatre 68 was incorrect in the June 23 edition of the Journal. It can be seen 3 p.m. Sundays.

An item in the June 23 edition of Moving and Shaking mistated the official name of the American Society for Yad Vashem gala. The name of the event was Salute to Hollywood.

In Marty Kaplan’s column in the June 23 edition (“Hunk Hawks Hideous Health Bill”), references to Medicare should have been Medicaid.

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email: letters@jewishjournal.com; or fax: (213) 368-1684.

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