August 17, 2019

Letters to the Editor: Money & religion, comparing Trump with Obama

How Trump Is Judged, Compared With Obama

Rob Eshman’s last column was 100 percent on the mark (“The Double Standard,” July 28). Thank you for pointing out little-remembered but very important facts about the Barack Obama administration to Donald Trump supporters within and outside of the Jewish community.

Every ray of truth shines like a beacon in this dark night of Trump.

Myra Newman, via email

Money, Religion and the Alternatives

Enjoy your provocative columns!

Regarding Rob Eshman’s “Religion and Money” (Aug. 4): Why not set up some sort of program for the donation of previously used bar mitzvah suits for those parents and sons unable to afford a new form-fitted, expensive designer suit. This would truly be a blessing.

Joe Goldstein, via email

Many synagogues do allow people with financial difficulties to get reduced-price or free High Holy Days tickets, but it is difficult to get those tickets. Jewish families have been known to have to jump through multiple hoops, which include speaking with temple employees, showing tax returns, writing essays and more in order to get those discounted or free tickets to services that every Jew is entitled to.

“Progressive cost models” are attempts to maintain a balance between the financial needs of the temple and the cost of tickets and/or membership. But here again, these are models that do have heavily “suggested” donation amounts.

Many of us have been unaffiliated for years, and this has been a sticking point. We are bothered and offended that synagogues demand fees, rather than having faith that those of us who can give will support our communities.

The Chai Center in Los Angeles, and Temple Ner Simcha in Westlake Village operate without dues, membership or ticket fees. After 30 years, Chai Center is still open and inviting to everyone. Temple Ner Simcha switched to the no-dues/cost model last year. The Journal published a nice article about the motivations for the switch last year. 

As a donor and board member of Ner Simcha, I can vouch that there are significant financial challenges to creating and maintaining this model. I also can vouch for the positive feelings I have knowing that my support helps Jewish families.

I encourage every temple to examine this model.

Mark Mushkin, Westlake Village

A ‘Bold’ Choice to Become Orthodox

Columnist Gina Nahai’s shock over bumping into a childhood schoolmate, one she referred to as having been “least likely to become domesticated” but now bewigged, long-skirted and with several children in tow at the kosher supermarket, is utterly patronizing (“I’ve Seen This Woman Before,” Aug. 4).

Nahai assumes that the “boldness” she once knew in her former friend had been replaced by a “tamer, more rewarding connection to motherhood and religion.” As one who also traded some degree of social defiance for a similar path of Orthodoxy, I can tell you that choosing to become Orthodox, which went against the paths of all my friends and family, was the most daring and bold decision I ever could have made.

Judy Gruen, Los Angeles

Times Have Changed Since the Days of Leviticus

Dennis Prager is absolutely right that Muslim immigrants are causing Europe to go into a death spiral (“Wisdom vs. Compassion,” July 21). The Journal reader who invoked the line in Leviticus, “When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong,” conveniently forgets that in that time, the strangers did not assault, rape and kill their hosts.

Stephen Meyers, via email