September 23, 2019

Letters to the Editor: Hurricane Harvey, Trump bashing and David Myers

Amid a Disaster, a Sense of Community

I was a member of Congregation Beth Yeshurun while I lived in Houston (“A Tale of Two Synagogues in Harvey’s Wake,” Sept. 8). My sons attended the day school and observed their bar mitzvahs in the large sanctuary. I was in the synagogue a week before the flooding. It’s sad to see what has happened to all the congregations and to the homes of my friends. At moments like this, we know what it really means to belong to a community, and it strengthens us.

Rosalyn Borg via

Deciding How to Live an Ethical Life

Ethical behavior does not require the uninvited visits of hurricanes Harvey and Irma (“May Harvey Inspire Out Better Angels,” Sept. 8). It requires you to decide to live an ethical life and to practice daily the skills necessary to reach that goal. The Harvey and Irma events are just theater.

Jerry Daniels, Marina del Rey

Torah Is Timeless Guide to Moral Decisions

The world changing is nothing new (“Technology and the Age of Broken Tablets,” Sept. 8). From movable type to editing the human genome, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence, mankind has been challenged with moral decisions.

Throughout time, mankind has needed guidance as to what are the correct moral decisions.

This is the reason we have the Torah. It is a moral compass for all times.

We are the ones who need to be adopted and adapted to this new world.

The Torah is perfect, just as it is.

Leigh Greenberg, Los Angeles

Bashing President Trump Gets Old

Columnists Rob Eshman and Marty Kaplan lose credibility by their constant screeds about President Donald Trump.

Eshman’s dislike for the president (“I am not saying he is like Hitler, but … ”) approaches an obsession. His comment on what the president said about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is misleading (“Replacement Theology,” Sept. 8). Any objective view would acknowledge that the president asked Congress to pass legislation legalizing the so-called “Dreamers” status and not leave them in legal limbo caused by an earlier nonbinding — and unconstitutional — executive order.

Marty Kaplan makes no attempt at analysis of anything the president does or says. Instead he resorts to unending name-calling (“corrupt, deranged, deceitful, ignorant,” etc.)

If Eshman and Kaplan are trying to prove to their readers the correctness of their positions, they fail. If their purpose is only to vent their emotions, then they are not persuasive to anyone not already in the choir.

Mitchell W. Egers, Studio City

So, Rob Eshman: What do you say to the 800,000-plus future Americans who have filed papers for years, paid their fees and are waiting to come to the United States the legal  way?
As an American, I was one of those unfortunates. I married in Israel and thought my husband would automatically be able to return with me to New York. Well, I was so wrong. We had reams of papers to file that had to be translated into English, dollars to pay for translations, and we had to support ourselves, not knowing how long the process would take. It was hard to get a job as no one would hire either of us, as we were considered temporary workers. Some of the questions were insulting, such as, “Were you ever a male prostitute?” “Did you ever belong to the Communist Party?” etc.

And this was asked of a professional engineer and Holocaust survivor. We did it the proper way, and it took the better part of a year. Now why should anyone go through that process when you can just come here and forget about the proper channels? No, the “Dreamers” have no one to blame but their undocumented parents who used them for their own self-interests. I am sick and tired of this whole stupid mess. Not my problem. Try pulling this as an American in Mexico. You would wind up in jail.

Glenda Urmacher via email

David Myers and His New Job

Thanks for explaining this tempest (apparently beyond a teapot) (“Myers Gains Support After ‘Scurrilous’ Article,” Sept. 15). David Myers is a great new leader of the Center for Jewish History. Sorry he has to waste any time on this nonsense.

Elise Bernhardt via email

As another Jewish Studies major and commencement speaker for UCLA’s Jewish Studies Class of 1979, let’s look back at those professors. Amos Funkenstein made clear that the philosophy behind Gush Emunim in placing land as the key ingredient to the messianic age was no less dangerous than Shabbatai Zvi. Arnold Band was also not a supporter of the expanding settlements and favored reconciliation. In teaching about Nobel Prize winner Shmuel Yosef Agnon, he spoke about the fact that a common theme in Agnon’s stories was the fear of leaving one’s home and finding it occupied, a reflection on the plight of Arabs in 1948.

Or consider Janet Hadda or Deborah Lipstadt. In short, the professors who laid the foundation for the Jewish Studies program at UCLA all would be cast by [Myers’ detractors] as traitors and self-hating Jews.

You think it is mere coincidence that 500 leading Jewish academicians all side with Myers? That these professors are less informed than you? You are entitled to disagree with Myers or any of these folks. They may all be wrong. But you are seeking to deny them a seat at the Jewish table because they believe that Israel’s positions on a range of issues are not acceptable, even if they deeply believe in the concept of a Jewish state.

The moral inconsistency here runs deep. The right did not hold its tongue when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Oslo agreement, not in Israel and not in the United States. They felt he was wrong. But they did more than that. They created an atmosphere where they enabled his assassination. Heck, today more than 50 percent of Israeli Jews believe that Rabin was actually involved in planning his own assassination, which was supposed to fail in order to silence his critics. And they accuse us of hijacking the Jewish narrative?

Stephen Feingold, Stamford, Conn.

The Never-Ending Immigrant Issue

I understand and have empathy for the arguments made in this story (“Israeli and Undocumented,” Sept. 15). I am certainly not against giving these Israelis some type of legal status. However, being in the country illegally because their parents overstayed their visa/green card status is problematic. Yes, it was their parents’ fault not theirs. So if we allow the children to stay and give them status, what do we do with their parents, who clearly violated immigration law? How can we reward this law-breaking by the parents? They clearly broke immigration law knowingly and there needs to be some type of consequences for the parents.

It seems very apparent to me that once the new DACA law is passed and put into law, the liberals are going to say we have to keep their parents and extended families in the country. After all, how can you break up a family? It goes on and on and on. When does it end?

Steven Richman via

Berman Is Gone, but Not Forgotten

We’ll cherish every episode of “Curb Your Enthusiam” — classic comedy at its finest (“Larry David Revives ‘Curb,’ Finds Confederate Jewish Roots,” Arts and Entertainment Fall Preview). We’ll miss Shelly Berman as Larry’s father. What a legend we have lost.

Jeffrey Diamond via

Robert Wexler to Leave
AJU Next Year

Rabbi Wexler is a mensch (“AJU’s Wexler Will Step Down in 2018,” Sept. 15). May you enjoy a long, fulfilling, and enjoyable retirement.

Bobby Meth via

Doing Justice to Reb Mimi

That was a beautiful story that captures the essence of this unique woman, whom I also met (“In L.A., Reb Mimi Found Herself, Her Soul Family and a Way Home,” Sept. 8). She needs to come to Australia!

Corinne Markov via