August 20, 2019

Letters to the Editor: Rob Eshman, David Myers, forgiveness and Holocaust deniers

Rob Eshman’s Fans Give Him a Shoutout

I will be one of those people who will miss you, Rob Eshman. Your column was always the first thing I read when I opened the Jewish Journal (“The Last Column,” Sept. 29). I truly enjoy your perspective and the many things happening locally and in the world.

Many people think your viewpoint is slanted, but I have found you to be the common sense in the middle of the controversy. Your column has often made me think about how I feel about something, about whether I agree or disagree. I like that. If you decide to have a public email commentary, I would love to be included.

Thank you for your many years of Jewish Journal involvement. It has been your column that has kept me reading the Jewish Journal because I live in the eastern area of Los Angeles County and do not get involved in most the Jewish happenings around the city.

Myra Weiss via email

I’m so sorry you’re leaving the Journal.  (Maybe you’ll write an occasional opinion piece, for old time’s sake?). Even though I feel like I should begin my cover-to-cover reading of the Journal with the rabbinic column on the weekly Torah portion, in reality I’ve always turned to your column first.  They are so insightful and to the point. I don’t know what I’ll do without my weekly fix.

You have led the Journal exactly where it needs to go.  May you find whatever you do next to be rewarding.

Phyllis Sorter via email

In his final column, Rob Eshman announced he is leaving as editor-in-chief and publisher of the bravely open Journal, reassuring the Journal’s faithful readers that the most “Jewish” worldview is an honestly open worldview that the Journal’s staff and readers can, as a complex yet unified community, benefit by if they maintain their grounding in the Judaic belief that “God is One,” while creating an increasingly complex world. Eshman states that the role of the Jewish journalist is to publish stories that reflect the complexities and uncertainties of living, knowing that in publishing stories regarding the complexities of even the smallish Jewish world, one will receive negative responses from somewhere — the Jewish communities in the United States, in Israel or even the small Jewish community in Iran.

A Jew must be courageous in the face of complexity, diversity and even anti-Semitism, yet have sufficient humility to accept those conditions without losing faith in ehad (unity). “Complexity within the context of unity” should continue to be the editorial policy of the Journal.

William E. Baumzweiger, Studio City

How about pitching your personal story as a modern Jewish contemporary replacement to parenthood? That way, the ache in my sad heart would weekly be replenished! Your parents have raised a fine human being. You have been a godsend as well as a blessing to my husband and me. Surviving daily now in this bleak age of that man occupying the White House is horrifying as well as preposterous. But your column (Marty Kaplan’s often, as well) have embraced our hearts, fears and humanism. But asking you to hold back your obvious talents is selfish.

I simply want my letter to be one more of the many you have already received saying you left me in tears and take with you my heart. 

You are never alone or unloved.

Elaine Kretchman via email

Your last column, not surprisingly, was deeply reflective, filled with gratitude and hope. You sound ready for the next (unknown) chapter in your life.

Thank you for enriching us every week with your humanity, your intelligence and your informed reporting. Your column helped me gain perspective on complex issues facing us during turbulent and confusing times in the news.

You will be missed.

Perla Karney via email

I love the Jewish Journal for its ability to reflect different points of view. And the most nourishing in form and content has been Rob Eshman. He will be missed, particularly by this Bronx Jew.

Also, Danielle Berrin’s column (“A Conversation With God,” Sept. 29) reflects humor and wisdom. It’s a distinct pleasure to read a column that makes me smile, think and experience a spiritual backbone.

Rick Edelstein via email

L’shanah tovah to you and your family, Rob. I know that I will miss you on and look forward to hearing somehow about your future endeavors. You are doing a wise thing, I think. This is a good time to make a change. I let go of the trapeze at just about the same age as you and I ended up grabbing on to some good bars on the other side.

Howard L. Hoffman via

Rob, I am a major Eshman fan, which you know, and although I am also a David Suissa fan because David is a mensch through and through with a heart as big as the Jewish world, I found myself reading your columns weekly often to learn what I thought about this, that or another issue. So, I will miss you in these pages, but am glad that we are friends and I hope that that friendship will continue until we’re both really old men — I have 10 years on you, by the way, but who’s counting? Gmar chatimah tovah v’hatzl’cha b’chol dar’checha!

Rabbi John Rosove, Temple Israel of Hollywood, via

David Myers Is Qualified for His New Job

Let’s see if I have this right. David Myers, a professor of Jewish history at UCLA, becomes CEO of the Center for Jewish History in New York, and is deemed by some people to be unfit for that position because they don’t like some of his political positions, not because of his credentials.

My reply, in the words of the Distinguished Professor of Tennis John McEnroe, is, “You cannot be serious!”

Stephen J. Meyers via email

Why Should I Ask for Forgiveness?

I am a Jew and I don’t like nor participate in Yom Kippur. I am a decent person throughout the entire year and there is absolutely no reason for me to participate in a holiday during which I am required to repent for the monstrous acts that I have committed all year long. None exists for me.

Now, I do know many Jews who have been horrible, lying cheats all year long. On Yom Kippur, they fast and attend shul. I ask myself, do they ask forgiveness from God or do these lowlifes consider cheating, etc., as nothing particularly offensive? I spent my Yom Kippur day enjoying a sandwich outdoors and gardening, and I felt completely at ease with myself.

Alexandra Joans, Los Angeles

Science vs. Holocaust Deniers

We never need to fear the Holocaust revisionists (“Rare Holocaust Photos Resurface in North Hollywood Home,” Sept. 29). The secret lies in the paper that the Germans used to print their images. Most of the companies that made the went out of business around 1945. Using fibers, taken from the photographic paper that the Germans used to make their images, today’s science and technology can trace almost to the exact year, month and country from where the images were printed. Because of this, Holocaust deniers can rant all they want about doctored images, but the truth is revealed in the paper, much like the words are revealed from the Torah.

Hallie Lerman, professional photographer, Los Angeles