August 23, 2019

Letters to the Editor: David Suissa, Politics from the Bimah, Iran nuclear deal and Monty Hall

Journal Under New Leadership

I’ve been a reader of the Jewish Journal since the days I started work at the Shoah Foundation about 15 years ago. I really appreciate this local paper with a Jewish take on life. I want to wish the staff well with the recent change of leadership and I look forward to continuing to support your work. I also wanted to mention the column by Dani Klein Modisett. I really enjoy her humorous take on life.

Sonya Sharp via email

I just read the first issue of the Journal since the leadership has changed. Kudos!

It is a surprising and wonderful difference. The Journal is more engaging, friendly and respectful of the diversity of its readers. There isn’t any of the prior judgmental, negative and hostile tone.

“Beginnings are important,” as reflected by the editorial that opens the issue. It is welcoming and demonstrates an intellectual openness and curiosity. This approach also has clearly determined the choice of writers in the issue and probably resulted in their adopting a similar tone. I hope you can keep it up!

Charles Portney, Santa Monica

David Suissa: Congratulations on your maiden voyage. You’ve gathered an excellent and what promises to be an eclectic group of personalities to fill your pages.

I look forward to your successes at the helm of a great Jewish paper.

Gordon Gelfond via email

How refreshing and enjoyable it was to read the Jewish Journal in the first edition under the leadership of David Suissa as editor-in-chief. Conspicuous by its absence is the biased, liberal-left diatribe that was so prevalent in previous editions.

I enjoyed reading Karen Lehman Block’s column (“Toward a Radical Middle,”  Oct. 6). She pointed out how so many of the regressive left have displayed their dislike for Israel and, in fact, began to spread lies about Israel.

I enjoyed the cartoon; it was devoid of the liberal, left bias that was so apparent in the cartoons by Steve Greenberg.

I commend David Suissa for his editorship and hope it directs the Journal to focus primarily on a publication that services the Los Angeles-area Jewish community rather than a politically biased publication that repeats the talking points of the fake news liberal left mainstream media.

Marshall Lerner, Beverly Hills

Politics From the Bimah on Kol Nidre

In his story “Heckler Interrupts Kol Nidre Sermon” (Oct. 6), Eitan Arom recounts Rabbi John Rosove’s scathing remarks in his sermon attacking President Donald Trump. These political calumnies are unsuitable in a place of worship, especially on the most holy day of the year.

It is interesting that in all my years davening in Orthodox shuls, I have never heard political diatribes against an American president, either of the right or left persuasion — not once! Is there a reason why leftist rabbis vent in this most crude way and Orthodox rabbis do not? Is it because many left-leaning rabbis and their congregants think less of the Torah than they do of their leftist/fascist principles? As Norman Podhoretz writes in his book “Why Are Jews Liberals?” “Liberalism has become the religion of American Jews.”

But why dump on Trump? In his less than nine months as president, after eliminating many of former President Barack Obama’s odious regulations, the stock market has soared, reaching unprecedented highs; the GDP has grown by more than 3 percent in his first quarter as president — not achieved in all eight years under Obama, who averaged only 1.4 percent — and the job market is thriving with meaningful jobs and increasing wages. 

Does the left not think that this is significant? Of course they do, but only if it occurs under a Democratic president.

C.P. Lefkowitz, Rancho Palos Verdes

This story illuminates perfectly why I hate politics from the bimah. For me, going to shul/synagogue, especially during the Chagim, is about heart-opening, not mind-bending. I need to connect with the Holy One. I need to learn how to practice compassion and forgiveness.

If I had been the rabbi on that pulpit, I would have stopped mid-sentence when the so-called heckler stood up, and offered a teaching on the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy. I would have reminded the kahal that Yom Kippur is the Great Shabbat and a day of introspection and forgiveness, not the time for resentment, anger and self-serving applause.   

Evelyn Baran, Los Angeles

The sanctuary at Temple Israel of Hollywood has photographs from the civil rights movement of Rabbi Max Nussbaum with Martin Luther King. As long as there is injustice, rabbis must speak out against it.

Michael Schwartz via Facebook

I wouldn’t have walked out but I would have been irritated. I agree with Rabbi David Wolpe: There are moments when they must speak about politics but those times are limited. I don’t want to hear about Trump at synagogue services. I rarely want to hear about him at all.

Dena Nechama Smith via Facebook

Applause at a religious service? Gevalt! It’s inappropriate and disruptive at bar/bat mitzvah services, and it would be even more so at Yom Kippur. And it’s shul. It’s the holiest day of the year; the D’Var Torah should be a D’var Torah and one which nourishes the soul, stimulates the mind, and calms the heart. Keep the secular speeches for a different venue, not a religious service.

Lisa Shepard via Facebook

Iran Nuclear Deal Up for Review

Larry Greenfield’s argument to decertify the Iran nuclear deal (“It Was a Fraud From the Start,” Oct. 6) fails completely as it is no different than the reason many Donald Trump supporters give for their continuing support of the president: “Hillary Clinton was a liar and a thief.”  

Greenfield alleges Trump should decertify the deal because: 

• Barack Obama wasn’t a qualified negotiator.

• Obama failed to enforce his red line in Syria. 

• Tehran residents have chanted, “Death to Israel.”  

• The nuclear deal rewarded a terrorist state.  

• Trump has decried it as one of the worst deals ever. 

Those points may be true, but they are irrelevant. The election is over and the agreement was signed. Neither can be changed. 

Greenfield makes one more point in his argument to decertify the nuclear agreement with Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Netanyahu has said Iran has become more dangerous since the agreement was signed.” The statement may be true, but the statement by itself doesn’t argue why decertifying the agreement would reduce the danger to Israel.

Michael Ernstoff via email

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Larry Greenfield’s op-ed. I commend him on writing such a powerful and persuasive piece about the Iran nuclear deal. It was extremely well written and well thought out.

Greenfield’s eloquent writing style and his research on the impact of the Iran nuclear deal was very impressive. I would like to see more stories written by him in the Journal.

Karen Reissman via email

A Doctor’s Response to Death

As a physician, I saw death almost daily, but I did not know what it really was until I faced it 30 years ago (“As I Lay Dying” Oct. 6). Having just returned from Israel the night before, I restarted my running routine at 6 the next morning; I was suddenly trapped by two Rottweilers, who had broken out of their compound less than a block from my home. Each took turns ripping into me until I could no longer stand, and saw death face-to-face. Then a neighbor suddenly appeared and threw a rake and broom into my hands to fend the dogs off until the police arrived.

I have lived in the moment ever since and see every second as precious. I sympathize with the tragedy Kay Wilson experienced. I know two elderly neighbors, who always walked a little later in the morning, were saved from the jaws of fate that day. Life is too precious to waste. We have to look out for our neighbors and be the good Samaritans to anybody in need.

Jerome P. Helman, Venice

Remembering Monty Hall

Baruch dayan emet. May his memory be a blessing for the whole Los Angeles Jewish community (“Monty Hall, Philanthropist and Host of ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ 96,” Oct. 6).

Helene Sicherman via Facebook

Fond memories of Hall joining Rabbi Pressman doing the annual Israel Bond drive “Let’s Make a Deal”-style at Temple Beth Am. I will choose to remember him that way.

Clinton Thomas Bailey via Facebook