March 20, 2019

Letters: Pittsburgh Shooting, Election Results and Trump and a Free Press

Pittsburgh Shooting
The worldwide response of Jews to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting shows that Israel is not a nation or a people. Israel is a family.
Jerald Brown, Sylmar

Election Aftermath
Dan Schnur writes “the predictable result of a hyper-polarized electorate is a gridlocked  government …” (“Anger and Gridlock,” Nov. 9).

True, but the equally and more devastating consequence of hyper-polarized people is the violence in America at unacceptable levels never seen before. It has never been truer that there is no middle ground for those who don’t agree. Either you are with me or against me.

This insanity must stop for the good of our society.
Warren J. Potash, Moorpark 

Where Are Liberal Jews to Turn?
David Suissa’s column “On Bari Weiss, Franklin Foer and the Values That Sustain Our People” (posted online, Nov. 5) overlooks a deeper concern: Do socially liberal, pro-Israel American Jews have a political home?

I want no part of a Republican Party that condones President Donald Trump’s hateful, demeaning and divisive rhetoric; narcissism; authoritarianism; demagoguery; racism; misogyny; disregard for facts; contempt for the rule of law; and incendiary attacks on immigrants, minorities and political opponents. Trump’s values are incompatible with my Jewish and American values, irrespective of his support for Israel.

However, I won’t stay in a Democratic Party that coddles anti-Semitic hate mongers like Louis Farrakhan and the Women’s March leaders, that increasingly condones anti-Semitism when framed as anti-Zionism, and that vilifies Israel for the consequences of Palestinian hate-incitement, terror and intransigence. If the Democratic Party follows Britain’s Labour Party under anti-Semite Jeremy Corbyn, it won’t be my home, either.
Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco

Trump and a Free Press
I know that rabbis and Journal readers share the same goals: what’s best for our people, what’s best for Israel, what’s best for the United States of America.

That is why I would like to point out that it is not partisan to criticize a president who says at a major news conference that the press is the enemy of the people. That is a direct attack on democracy.
Marilyn Russell, Culver City

Jews in America
The picture on the cover of the Nov. 9 edition of the Journal showing the horror of Kristallnacht reminded me of how fortunate I am to be a Jew born in the United States. I was born a few months before the attack on Pearl Harbor and, during the first four years of my life, about 2 in 5 Jews in the world were exterminated. When I consider all the things that irritated me when I grew up, I remind myself how fortunate I am, like every Jew who was not subject to the Holocaust, effectively a survivor.

David Suissa pointed out in his column how fortunate Jews are in America. His headline is “How Good Is America for the Jews?” He should have eliminated word “the.”

We Jews are living in the most fortunate time for Jews ever. We are in a country that has not only accepted us but also condemned people who try to do harm to us notwithstanding all of the rhetoric of high-profile Jew haters.

We have a president who is extraordinarily supportive of Israel, which has been a haven for persecuted Jews all over the world. Journal Political Editor Shmuel Rosner pointed out so poignantly that some Jews and, in particular Israeli Jews, look with horror at how some of the American Jews vilify President Donald Trump. Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer has stated that he is “not aware of a single non-Israeli leader other than Trump that has made such a strong statement in condemning anti-Semitism.” Polarization among Jews when it comes to support of Israel could be more harmful to us than a lot of rhetoric from Jew haters who are given a platform in the media but have relatively little power to do harm to us.
Marshall Lerner, Beverly Hills

‘Tempest’ Actor Sounds Like ‘Fiddler’ Actor
We were at the Nov. 8 performance of “The Tempest.”As Mark Swed wrote in the Los Angeles Times, there were multiple issues with the production, which needs to be rethought. Concerning actor Lior Ashkenazi, when he walked on stage, he looked like Prospero. He was dressed like Prospero. He moved like Prospero. But when he opened his mouth, he sounded like Tevye.
Daniel Fink, Beverly Hills 

On Crime and Kristallnacht
Kudos to the Los Angeles Police Department for the efficient and quick response and arrest of a suspect in the wig-swiping incidents in Valley Village this week.

This alleged hate crime was quickly solved because of community response and numerous tips called in to investigators. Working together with the authorities enabled parents and children in the Village to quickly get back to their normal routine without surrendering to fear.

Separately, regarding the Journal’s cover story on Kristallnacht (“The End of the Beginning and the Beginning of the End,” Nov. 9) we Orthodox survivors of this tragedy, refuse to call it “Krystalnacht” because it was a name that the Nazis applied to this night. We call it the “Pogrom of the 16th of Cheshvan.”

It is commemorated in sadness with special prayers by many in the German-Jewish Orthodox communities. As a child survivor, I remember that my father was taken to concentration camp on that night.
Rabbi Israel Hirsch, Valley Village

Reader Is Moved by Current Events
The sad state of events in this country over the past couple of years and especially this last week have saddened me deeply. I am attaching my poem reflecting my feelings. 

My Heart Weeps
My country, my beloved country
My broken heart weeps
For unafraid days
Of unlocked doors
Sitting on porches
Children playing outside
Walking to school
Enjoying concerts
Worshipping freely
My country, my beloved country
My broken heart cries for
Columbine
Parkland
Las Vegas
Pittsburgh
Thousand Oaks
It weeps at the sight of “protective” guns
In schools,
Houses of worship
Concerts
My country, my beloved country
What have we become?
My heart is weeping.
Joy Feldman, via email

CORRECTION
In the Nov. 9 issue, Deborah Edler Brown’s byline was misspelled on the poem.


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