February 25, 2020

Letters: Reaction to Women’s March L.A., Getting Older, Getting Better

Reaction to Women’s March L.A.
An open letter to Rabbi Nicole Guzik:

Dear Rabbi Guzik,

I’ve known you since you were a rabbinic intern in our congregation, Sinai Temple, and have admired your personal and professional career development as a highly regarded rabbi, a mother and a role model for women. When I read your column in the Jan. 18 edition of the Jewish Journal (“Marching as a Woman, as a Jew, as a Rabbi”), I was skeptical. I expressed my skepticism to at least one member of our congregation. You stated that you would be attending the Women’s March Los Angeles on Jan. 19 because if Jewish women chose to excuse themselves from the conversation, you would not be sure the nation would ever notice the absence of Jewish voices.

In your column in the Jan. 25 edition of the Jewish Journal (“Why I Left the Women’s March L.A.”) you explained quite poignantly why you left the march. You had been assured by the leaders, who included Hispanic and other minority women, that in Los Angeles (unlike the national march), Israel would not be attacked. In the very first hour of the Women’s March L.A. program at Pershing Square, all of these promises were broken. I could have told you before you attended that believing the organizers that Israel would not be attacked is naïve. I commend you for giving them the benefit of the doubt. You pray that next year teshuvah — great repentance —will be taken. I am skeptical that the organizers will change.
Marshall Lerner, Beverly Hills

As much as I would like to see every woman participate in the Women’s March, I feel Rabbi Guzik made the right and only response to hatred that has no place in any movement.

The anti-Israel element of the Women’s March certainly betrayed their mission, especially when the rabbi was told beforehand that hatred wouldn’t be tolerated.

All of us must look straight at all forms of hatred and speak out at every opportunity. Thanks to Rabbi Guzik for stepping up for the Jewish community.
Warren J. Potash, Moorpark

It seems counterintuitive to even consider the question of when and how it is permissible to collaborate with anti-Semites and their apologists (“I Want the Women’s March to Succeed,” Dan Schnur, Jan. 25). An immediate “Never and in no way” is not a rushed answer, it is the only possible answer.

It is certainly possible — and morally imperative — to support women’s rights and a tolerant, diverse society without subordinating Jewish identity to a supposedly “progressive” agenda with anti-Semitism at its core.
Julia Lutch, Davis, Calif.

Getting Older, Getting Better
As a professor who studies successful aging, I enjoyed reading the inspirational story about Mavis Lindgren, a world-record marathon runner at age 90 (“Bodies Can Improve Until Our Mid-80s,” Jan. 25), and how happiness can blossom after age 50 (“Studies Show Life After 50 Is the Sunny Side,” Jan. 25). These are fantastic illustrations of what people can do, and look forward to, in older age. However, I think it is important to know that marathon running and constant happiness are not the norm or the goal, but there are simple things we can do to be active and happy.

Successful aging can take many forms. While marathons are impressive, any form of movement is the best (free) medicine. Running is tough on joints, but studies have shown that walking improves memory. Having good balance may be more important than extreme exercise. Balance training can prevent falls, which happen to one in three Americans after age 60. Walking, balance training and being socially active are some of the keys to successful aging, and people can greatly benefit by making a few changes in their lives. The ABC’s of successful aging are to maintain: Activity, Balance, and Connection with people you love.
Alan D. Castel, Los Angeles
Castel is the author of “Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging”

Throwing the Book at President Carter
It’s been almost 40 years since President Jimmy Carter’s term, and author Stuart E. Eizenstat apparently believes that the generation of American citizens who experienced the four years of the Carter presidency either have died or are senile (“Capturing the Mind and Heart of Jimmy Carter,” Michael Berenbaum, Jan. 16). I lived through those years and have the following observations.

History will record Carter’s achievements as domestic and foreign.

On the domestic stage, Carter presided over unprecedented inflation and high unemployment. The economists were stumped on how he did it. He summoned economic and political leaders to Camp David to advise him. He came down from the mountain bewildered. He leveled with the American people that we were no longer a world power and would act accordingly.

On the foreign stage, Carter was bewildered when the Soviets took him at his word that we were no longer a force on the world stage and invaded Afghanistan. Carter struck back at the Soviets by keeping American athletes away from the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, punishing our athletes. When the Shah of Iran needed our help, the shah was told that none was forthcoming and that he should pack up. Iran turned from being our ally and linchpin of our Middle East policy to the chief world sponsor of Islamic terrorism. There is no end in sight to the continuing damage initiated by Jimmy Carter to our national security and the shear brutality and killing of innocents unleashed by the failure of the Carter administration.

After Israel concluded a treaty with Egypt, in which Israel gave back all captured Egyptian land, Carter has conducted an unrelenting four-decade campaign of anti-Israel propaganda calling Israel an apartheid state.

Carter has the distinction of writing a book as an ex-president accusing a sitting president of being immoral, an act of consummate hypocrisy.

Perhaps when I and other members of the generation who experienced Carter’s presidency have died, there will be space to speak more kindly of Carter.
Isaac Gorbaty, Via email

Michael Berenbaum responds:

The letter reveals the stereotypical depiction of Jimmy Carter. One must be grateful to Stuart Eizenstat, who does not deny this all-too-simple description of President Carter but suggests that such a facile understanding of his presidency, flaws and all, misrepresents the historical reality. One wonders, after having pored through the 900-page opus, whether the writer could still maintain the same views. I could not.


In the Journal’s Jan. 25 edition, Judy Bin-Nun’s name was misspelled in a photo caption about Hebrew High School’s 70th anniversary.

Your turn. Send your letters to letters@jewishjournal.com. Letters should be no more than 200 words and must include a valid name and city. The Journal reserves the right to edit all letters.