July 20, 2019

Letters: Odd Cover for the Fourth, Reverse Aliyah, Holocaust Education

Odd Cover for the Fourth
When I received the Jewish Journal at my home on July 4, I found it very odd that it had a cover photo of Leonard Cohen. Considering it was the Fourth of July, I expected something about the holiday and the Jewish connection to the United States.

Jews have both thrived in the United States and contributed to America’s progress. No matter your political affiliation, a little patriotism would have been appropriate.
Carol Gaspar, via email 

Reverse Aliyah
It was painful to read the review about “Back to the Fatherland,” not because it may or may not be a good film, but because of the subject matter (“ ‘Back to the Fatherland’ Examines Reverse Aliyah,” June 21).

These Israelis, some descendants of Holocaust survivors, often marry a “local woman” when they move to another country, as the one mentioned in the story did. What is so painful is that these people are giving Hitler a victory decades after he tried and came close to eliminating the Jewish people and Judaism. Do you think that a child of a Jew and a “local woman” growing up in a country like Germany is going to be raised Jewish? It’s tough enough for that to happen in our country, let alone in Germany or Austria.

These “reverse aliyah” Israelis are helping Hitler reach his goal. Their children will no longer be Jews and neither will their grandchildren or any descendants. This is the antithesis of the reason for the founding of the State of Israel, and I am deeply saddened about this trend on many levels.
Jay Schuster, Sherman Oaks

Love From Miss Iraq, Miss Israel
My father and I read the Q&A by David Suissa and truly enjoyed it (“Sarah Idan: ‘Peace and Love From Miss Iraq and Miss Israel,” June 21). We really hope Sarah succeeds in her endeavors. What a beautiful piece. Thank you.
Melody Kohan, via email

A Dream of Peace
After reading “Letters From My Palestinian Neighbors” (June 21), that night I had a very vivid dream that woke me up.

Two bright young men, one an Israeli Jew and the other a Palestinian Muslim, were walking down a line from opposite directions. They were both seeking a better life.

When they met along the line, instead of arguing over who has the right of passage, they stood silent and frozen in place for a while. Then they looked each other in the eye and, without uttering a word, shook hands. They decided then and there to join together to achieve their goals — a new business, a new product, a medical innovation to save people’s lives.

Working together in peace and harmony, they did indeed succeed. They made it a better world for themselves, their families and the whole world.

That’s also my dream for them.
George Epstein, Los Angeles

Spreading the Pain of the Holocaust
I spent eight years teaching the Holocaust at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and have been been a classroom teacher at Pressman Academy here in Los Angeles for close to a decade, where among my duties I teach a yearlong course about the Shoah to our eighth-graders. As a Holocaust educator, I was troubled by Ariel Sobel’s column “If you Have No Direct Ties to the Holocaust, Stop Acting Like You Own It” (July 5).

I couldn’t agree more that “the people who have these gashes in their family trees should be the ones who take ownership of them.” In my work, I have encouraged and helped survivors, their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other relatives to learn and teach their stories. We are most moved and deferential to those compelling memories.

At the same time, why must this ownership be exclusive? In my experience, the many allies who have been touched by this history — Jews and friends from other cultures, races and backgrounds — are treasured partners in the fight against evil.

I heard the author’s pain about those who “speak over” her trauma, and I regret that we do not live in a culture of more civility. If we can listen to one another, there is so much more to learn.
Nili Isenberg, Los Angeles

The Diminishing of Jews
Karen Lehrman Bloch’s column “intersectionality” and Judaism (“Where Is Jewish Pride?” June 14) is interesting and should be further developed to consider the descent of the left, historically a home for Jews of a political bent, into a bastion of standard anti-Semitism and what Jews should do in reaction to this nasty turn. While Jews are still loyal Democrats, it seems that more and more are coming to grips with the fact that the Dems and their allies are more interested in skin tone, foreign origin, gender, gender identification, sexuality and a seemingly endless variety of qualities that help divide us. There is virtually no interest in the content of one’s character. 

As the author notes, Jews are now considered nothing more than “white,” which is apparently as low as you can go. As a pale Scottish migrant, that can’t be good for me.
Russell Falconer, via email

Too Much Praise for Buttigieg
In his little reverie about Pete Buttigieg (“‘I Couldn’t Get it Done,’” July 5), David Suissa is so smitten that he’s forgotten a few pertinent facts:

1. “Over-promising,” the pattern with which Buttigieg purportedly broke, is about the future. It’s easy to spin fantasies about what one will do in the sweet by-and-by. When one is, on the other hand, stuck with certain unpleasant facts related to one’s own past performance, as Buttigieg is, it’s a lot harder. It would, under these circumstances, take the most remarkable legerdemain to misdirect the audience with fantasies about what will be.

2. “I couldn’t get it done” invites the listener to believe that a credible effort was made and that effort proved unavailing. Buttigieg hasn’t satisfactorily made that case. Stay tuned. One can be confident that, irrespective of what the facts are, he’ll cobble something together and fling it at the public.

3. For all of Suissa’s unwarranted assumptions about Buttigieg’s candor, when it comes to promising ill-advised, impossible-to-fund program and project fantasies, Buttlgieg is right up there with the rest of the herd.

“Humility, honesty and courage” from Buttigieg? Not even close.
Z. Bronson, Stephanie London, Beverly Hills

Another View on Korach
I think Korach got a bad rap (Table for Five, July 5). Rather than bringing the wrath of God upon Korach and 250 presumably innocent members of his extended family, Moses should have exercised his skills as leader of the Children of Israel to win their support instead of their enmity.
Peter Rothholz, via email


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