January 27, 2020

Letters: Honoring Thy Parents, Aging Parents and Mueller Hearings

Honoring Thy Parents
Honoring and loving one’s parents are not opposite sides of the same coin. In fact, in a numismatic turn of phrase, they are two separate coins that may “purchase the same product” but whose etiology for doing so are as immiscible as attempting to mix oil with water. (“Why Honor Your Parents’ Is Judaism’s Most Challenging Commandment,” “Aug. 2).

A better analogy and explanation lies in the time-honored precept that most progeny would prefer to hear from their parents that “they believe in them” as the fact that when they were conceived is accepted as an inherent indicator that at the time of conception, they were automatically loved.

In addition, most parents provide a generic love to their children (“you know I love you”) rather than a specifically designated and designed love (one sculpted to the unique factors that are part of each child’s individual makeup.)

As such, the time-honored precept of honoring one’s parents makes scientific and psychological sense when honor becomes equated with unconditional belief in every one of their children’s numerous efforts in the world on a daily basis, whether these efforts are attended to by traditional definitions of success or failure.
Marc Rogers, North Hollywood

Aging Parents
Sandra Heller’s story “Caring for an Aging Parent” (Aug. 2) made me nod in agreement. My sister and I grew up in Ohio surrounded by our grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins. We were always doing something with them or for them. 

After marrying, moving to New York then to Los Angeles, separated from
family, our friends became our family. Visits to family and family trips to L.A. weren’t as frequent as we would have liked.

As our parents started to decline with age, we had the extraordinary opportunity to bring my mother-in-law and then my mom to L.A. It was not always easy but giving our kids the opportunity to be with their grandmothers for the last few years of their lives was priceless.

May they rest in peace knowing that their grandsons experienced their wisdom and the joys of being close.
Michelle Fox, Encino

Re-Energizing Shabbat
It’s hard to argue with David Suissa’s suggestion (“Doubling Down on Shabbat,” Aug. 2) that synagogues should be thinking about how to innovate and re-energize their Shabbat experiences but what can be argued is that this hyper-focus on this one day of the week, Shabbat, gives many Jews a false impression of what it means to lead a Jewish life.

If Judaism is anything, it’s a way of life not only for Shabbat but for every day of the year. Instead of once-a-year (High Holy Days) Jews, I guess the goal now is to have once-a-week (Shabbat) Jews through this emphasis on Shabbat. Shabbat has become nearly synonymous with Judaism, which just isn’t true.

While it’s fine that synagogues like Temple Beth Am create spaces to enhance the worship experience, I believe that if there isn’t the same attention given to the rest of the week at the synagogue, then the result will be little more than window dressing.

There are already many non-Orthodox synagogues that offer prayer, learning and creative programs during the week to help strengthen their members’ Jewish identity.

I believe that this effort in the long run will do more to stem the tide of assimilation than “selling” what we have to offer through just one product: Shabbat.
Elliot Semmelman, Huntington Beach

Mueller Hearings
Rep. Brad Sherman’s response to the Mueller hearings reflects a monumental disconnect with truth and reality. He ignores the fact that he and his party as well as the mainstream media promoted the Russia collusion narrative, and after two years and millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money spent on the investigation, there was no evidence of Russia collusion. (“Congressman Brad Sherman Responds to Mueller Hearings,” Aug. 2.)

Sherman and the mainstream media promoted the Russia collusion hoax for two years and it turned out to be a catastrophic media failure. If there was adequate evidence of obstruction of justice, Congress would have started with impeachment proceedings. 

The type of Russian interference that the Democrats seem to be suggesting is the type that former President Barack Obama engaged in to influence the Israeli election to defeat Netanyahu. That didn’t happen.
Marshall Lerner, Beverly Hills

Mass Shootings
In the wake of the heartbreaking massacres last weekend, it was inevitable many Democrats would blame President Donald Trump. Some have repeated the Charlottesville, Va., lie, which has been debunked many times. The current mass-murder epidemic is as complex as it is horrible and indefensible, but I believe one cause for white-racist anger, and Trump’s election, is anti-white racism and contempt for American pride, history and the police, asserted by the progressive movement.

A night watchman named George Zimmerman was acquitted in the slaying of Trayvon Martin, citing self-defense (so found a mixed-race jury); and a grand jury didn’t indict a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown (the Obama Justice Department agreed). Yet few Democrats challenge the prejudice of BlackLives Matter or condemn antifa

This is an American crisis, and gun control alone isn’t the answer. There are too many privately owned guns; the United States isn’t Australia — gun-confiscation would ignite a civil war. It’s primarily a mental health issue; deranged men are doing this, so we need to identify and reach them before they act.

Since Trump’s inauguration, Democrats have dissed his supporters and refused to work with his administration, but the only way to heal our nation’s wounds is for both parties to work together. Republicans would welcome that.
Rueben Gordon, via email

Book Author Got It Wrong
I recently returned from a three-week excursion through Israel with my grandchildren. The place still amazes me. One of our most repeated phrases during the trip was, “It wasn’t there yesterday!” New roads, new buildings, new (and old) everything.

Our journey was also spiritual. I miss the “pioneering” atmosphere. The “halutzim” are almost all gone.

However, it still felt Jewish. Knitted yarmulkes, shtreimels, sheitels. Hebrew and Yiddish. Community.

In “An Impassioned Analysis of Zionism and the Left” (July 12), regarding the book by Susie Linfield, “The Lion’s Den.”

First, the contention that Israel created of itself “through its ruinous settlements project,” a ghettoized minority. Whatever it is, it is not a project, and it’s not Israel’s. The settlements comprise mostly committed Jews, seemingly willing to take their chances among some (here Linfield is correct) very hostile people. I wouldn’t do it because it looks totally suicidal. However, these other people in the area have been arguably perpetually hostile, and if given their desire, would prefer an area (and a planet) “Judenrein.”

If “national rights” include murder and rape and loudly declared genocide,
they don’t have the “national right” to do that.

None of these issues would have developed given a friendlier atmosphere in the first place. If Linfield is so bothered by the “suffering of the Palestinian people,” she should look toward the actual oppressors. It ain’t the Jews.
Steve Klein, via email

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