Letters: Important Art Movement, To Kobe Bryant

January 31, 2020

Important Art Movement
Karen Lehrman Bloch spotlighted the little known (in the West) flowering of Israeli art in the early decades of the 20th century (“Can Beauty Save the World?” Jan. 24). A great place to see this art — a marriage of Zionist, biblical and modernist themes in a poetic vision of Israel as a land of harmony and promise — is the permanent retrospective of Israeli art at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Reuven Rubin, mentioned in the column, along with Israel Paldi, Anna Ticho and other important Israeli artists of the early to mid-20th century are all on display there. Not to be missed.
Lane Igoudin, Los Angeles 

When Words Hurt
Kudos to Orley Garber for her insightful column urging us to see beyond people’s disabilities and to recognize the unique strengths that can come with disability (“Removing Stumbling Blocks From the Seeing,” Jan. 24).

It was bitterly ironic that a column on the facing page featured an enlarged quote that used the word “lame” as an insult. (“On one night of the year, L.A. is just plain lame: New Year’s Eve.”) Merriam-Webster’s defines “lame” as “having a body part and especially a limb so disabled as to impair freedom of movement.” The Journal would do well do heed Garber’s suggestion to be more sensitive and inclusive — in this case by not using the imagery of disability as a put-down.
Tom Fields-Meyer, Los Angeles

Jews in the Super Bowl
When the Kansas City Chiefs play the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 2 in Super Bowl LIV, Chiefs offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz will become at least the 22nd Jewish player in Super Bowl history. His predecessors are: Mike Stromberg (III), Bob Stein (IV), Ed Newman (VIII, XVII [injured reserve], XIX), Sam McCullum (IX), Randy Grossman (IX, X, XIII, XIV), Steve Furness (IX, X, XIII, XIV), Lyle Alzado (XII, XVIII), Steve Shull (XVII), John Frank (XIX, XXIII), Andre Tippett (XX), Harris Barton (XXIII, XXIV, XXIX), Alan “Shlomo” Veingrad (XXVII), David Binn (XXIX), Ariel Solomon (XXX), Adam Schreiber (XXXIII), Mike Rosenthal (XXXV), Mike Seidman (XXXVIII [injured reserve]), Josh Miller (XXXIX), Antonio Garay Jr. (XLI), Julian Edelman (XLVI, XLIX, LI, LII [injured reserve], LIII) and Nate Ebner (XLIX, LI, LII, LIII). There also have been at least three Jewish Super Bowl coaches: Marv Levy (VII, assistant coach, Washington; XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII, head coach, Buffalo), Sid Gillman (XV, assistant coach, Philadelphia) and Marc Trestman (XXXVII, assistant coach, Oakland).

Last year, Edelman — whose Jewish paternal great-grandfather married a Catholic woman — became the first Jewish Super Bowl MVP. Schwartz and his brother Geoff co-authored the book “Eat My Schwartz: Our Story of NFL Football, Food, Family, and Faith.”
Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Iranian Attack on U.S. Troops
At first we heard that no casualties were sustained in the Iranian attacks on American troops at an Iraqi base on Jan. 7, in retaliation for the targeted killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3.

Then the Pentagon disclosed that there were some casualties. It was announced Jan. 24 that 34 soldiers have traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Despite this changing story and potentially catastrophic consequences for those injured, which can be permanent and even fatal, President Donald Trump announced that despite the TBIs, the soldiers are all right.

In my 40 years as a psychologist and neuropsychologist for Social Security Disability, state-run hospitals, multiple hospitals and outpatient referrals, I can assure you that those soldiers are not all right. Trump tossed out his one-sentence statement and moved onto the next topic.

First, he has no professional medical and health care knowledge, with no indications of the contrary. Some of the medical/psychological effects might appear years later.

Second, these soldiers now might require lifetime care in the Veterans Affairs (VA) system, and the human cost doesn’t include the financial cost to the country of 50 to 60 years of continuing coverage by the VA for each “patient” (as opposed to calling them “soldiers”), and ultimately the taxpayers.

Anyone want our TBI soldiers operating high-tech weapons? I felt that Trump displayed a complete lack of empathy toward our soldiers and their families. I encourage other health care providers and readers to reply to this letter.
Michael S. Greenberg, via mail

Letter to Kobe Bryant
From the moment
I started crumpling up napkins
and shooting imaginary
game-winning shots
in my bathroom
I knew one thing was real:
I fell in love with your game.
A love so deep I idolized and studied you —
from your mind & body
to your spirit & soul.
As a ten-year-old boy
deeply fascinated by you
I never saw the end of you
always being around and always doing more.
And so you hustled
on and off the court —
the journey more important than the destination.
You chased every loose ball.
You showed how small wins lead to big wins.
We asked for a show
you gave us hustle.
We gave you our heart
but you gave us so much more.
You played through the sweat and hurt
not because we asked
but because you strived to do what it takes.
You did everything for US.
You made us feel alive when we watched
you soar down the hardwood like a ballerina.
Finesse, elegance and willpower were your game.
You gave a ten-year-old boy his idol
and I’ll always love you for it.
But you are no longer with us.
You gave us everything you had to give.
Now I know it’s time to say goodbye.
Even though it’s hard to let you go.
We can savor every moment we had watching you.
The good and the bad.
Whatever it was
you kept playing through it.
You have given us
all that you have.
And we both know, no matter what,
I’ll always be that kid
with the crumpled up napkin,
garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock.
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1
“KOBE!” Love you always, Forever grateful,
One of the many who looked up to you,
Joey Ben-Zvi

Now it’s your turn. 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.

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

wildpixel/Getty Images

Politically Homeless

Although I used to just call myself a moderate, that’s never actually been accurate.

The Good German

Christian brothers and sisters, do your Jewish friends think of you as a person who will stand by them?

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.