Letters: Civil Unrest, Ballot Initiative for Schools, Public Health and Services

June 26, 2020

Jews and Blacks
Kudos to cartoonist Steve Greenberg for his two pieces dealing with the effects of racism on Black Americans. I’m sure it’s not the last we’ll see from him regarding this important issue.

Greenberg’s work also serves as somewhat of a counterpoint to the compelling story by Thane Rosenbaum (“When Jews Join a Righteous Cause,” June 12) in his articulate, accurate and troubling account of anti-Semitism among a segment of current African American movements in our country.

Rosenbaum describes Jews’ history of actions during the civil rights movement, he expresses valid concern regarding the expressions and acts among some members of Black Lives Matter. He  correctly observes that while many Jews are aware of anti-Semitism among some in the Black community, they typically look beyond the negativity and employ their interpretation of Judaism as doing what’s right for others.

While Rosenbaum derides “tikkun olaming” among contemporary Jews who are protesting alongside Blacks as possibly setting themselves up for “major disappointment,” he seems to ignore the point that “healing the world” is indeed serious Judaism in practice and derived from teachings and a moralistic culture developed over 5,000 years.

I think Greenberg truly understands tikkun olam. He continues to creatively expose current events that are indicative of evil and corruption, threatening not only Jews but all others who are victimized.
Stu Bernstein, Santa Monica

Seeing Freud as a Family Man
Dana Gerber believes Sigmund Freud was one of the most complex Jewish fathers of the modern era. He shattered the innocence of fatherhood through his now generally discredited theory (“5 Jewish Fathers Who Have Lessons to Teach,” June 19).

Martin Freud, the oldest of Freud’s six children, describes his father in a very different light. He writes in his biography, “Sigmund Freud: Man and Father,” “During the summer holidays, which might last as long as three months, we children were in firm possession of father. He then threw aside all his professional worries and was all laughter and contentment. He had ein froeliches Herz … translated as a merry heart.” Such a description is a far cry from a complex father who used cocaine and was a misogynist, as Gerber wrote.

Gerber must have read the wrong biography. I’ll take Martin Freud’s.
Ken Lautman, Los Angeles

Thinking Before You Act
Genius. That’s what I thought when I read Shmuel Rosner’s column “But It All Seems So Real …” (June 19) explaining how demonstrators were acting like 4-year-olds throwing temper tantrums when what is needed is focus, calm consideration and persistence. Justice is not possible when there is “no … period of deliberation.”

A recent article in the Cato Policy Report May/June 2020, explains how public policy is “[a] panic-driven rush to action … ‘often with little regard for efficacy or unintended consequences,’ ” that often does more harm than good. Destructive change can come in days, constructive change can take years.
Warren Scheinin, Redondo Beach

Ballot Initiative for Schools, Public Health and Services
We’re all getting tested in ways nobody could’ve expected. We’re lucky to have Gov. Gavin Newsom continuing to lead California’s COVID-19 response but potential state and local budget cuts pose an additional threat to historically underfunded communities of color.

We cannot compound a health crisis with a budget crisis, so we need to invest in a recovery that doesn’t leave any Californian behind.

The Schools & Communities First initiative, which qualified for the November ballot after having submitted 1.7 million signatures of support, would reclaim $12 billion a year so we can invest in what we value — our public schools, public health and critical local services — by closing corporate tax loopholes. This initiative would protect homeowners and renters, small businesses and agriculture. Our analysis shows that 94% of the revenue would come from only 10% of the most under-assessed commercial and industrial properties in the state — meaning a fraction of California’s largest corporations would finally pay their fair share.

Simply put, we can’t afford corporate tax loopholes at the expense of our schools and communities anymore.
Christopher Carson, via email

Rabbis in the Fight for Justice
I am pleased that this online story included a link to a list of those who signed the letter (“60 L.A. Rabbis Sign Letter Asking Government and Police to Do More to Protect Black Americans,” June 9). 

Too bad these clergy didn’t have enough common decency to include a strong statement about the police officers killed during the riots, about those who lost their livelihoods as a result of  rioting, looting and arson, and about vandalism and anti-Semitic acts directed at their Jewish community. What are they doing to protect their Jewish people?
Paul Jeser, via email

Graduating During a Pandemic
The end-of-the-school-year graduation issue was excellent (“Pomp Without Circumstance,” June 12). These young adults are awesome.

The one thing that disappointed me was that there was not one student from any public schools. Including Jewish students from public schools recognizes the diversity of Jewish people and could be the defining factor in a young adult showing interest in Jewish culture and religion.
Richard Glaser, Los Angeles

Managing Editor’s response:  The Journal reached out to several local public schools but received no submissions.

Food for Thought
Thank you, Sephardic Spice Girls, for your delectable recipes.

This morning, I was making your yellow shakshuka for my husband (adding coconut milk is amazing), and it got me thinking of how powerful the simple, human act of sharing a meal together helps people bond with each other’s cultures.

This was what the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir did with the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and his wife over Meir’s chicken soup on many Friday nights for years. And eventually, a lasting peace resulted between Egypt and Israel from that small beginning.
Mina Friedler, Venice

Now it’s your turn. Don’t be shy, submit your letter to the editor. 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. letters@jewishjournal.com.

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