September 18, 2019

LettersA Soaring Father

After reading Sally Ogle Davis’ review of my father’s work, “In the Presence of Mine Enemies”(“Submitted for Your Approval,” Apr. 18), I must take exception to her presumption that my father “abandoned his Judaism.” I am curious as to when Davis had the opportunity to sit and talk with my father to arrive at this conclusion.

Please, don’t step into a stranger’s world and pretend to know who they were, what they believed and what made them the people they were or were not. This is a man who rejected man’s injustice to man. This is a man who felt compassionate and passionate about people — all people — whether it be the alcoholic on the street or the man that suddenly finds he has no place in this world and desperately wants to go back to his childhood. Jewish, Christian, it didn’t matter. My father soared above the dogmatism of religion that so polarizes us as human beings.

Abandoned his Judaism? I think not. I am sadly reminded of the prayer he told me that he used to say as a child which ended, “And God help me to be a good boy and a good Jew. Amen.” It seems to me that he exceeded both of these aspirations.

Anne Serling-Sutton

Ithaca, N.Y.

Meaning Less

A note of appreciation to Robert Eshman for dismantling Michael Lerner’s fatuous drivel (“Tikkuning Tikkun,” May 9). Although I have never read Tikkun, Lerner’s articles appear occasionally in the Los Angeles Times. He deserves special mention because of his simultaneous shallowness and wrong-headedness. I wasn’t really sure this could be done.

The Clintons thought that the Politics of Meaning actually meant something although they quickly dropped it when they found out that no one, including themselves, could figure out what it was.

May Lerner gallop on to the literary oblivion he so richly deserves.

Louis S. Lyons

Woodland Hills

‘Ten Years’

I have read Marlene Marks’ articles for many years and enjoy her writings thoroughly but this is the first time that I have taken the time to respond. For the column “Ten Years,” (May 16) I say thank you, thank you, thank you, from all the people who have lost a person they loved deeply.

My middle child, Lysa, was killed instantly by a drunk driver who hit her from behind while walking. This happened 18 years ago, yet at any moment of my life I can recall everything from the moment the dreaded phone call came. I can replay the times that followed like a slow-motion film. I watched a family of five become a family of four. One does not recover from the loss but we have come a long way to enjoying life to its fullest once again.

Marlene, your article put a smile on my face when you bravely shared with us the image of seeing your husband walking down the street after being dead for 10 years. After Lysa’s death, I would drive to North Hollywood High when school was dismissed and watch the students walk out, praying for a glimpse, that her death was a mistake. It takes a long time for the brain to accept that a healthy, fun-loving, adorable child can be snatched from your life. It seems like a lifetime ago that she came bouncing into our house with her tight jeans and corky shoes.

Thank you again for writing so beautifully about your feelings and thoughts of your husband. It has allowed me to relish in my memories of the daughter I loved so dearly.

Phyllis Waxman

Studio City

For Your Benefit

We commend Robert Eshman for telling the story of one Holocaust survivor and his struggle to collect on the life insurance benefits owed him (“Filing His Claim,” May 2). As the story relates, European insurance companies have often refused to honor their obligations to survivors, preferring to pocket the victims’ premiums instead.

We believe that many of the survivors who had this experience eventually settled in California. Together with Bet Tzedek Legal Services, we are investigating claims against the insurance companies that are refusing to pay. We would love to hear from potential beneficiaries of policies issued before World War II who have been denied benefits. Please call us at (213) 689-0200.

Nancy Sher Cohen

Rene L. Siemens

Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe

Where’s Eleanor?

They tell me feminism is passe, not the “in” thing anymore, not necessary. This, of course, despite the notices of acid being thrown in women’s faces in Egypt, or women being forced out of school and into chadors in Tabul and the like. But those are the others, you hasten to tell me. Our women fought for their rights and won! In the U.S., women are visible in all walks of life.

Are they? I am looking at a picture of President and Mrs. Clinton at the Roosevelt Memorial (“Revering Roosevelt,” May 9). There sits F.D.R. in all his glory. Beside him is his dog. I understand that the disabled are urging that a wheelchair be included in the Memorial.

Franklin, dog and wheelchair… but where is Eleanor? Does she have no place in this memorial? A comment by one of her detractors reads: We have already had a woman in the White House. Everybody knows she was president; that was why he was called Franklin D’Eleanor Roosevelt. I wonder what Hillary thought.

Savina J. Teubal

Santa Monica

Religious Poetry Sought

A $1000 grand prize is being offered in a religious poetry contest sponsored by New Jersey Rainbow Poets, free to everyone. There are 28 prizes in all totaling over $2000.

The deadline for entering is July 2, 1997. Poems may be written on any subject, using any style, as long as there is a spiritual inference. A typical poem might be a love poem, or nature poem, one that inspires. Winners will be notified by the end of October, and will be invited for free publication. All entrants will receive a winner’s list.

To enter, send one poem only of 21 lines or less to: Poetry Contest, 103 N. Wood Ave., Suite 70, Linden, NJ 07036.

Help Wanted

Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation is an Orthodox Sephardic Synagogue in Seattle, Wash. Located in one of the top five most livable cities in the country, the congregation has an immediate opening for a full-time Youth Director-Program Director.

The Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation, one of the country’s premiere Sephardic synagogues, is looking for the right person to provide leadership and programming for our youth and our members.

Organizational and programming skills are necessary. Knowledge of Sephardic traditions and practices are an important factor that we will take into consideration. Other important skills that we are looking for include working with youth and outreach programs in our diverse community. Position includes organizing and participating in overnight camp, day camps, Shabbat and holiday programs, year-round fun activities, and working with our Sephardic Religious School.

If interested, please contact:

Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation

Attn: Youth Committee

6500 52nd Ave., S.

Seattle, WA 98118



Attention: Letters.

All letters must include full name, a valid address and phone number. Pseudonyms and initials will not be used, but names will be withheld on request