November 19, 2018

Letters to the editor: Self-criticism, Cannon films and the mikvah scandal

You’re Your Worst Critic

I found David Suissa’s article “Exporting Self-Criticism” (Oct. 31) really powerful. Instead of thinking that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s words were troubling, I was shown the opposite. Instead of being bothered by Israel being a sick society, it proves that Israel’s self-criticism only makes it better. Telling the world that Israel is a sick society that needs treatment doesn’t scare Israel; instead, it propels it forward. This shows us that Israel doesn’t let others dictate its behavior. Israelis don’t care what others have to say, and they do what is right for them. Being self-critical is what makes you want to do better, and we see that by Israel being a global leader in different aspects. Being able to fail only brings you to achieve goals. Israel is not perfect, but being able to self-criticize shows the world that they want to be better.

Adi Raviv, Los Angeles

As a believer in criticism to obtain results, I found David Suissa’s article extremely accurate. As shocking as it may have been to hear the Israeli president himself condemn Israel’s society, it was also remarkable. I believe it takes a true leader and believer in making society better to speak up and criticize their own country’s wrongdoings. The return of hostility between Israeli Arabs and Jews due to the Gaza war was a perfect flaw to pinpoint, and hopefully that hostility will change. I agree that a sick society is one that does not acknowledge itself as sick, and that is the flaw in other countries. Other countries cannot openly admit that their societies are blemished and they refuse to seek change. 

Thank you to Suissa for pointing out that self-criticism is the path to change for the better.

Shira Jedian, Los Angeles


The response of L.A. rabbis to the [Barry] Freundel mikveh scandal in Washington, D.C ., is heartening, but not enough to create systemic change (“L.A. Rabbis Seeking to Reassure Mikveh Users of Facilities’ Privacy,” Oct. 24). Ryan Torok’s article seeks to answer the question — is this a unique case, or is there an inherent flaw in rabbinic court procedures?

From my experience working with rabbinic courts on cases of Jewish divorce, I maintain that it is a confluence of the two; that is, for those who are corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Freundel has a morally deficient character, but if keys to the future of a particular woman reside solely in the hands of one person, it invites corruption. Especially where the long arm of the Israeli rabbinate in our Diaspora communities confers that power, upon a particular rabbi or a single rabbinic court.

To create systemic change in L.A., we need an independent liaison between the Rabbinical Council of California, the Orthodox congregational rabbis, and the men and women they serve. We need an address to which concerns, complaints and demands for policy changes can be addressed.

Esther Macner, president and founder, Get Jewish Divorce Justice 

Old Pals

Naomi Pfefferman’s article on Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus (“Rise and Shine, Crash and Burn: The Untold Story of Cannon Films,” Oct. 24) brought back a lot of memories. I dealt with them extensively when I was editor of the Hollywood Reporter. Golan and Globus made themselves very well known, albeit not always on the favorable side. I eventually bought stock in Cannon, although everyone warned me not to do so. I bought on the strength of the two producers, and the stock made money for me because I sold when they told me to. 

They were Hollywood’s rascals. The best way I can describe them.

Frank Barron, Sherman Oaks

Wanted: Photos of Tom Bradley for Upcoming Documentary

We are producing a documentary on former Mayor Tom Bradley for a national public television broadcast. Jews and African-Americans were at the heart of the Bradley coalition, and we want to show images that convey the relationship in the film. We are searching for images, literature and videotape from the 1969 and 1973 elections, etc. We are also looking for images of Jewish opposition to Louis Farrakhan’s 1985 speech in Los Angeles.

If you have any of these photographs, literature or videotape, please contact Lyn Goldfarb at or call (323) 669-1106. Our website is

Lyn Goldfarb, producer, “Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race”


An article about an electoral debate between Congressional candidates Ted Lieu and Elan Carr (“The Democrat and Republican Vying to Claim Waxman’s Legacy,” Oct. 31) mistakenly said that Lieu is a former California state senator. He is still serving in that role.