August 17, 2019

Letters to the editor: Running Springs, Mel Brooks and Sun City

We Report, You Decide

Thanks for telling a complicated story so well (“The Rebirth of Running Springs,” Jan. 30). Bravo to the Journal for reporting the facts for all to see. To those who criticize the story, it could have been far more damaging to Chabad by reporting other issues like this in Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin’s business dealings. But the writer let the facts speak for themselves, without inuendo and implied guilt.

Jim Ruxin via

While I’m a big fan of Chabad, this article has soured me toward them. It appears that Chabad purchased a quite expensive campground, stopped making mortgage payments soon thereafter and also stiffed an elderly lady out of her estate. There are more sickening aspects of the article. Cunin and his sidekicks have some chutzpah.

A. Joans, Los Angeles

Necessary Evil

Rob Eshman rightly fears the misuse of drone technology if it gets into the wrong hands  (“Drones, Jews and Morality,” Jan. 30). However, he does not share the pride that small Israel, who has been battling against Islamic terror decades before the rest of the Western world, has been a frontline technological innovator in the fight against today’s evil.  

He does not appreciate the value and purpose of the drone — to minimize not only casualties of our own soldiers, but the innocents on the enemy side as well. 

There is simply no question that if drones did not exist, the percentage of enemy innocents caught in the vicinity of the targeted bad guys would grow exponentially.

Richard Friedman, Culver City

Thank You, Mel!

I want to respond to Danielle Berrin’s wonderful and insightful interview with Mel Brooks (“Shmoozing With Mel,” Jan. 30). A few summers ago, my wife and I were visiting Cordoba, Spain, and while wandering the alleyways, we heard the sounds of Gregorian chants wafting into the street. Following the lovely music, we found ourselves in the Museum of the Inquisition, which consists of several gloomy chambers filled with instruments of torture, accompanied by descriptions of how they were used. 

The only way I could counteract these disturbing images and regain my equilibrium was to replay in my head the “Spanish Inquisition” song from Brooks’ movie “History of the World Part 1,” which is performed in the style of a grandiose Busby Berkeley production.

I don’t mean to minimize the suffering of Inquisition victims, nor, I’m sure, did Brooks. On the contrary, we should all be aware of what happened in order to prevent such a horrific event from occurring again. But we also need to recognize that humor can be a potent remedy for the paralyzing darkness and negativity that can ensue from such encounters.

Joel Stern, Los Angeles

Mel, we love you, but seriously, you must not leave this world before trying our original Hungarian kosher stuffed cabbage. The best in the world, I won’t let you down. Call me!

Balazs Tibor via

Bibi Butts in

With typical eloquence, Michael Berenbaum has clearly made the case that Benjamin Netanyahu’s agreement to address a joint session of Congress is a profound insult and, ultimately, a mistake (“Boehner Invitation to Bibi Signals Congress, White House Showdown,” Jan. 30). Americans of all political persuasions should take offense at the attempts of a foreign prime minister to interfere in American policy matters, Netanyahu clearly intended to stick a thumb in the eye of the president of the United States, and I for one am outraged. I now must work to separate my support for Israel from my disgust with its leader.

Barbara H. Bergen via email

From City of Angels to City in the Sun

Congratulations to Tess Cutler for the wonderful and beautifully written column on her one-month visit to Sun City in Palm Desert (My Life as a Retired Millennial,” Jan. 30). Although she didn’t love the Sun City lifestyle as a 21-year-old, we are here to report that, as seniors who have been residing in Sun City for three years, it is a fabulous community with lots of activities, friends and things to do. When we receive the Jewish Journal delivered to our door, we reconnect with Los Angeles Jewish life and enjoy reading every column. However, we turn the pages first to read the article written by Cutler. Hers are the best!

Sydney and Hale Porter via email


In a Jan. 30 letter to the editor about school endowments (“With Help, Local Schools Grow Their Endowments, Jan. 16), an incorrect title was listed for Arlene Agress. She is the director of the Jim Joseph Foundation High School Affordability Initiative at BJE (Builders of Jewish Education), Los Angeles.