October 13, 2019

Letters to the editor: Steve Greenberg responds, Jewish charter schools, Jewish candidates and more

Cartoonist Steve Greenberg Responds

In response to Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen’s letter in the Aug. 14 issue criticizing me for depicting the face of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as “brown” (“Racial Disparities: Deliberate or Ignorant?”): This was not the way I drew him. In some issues of the Jewish Journal, there is printing ink “gain” in which images, such as my cartoons, get printed darker than intended. My cartoon in the Aug. 7 issue printed particularly dark, making a person who was merely tan appear brown. That was a printing problem, not a matter of my intent.

Steve Greenberg, Editorial cartoonist

Biting the Hand That Feeds

Elad Massuri reminds me of the boy who killed his parents and then pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan (“Between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv: Missing Israel,” Aug. 14). Massuri was fortunate enough to be born in a country Jews have dreamed of and died for since biblical times, but he chose to leave it in search of the Yankee dollar. Previous generations of immigrants strove to become “Americanized,” extended a helping hand to countrymen left behind who gave their time and resources to the needy in America and abroad.

Not so, it seems, for Massuri. He mopes about missing his Israeli delicacies and tries to create a “little Israel” in the Valley. I hope he makes his bundle quickly so he can return to Israel and make room for refugees who appreciate America for more than its money-making opportunities.       

Peter L. Rothholz, Santa Monica

Can Jewish Charter Schools Cut It?

AEA Odyssey Academy charter school might be a viable and welcome alternative to Los Angeles Unified School District schools, but it is not, as Rabbi Mark Blazer characterizes, “a viable alternative for a Jewish day school” (“Einstein Charter Schools Expand to Beverly Hills” Aug. 14). The mission of Jewish day schools is to establish Jewish identity and to help students of all ages develop textual, cultural and linguistic Jewish literacy. 

Rabbi Blazer’s suggestion that AEA Odyssey is an adequate and free substitute for Jewish education raises crucial questions. Will academy parents feel comfortable opting out of religious school? If so, what is the future of Jewish literacy in that population? If parents feel their children are receiving Jewish education at a publicly funded charter located at a synagogue, are we comfortable with the muddling of church and state?

As an educator, I staunchly support charter schools. The failure of public education is a crisis about which the Jewish community should care deeply. As a nation, we need schools like AEA Odyssey. As a Jewish community, we should welcome them to the neighborhood. But as a Jewish community, we also need Jewish day schools. Jewish continuity depends upon it.

Sarah Shulkind, Head of school, Sinai Akiba Academy

We Offer Out-of-Area Delivery!

Why doesn’t New York City have a news and opinion source such as your journal?

My beliefs on topics relating to Judaism and Israel are strong and difficult to shake. My opinions are not the parroted thoughts of Friedman, Goldberg, Dershowitz, Glick, Krauthammer or Stephens. I listen to and read the pundits and make a serious attempt to garner the facts presented by all reliable agents and sources. I have been speaking less and less and attempting to really understand the issues and their consequences. Those who do not agree with me are intelligent, well meaning and usually are attempting to bring resolution to difficult problem situations. 

Your publication provides me, and others of like minds, with a refreshing alternative to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox News and MSNBC. 

Mort Harrison, Oceanside, N.Y.

America’s First Jewish President

I thought Jared Sichel’s article “What’s Behind ‘Feel the Bern’? Notes From the Sanders Rally” (Aug. 14) was a fair and accurate representation of the Bernie Sanders rally at the Memorial Sports Arena, which I attended. I was puzzled by one omission, though.

Sanders is not only a United States senator from Vemont, he’s also a Jewish guy from Brooklyn. If elected president (maybe a long shot, but certainly not out of the question), he would be America’s first Jewish president, and would bring the Jewish value of tikkun olam to the Oval Office in a way none of his competitors would. I think his Jewish background is a fact worth noting in a Jewish publication.

Jon Krampner, Los Angeles


An article about the opening of the new Odyssey Academy (“Einstein Charter Schools Expand to Beverly Hills,” Aug. 14) misspelled the first name of a parent. Her name is Jami Bachrad.