September 17, 2019

Letters to the editor: Thai slavery, Klezmer at the Skirball, Iran deal op-eds and more

Slaves at Sea

I would like to commend Saw Yan Naing’s continued coverage in the Jewish Journal of the persecution of Burmese refugees by Thai slavers (“A Story of Modern Slavery in Thailand,” Aug. 21). His reportage calls to mind an earlier era when, after April 1975, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian boat people escaping communism in Southeast Asia were robbed, raped and killed by Thai pirates in the South China Sea, and terribly abused for several years by Thai authorities who manned the U.N. refugee camps in Thailand. It’s time the world realize that not all of Thailand deserves the positive reputation it enjoys.

Marc Yablonka, via email

Deal Diplomacy

I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the Jewish Journal and its journalists, David Suissa, Dennis Prager, Rob Eshman, Jon Drucker, Steven Windmueller, Shmuel Rosner, Karmel Melamed, Gina Nahai, Saher Baloch and Ryan Torok, for their thoughtful and intelligent articles regarding the Iran-U.S. nuclear deal (Aug. 14). 

Each argument on both sides of this critical issue has been written sans the hysterical fear-mongering rhetoric from either supporters or detractors of this deal and its implications.

The danger of the Jewish Journal falling into the trap of being “all things to all men” has been skillfully avoided by harnessing the powerful, dispassionate and incisive intellect of the persons mentioned herein, thus maintaining the credibility of this publication and allowing its readers the opportunity for serious reflection.

Thanking you all.

John Stodel, Los Angeles

The Duality of Massuri

I found Elad Massuri’s article to be very well written and brutally honest (“Between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv: Missing Israel,” Aug. 14). 

I have lived in Israel myself and can relate to how the author longs for his homeland. There’s something very special about Israel. It fosters a connection unlike any other.

The writer really captures his struggles in a heartfelt and poignant manner, almost as if he feels guilty for moving here because of the many opportunities Los Angeles offers while still having an allegiance to his childhood home.

I can’t wait to hear more about the author’s experiences in Los Angeles, how he assimilates and how his feelings toward Israel may fade or grow stronger.

This article is relatable to anyone who has made a huge move away from what is comfortable.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the above article. I look forward to reading more from this author in the near future.

Sandy Bennett via email

I have been reading the Jewish Journal for a decade or more. The Elad Massuri column is fantastic and has motivated me to subscribe. Keep it coming.

Sheri E. Ross via email

Yes, we all know that Israel is a very special place, but Elad Massuri’s longing for Israel is similar to what U.S.-born Jews living in Los Angeles feel for their East Coast and Midwestern cities. My friends from New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and other heavily Jewish cities tell me how they miss growing up in those cities. There are no bagels like the ones in those cities. There are no delicatessens like the ones in those cities. There are no newspapers like the ones in those cities.

And, just as Israelis in the San Fernando Valley stay close, my East Coast and Midwestern friends have their own clubs — the New York club, the Chicago club, the Philadelphia club. I am a native of Los Angeles, but my wife — most recently from Baltimore — belongs to a Baltimore club, where Baltimore Jews now living in Southern California meet, share copies of the Baltimore Jewish newspaper and share stories of growing up in Baltimore.

Israel is special, but apparently we all long for the areas in which we grew up. Even I, now living in the Corona del Mar area of Newport Beach, long for the Los Angeles I once knew.

Martin A. Brower, Corona del Mar

Klezmer Musicians Unite Generations

Edmon Rodman’s article on the klezmer concert at the Skirball Cultural Center brought very vivid memories rushing back (“Boyle Heights and City Terrace: Musical Bridge to East L.A.,” Aug. 21). I remember the Mautner family very well. I used to go to Eugene’s shop and was fascinated by how he dealt with all the tiny, intricate pieces of the insides of watches. I remember Ray Mautner very well, too. Besides teaching my brother (Zev Yaroslavsky) piano, he also was the piano accompanist to the modern dance classes that were held in my parents’ Hebrew school, the City Terrace Folk Shul, and which filled my life. 

It was wonderful hearing about him and his family again.

Shimona Yaroslavsky Kushner via