August 18, 2019

Letters to the editor: Peoplehood, kapparot, Joseph L. Young and more

Dealing with the Deal, Together

I am writing to say that I agree with what David Suissa said in his editorial (“Bubblehood vs. Peoplehood,” Sept. 11). But he forgot to mention something important. 

It was because we could not come together that we lost Jerusalem and the Temple fell. We Jews as a people are so isolated that it is dangerous for us to fight among ourselves. We need to pull together and say, “Although I don’t agree with the way you worship, I am your brother/sister and it is more important to love one another than to fight.” One of the reasons that we have flourished in the United States is the Freedom of Religion clause in our Constitution. As an American Jew, I am allowed to practice my religion and fundamentalists of all religions are allowed to practice theirs, but not to impose their beliefs on others. We Jews need to learn that we are more alike than we are different.  

I don’t know what to think about this Iran deal, I have heard passionate conversation on both sides. But I think we shouldn’t be fighting one another over it. There is little each individual Jew can do to impact that outcome. But we need to stand together and deal with whatever the consequences will be. 

Suzanne Gallant via email

Kapparot’s Suit

I don’t see how swinging a chicken in the air atones for one’s sins (“The Battle Over Kapparot Goes to Court,” Sept. 11). Maybe I have missed something. It seems more along the lines of hocus pocus and voodoo, and not anything that sane, intelligent people in a modern civilized society take part in. I feel quite certain that God does not approve of this ill treatment toward his creatures.

Cher Ami via

Thank you very much for your valuable coverage of the bicoastal campaigns to replace the use of chickens in the kapporos ritual with coins or other charitable objects that do not cause suffering to helpless creatures.

Karen Davis via

Amazing Joe Young

Joseph Young was my dad’s favorite and most famous first cousin (“Joseph L. Young: Jewish Knight of Religious Art,” Sept. 11). We always called him “Josie.” He and his wife, Mimi, were a very attractive couple, like out of the movies. When they came to visit us in Aliquippa, Pa., they were always laughing. I never saw him look serious, even though he was considered one of the best mosaic artists in the world. He was down to earth and never let fame go to his head, but you could tell he was a perfectionist.
What a terrific article. Hoping his work is an inspiration forever.

Jeffrey Joel Eger, Mesa, Ariz. 

Two Nickels and a Schimmel

Rob Eshman’s Yonah Schimmel story is not the one of the 1930s and ’40s that I remember (“Meditation on Yonah Schimmel,” Sept. 4). My uncle had a pharmacy on Forsythe Street, and on every visit he would take the hand of his nephew and march me around the corner to Yonah Schimmel’s on Houston Street. There, I would be hypnotized by the array of knishes. I usually selected one filled with kasha. If there wasn’t one in the display case, a dumbwaiter with shelves and on pulleys would rise from the depths of who knows where and be filled with kasha knishes.

For 10 cents — a nickel on the Third Avenue L train from the Bronx to Manhattan and a nickel for the knish, (my uncle paid) — this kid was in hog heaven (excuse the expression).

Jerry Baruch, Los Angeles

Fruits of Labor

Edmon Rodman’s “Deep-Seeded Connections” (Sept. 11) brought back memories. The name Toby caught my eye right away. In my 81 years, I have personally known only one Toby, but did know of another one from my former dermatologist, Dr. Paul Wolfish. He even showed me an old black-and-white photograph of himself and his future wife, Toby, taken while both were in kindergarten. 

Paul Wolfish was a real mensch. While in his office, he would even sing for me the latest haftarah from a recent temple service, and he told me of his daughter who was going to Oberlin College in Ohio. 

I believe the last time I saw him was at Trader Joe’s in West Hills, purchasing a bottle of wine. Thanks for helping me recall one special Jewish doctor. As for Toby’s pomegranates numbering in the hundreds from a single tree, so do my persimmons as of late, also from a single tree.

Samuel Kohn, Canoga Park


An article in the Fall Preview issue, “The Broad Museum’s Long-Awaited Opening” (Sept. 11), incorrectly stated that the Broad Foundation would be moving from Santa Monica into the new museum. It is the Broad Art Foundation that will move.