September 23, 2019

Letters to the editor: The Pope; Water crisis; The Laugh Factory and more

Not a One-Man Show

I think David Suissa perfectly summarizes some unique Jewish principles (“Why Jews Don’t Have a Pope,” Oct. 2). For us, mutuality, collective decision making, mutually complementing cooperation above and despite our inherent differences, arguments and diversity trump any personal leadership. Moreover, every Jew, and all of us collectively together, have a direct relationship and responsibility toward God without any “middle man.” Through the present holiday season, we all got a deeper insight into these unparalleled, fundamental Jewish principles.

Zsolti Hermann, via

Although I understand where he’s coming from, thankfully David Suissa speaks only for himself with regard to publicly disparaging a billion Catholics. Secondly, if you think every Jew should decide for themselves what Judaism should be like, then that is what ought to be called a religion of convenience. The only aspect “essential to Jewish tradition” is Jewish tradition (aka Torah). 

Dovid Asher, via

Field of Candidates

Three thoughts about Marty Kaplan’s compelling column (“Cock-and-bull Candidates,” Oct. 2): First, bias may be a better term for what passes today as opinion. Bias is self-serving, as in, “Unfettered free markets work for me and my donors, so I’ll make up a story and market it to support my so-called considered opinion.” 

Second, secularism driven by bias has left no place for leavening by spiritualism. In that world, stories serve as powerful vehicles to be mined by System 2 for eternal truths that can guide us as well today as in ancient times.

Finally, my reading of Kohelet during this Sukkot season has me attuned to the ephemeral, so hopefully the cock and bull Kaplan describes will be blown away by a shifting wind sooner rather than later.

Roger Schwarz, Los Angeles

Water, Water … Where?

In response to the drought in California I have been hearing about since the mid-1970s: It’s 2015 and it’s the major topic of the day (“Solutions That Hold Water,” Oct. 2). More than 40 years have passed. Irresponsible politicians concerned only about what position they will hold next. Would have been “responsible” to realize that the constituents need water to survive. Desalination should have been considered in the ’70s and it’s a must. We need this desperately. No more putting off this need. Our leaders in Sacramento must be fools to let this drastic situation drag on for these many years. It’s time that we have new sound leadership.

Alexandra Jones, Los Angeles

Credit to the Cantor

“Laugh Factory: An Annual Sanctuary for the Ultra-Unaffiliated” (Oct. 2) gave long-overdue credit to the owner, Jamie Masada, whose generosity makes it possible for hundreds of people to experience meaningful High Holidays services every year. Rabbi Bob Jacobs also received well-deserved recognition.

I am the person who hands out the “reader cards,” which help create a sense of community among the disparate attendees in this unusual congregation. That sense of community also comes through the efforts of the cantorial soloist, whose name did not appear in the article. Robin Winston deserves recognition for the nine years of dedication that she has devoted to these services. 

Full disclosure: She is also my wife.

Bruce Winston, Culver City

Comfort Food

Such a great point of view from an Israeli Jew living in Los Angeles (“Where Is My Israeli Food in L.A.?” Sept. 25). It’s so interesting to see how our relationship with food from home determines the new experiences we’ll have anywhere else. Great job!

Marcela Schmidt via

Good on UC Regents

The State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism was never designed for a college campus, where, short of clear bigotry, the free expression and exchange of ideas should be given the widest latitude (“UC Regents Reject Statement of Principles of Intolerance,” Sept. 25). 

Students should not be shielded from ideas that make them uncomfortable. Being confronted with new ideas is part of the essence of an education. 

Marshall Fuss via