September 23, 2019

Letters to the editor: UC’s dilemma, The Shabbos Project traffic jam, RCA and more

First Step: Naming the Problem

Thank you for running the excellent column by professor Judea Pearl (“The UC’s New Dilemma: To Name or Not to Name,” Nov. 6). His comments are perfectly succinct. As a parent of four UC students, current and alumni, we have personally felt the ugly whiplash of Zionophobia. 

My own kids have been silenced by teachers for pointing out factual errors in classroom discussions and have been assaulted and spat upon at anti-Israel rallies. My kids have spent all-nighters speaking at student council meetings on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. I have personally written more than a dozen letters to administrators, teachers and department chairs at UC Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara. 

As Pearl states, let’s name names and be explicit about where the First Amendment and discrimination meet.

Thank you for a strong piece.

Anne M. Storm, via email

Rules Are Rules

As an Orthodox Jewish woman, one who is very pro-women and women’s rights, I could not disagree more with the concept of ordaining women as rabbis (“A Time to Stand for Female Spiritual Leadership,” Nov. 6). Female leadership has its rightful place among all streams of Judaism, however, the Orthodox model maintains that women cannot conduct certain religious actions, specifically in regards to men fulfilling their commanded mitzvot. She cannot lead a man in prayer or assist him in the majority of his spiritual work, and therefore cannot fulfill the traditional role of rabbi within Orthodoxy. 

As a therapist — not a rabbi or a rabbi’s wife — I get daily calls with questions about religious matters of all kinds. If a woman wants to lead in the Orthodox movement, then she can and she should. The work is the work by any name. 

The RCA, although by far not free from the influences of power, control and, dare I say, misogyny, has done the right thing. Women do not need the title of rabbi to perform the work of a female community leader and it is presumptuous to assume that all Orthodox women want Orthodox women rabbis. 

No matter what happens, decency, respect and love for our fellow Jew must always be the tone of any discussion, regardless of the outcome. However, it is the responsibility of the established leadership, in this case, the RCA, to guard the gate of Orthodox Torah values. Those who wish for something different can, by all means, create something new under a different umbrella. 

Mia Adler Ozair, Beverly Hills

Project Gridlock

It’s hard “to be sane in an insane world” (as Rabbi Shlomo Yisraeli’s class was titled) when a Shabbat observance shuts down a major east-west thoroughfare — at rush hour on a Friday — with no advance publicity or advisory signage (“The Shabbat Heard ’Round the World,” Oct. 30). Affected businesses likewise were not notified and were forced to close early. From a public relations and traffic perspective, The Shabbos Project was a disaster. 

What was inspiring for Rabbi Yonah Bookstein was infuriating to thousands of commuters who didn’t know their already-rough commute was going to be made much worse by the closing of a critical section of Pico Boulevard during a peak traffic period. Traffic was a nightmare, with many drivers frantically turning north and south through residential neighborhoods to escape the gridlock. 

I hope the Jewish Unity Network can find a more appropriate location (e.g., a private venue or a public park) for its event next year, so Jews and non-Jews alike can get home — some of us for our own Shabbat dinners — without needless disruption and aggravation.

Susan Gans, president, Roxbury-Beverwil Homeowners Alliance

20/20 Hindsight? Continued

How could Rob Eshman yearn for Bill Clinton (“Bring Bill Clinton Back to the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Table,” Oct. 30)?  Is he not aware that the Clinton foundation has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the leaders of Qatar, the premier sponsor of Hamas terrorism? While Bill and Hillary are cashing those checks and adding to their $150 million influence-peddling treasure trove, Israelis have died from different checks written by Qatar’s leaders.

Shame on him for being so gullible and backing the Clintons, who put our country up for sale.

Jason Goodman, via email


A Business and Finance story about the ride service HopSkipDrive (“Kids Catch a Ride With HopSkipDrive,” Nov. 6) incorrectly identified Smart Capital as one of its investors instead of FirstMark Capital.

A Travel story about Goa, India (“Ready, Set, Goa,” Oct. 30), misspelled the first name of the owner of the Cozy Nook. The owner’s name is Agnelo “Aggy” D’Costa.