September 18, 2019

Letters to the editor: Donald Trump, disability inclusion and more

More Inclusion Programs

I am the mother of a 10-year-old boy who at 15 months was diagnosed with epilepsy (“Why Give a Damn About JDAIM?” Feb. 12). As he got older, his ability to read, communicate and socialize did not develop at a typical pace. I wondered if it would be possible for him to become a bar mitzvah, as would his younger brother. 

As I was looking around for synagogues for our family to join, it was important that I found a place where both my sons could enjoy a warm, inviting and educational environment. 

I soon learned about the OurSpace program at Temple Aliyah and Valley Beth Shalom. Living close to Temple Aliyah, I focused on this synagogue as our home base. I spoke several times with the rabbi, I visited the classrooms and I spoke with Susan North Gilboa, the director of the OurSpace program. I was assured that indeed my son would become a bar mitzvah. It was his Jewish birthright, and no difference in his abilities would take that away from him. Within the month, both of my sons were beginning their religious school. They both loved it … immediately. 

The three teachers Phineas has had while attending the past two years have been wonderful. They are patient, caring, innovative, hands-on teachers. He is bringing his learning home. He participates more in our family Shabbat blessings and holiday celebrations. He is even picking up a little Hebrew. I am so thankful that we found the OurSpace program.  This is a community we will be happy to be a part of for many years to come.

Melissa Brizee via email

Jewish Disability Awareness Month is incredibly important. Thank you for advocating for kids with special needs and for highlighting inclusive synagogues.

Jolene Philo via

No Peace

Regarding David N. Myers’ column (“What If Tom Friedman is Right?” Feb. 26), I agree with what Friedman said about how there will be no peace between the Israelis and Palestinians over the land of Israel. I think that the hopes of a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine diminished years ago. The only way the dispute will end is if one group cedes control of the land to the other. I think that having a joined Jewish and Palestinian state would not work because both parties want control over the capital city of Jerusalem. And if Friedman is correct in what he said, then what we should do is hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Oz Hadad, Encino

Reading Tom Friedman’s belief that the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian crisis is no longer an option, I find his analysis distressing, destructive and hopefully wrong. I side with Shimon Peres, who, when asked about the future of Israel without a peace agreement, said, “We will see terror, bloodshed, hatred, and victims everywhere.”

Facing that future for Israel, we cannot afford to quit.  This is a long, long struggle, filled with anguish. But with no peace, and even the vision of peace abandoned, the Israeli population demographics for the years ahead show a Jewish minority ruling over a frustrated, hateful and angry majority in an ever-tense, dangerous and fearful Israel.

Moshe Dayan once said, “You don’t make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies.” So we must continue the struggle, as dismal as it looks. There is really no alternative. 

Richard Gunther, Los Angeles

The Truth About Trump 

David Suissa’s column in the Feb. 19 issue of the Journal is very interesting and informative (“The Lure of Trump: No More Rip-Offs”). I really thought only “crazies” would follow Trump. I can understand a bit why he’s getting so many people cheering him on. However, his latest followers are white supremacists, specifically David Duke, a former leader of the KKK. And Trump didn’t condemn them. He said he “knows nothing about them.” I, for one, would not like to back anyone who the KKK backs. And, hopefully, this will affect his “not-so-crazy” backers. 

Anita Meyer, Tarzana

Don’t Demonize Donald!

No, Rob Eshman, you are not naïve (“Trump’s White Supremacists,” Feb. 26). You are a radical leftist defamer of Israel and conservatism. While I am no fan or supporter of Donald Trump, I read in your editorial a virulent abhorrence of the man. You demonize him by citing bloggers and white supremacists who support him. It is informative to note from your editorial that your incessant projection of conservative hate identifies yourself.

C.P. Lefkowitz, Rancho Palos Verdes