August 17, 2019

Letters to the Editor: Trump, Jews and Keith Ellison

Trump and Jewish Values

Rabbi Pini Dunner celebrates Donald Trump’s victory of “traditional values” (“Trump’s Victory a Win for Traditional Jews,” Dec. 9). Do these values include adultery, lying, demonizing others because of their beliefs, denigrating people because of their looks or weight, mocking the disabled, stiffing workers by withholding their pay, groping women, etc. These are traditional Jewish values? Who knew?

Joan Leb via email

With all due respect to Rabbi Dunner (meant sincerely — I love his history column in another publication), I am one of many Orthodox Jews who are horrified by Trump’s victory. While Dunner may argue about what “Jewish values” are, there is no discrepancy where Torah values are concerned; Trump represents the antithesis of most every Torah value that I have ever learned, lived and taught as a Jewish educator for 20 years. 

How do I explain to my son and my students the dangers of lashon harah, not being careful with our words and libeling, when the new leader of the free world openly commits theses sins on a regular basis? How do I explain the importance of honesty or humility when Trump is caught lying at almost every turn and is one of the most frighteningly narcissistic braggarts to take the political stage?  

Every week, my husband sings “Eishes Chayil” to me and tries to instill in my son a deep respect for women. And then my son hears the disgusting and degrading way Trump talks about and treats women. Trump is not tzeniut (modest), has cheated workers out of pay and doesn’t care about education. He doesn’t stand for “traditional values,” he flouts them.  

Batsheva Frankel, Los Angeles

Castro, World Leaders and History’s Judgment

Once again, Dennis Prager looks to bash “progressives” in his opinion piece “A Question for Progressive Readers” (Dec. 9).

Indeed, many leaders did miss the mark on Fidel Castro. But President Barack Obama said something far different. As president, I found his remarks to be nuanced. And he did not glorify him as a leader. But it is true to say Castro has had a profound influence on the people of his nation. To say otherwise is disingenuous. Donald Trump has the luxury of not being president and he can be as brash and provocative as he wishes. As president, you need to be more thoughtful and nuanced, which is how Obama described Castro. Trump, in his usual bravado, missed the mark of a seasoned statesman completely. 

Judith Alban via email

A Dark Side of Olive Oil’s History

The Jewish Journal cover story (“Olive Oil: Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Food,” Dec. 16) talks about the value of olive oil in Jewish cooking. Your readers might like to know that during the Spanish Inquisition (13th through 19th centuries), cooking with olive oil instead of lard was a sure sign of Judaizing by descendants of Jewish conversos to Catholicism, Cristianos nuevos.

Use of olive oil could lead to a visit to the Inquisition to find out who else was Judaizing, and possible torture to find out. Enough evidence of Judaizing could lead to burning at the stake (auto-da-fé). If the victim “accepted” Jesus before the fires were lit, he or she would be strangled first.

Myron Kayton ,Santa Monica

The Two Sides of Keith Ellison

If Zan Romanoff were objective, she would be asking, “Where are the Jewish leaders on Keith Ellison?” who is the front-runner to be the head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) (“Where Are Jewish Leaders on Trump?” Dec. 16). Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, in the opinion section of the Dec. 2 edition of the Jewish Journal, identified nine specific bullet-point factual incidents in which Ellison displayed his anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic activities. If Romanoff wants more Jewish leaders to raise our awareness of people in politics who are anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish, she should be sounding the alarm about the candidacy of Keith Ellison. Romanoff represented herself to be a 29-year-old columnist and journalist. If she wants to have a successful career, she should make a greater effort to put her liberal-left biases aside and try to be more objective and credible.

Marshall Lerner, Beverly Hills