January 29, 1998
Keep Your Opinions to Yourself
Recently, The Jewish Journal announced that it was hiringreporters and stringers to cover the San Fernando Valley andsurrounding areas. In response, we received numerous resumésand clips of people looking to write...columns. Is that, we wondered,a particularly Jewish phenomenon? Why report what others say and dowhen you would rather report to others what you think?
Whatever the case, we are full up on columnists, though we alwayslook forward to your letters and submissions to the "Other Voices"guest column. What we need are sharp, eager, insightful reporters toadd to our growing paper. The Journal has been a breeding ground forfine journalists -- Joe Domanick, Steve Weinstein and Duke Helfand toname a few all got their starts here before moving on to the LosAngeles Times and books.
If you are interested, please send us your resumé andwriting samples. Columnists need not apply. --Robert Eshman,
"Israel, for example, is a major center of the prostitution slavetrade," Robert Scheer wrote in his Los Angeles Times column two weeksago.
A major center? Well, according to Scheer, that awful factcame straight from an article by Michael Spector in the Jan. 11 NewYork Times. According to Spector, indigent women from countries inthe former Soviet Union are brought by underworld traffickers throughHaifa under false pretenses. There, pimps destroy or withhold thewomen's visas and force them into a life of prostitution. Thesituation is horrendous. But, as Spector reported -- and Scheerfailed to note -- Israel is not exceptional. As many as500,000 women -- a far greater number than that in Israel -- aretrafficked into Western Europe alone, reported Spector, not tomention Turkey and Asia.
There's no doubt that Israel needs to take its share ofresponsibility for this human tragedy. But how can Scheer, whom wegenerally admire, be helping by singling out Israel? The Internet nowsings with the white slave trade libels that so enlivened19th-century anti-Semitism.
We called Scheer to find out if he knows something that Spectordoesn't. So far, no response. -- R.E.
Live from Algeria
The Torah scroll you see in this photo was hand-scribed on animalskin, not the traditional parchment, 400 years ago in Algeria. Theonce-thriving Jewish community there has dwindled to 300 souls. Whencommunal leaders learned that the current government was going toconfiscate important religious artifacts, they put the Torah on acamel and sent it across the Sahara. Eventually, it was procured bythe parents, students and staff of the Abraham Joshua Heschel DaySchool in Northridge, who raised money for its purchase throughperformances of "Fiddler on the Roof." For more information, call(818) 368-5781. -- R.E.
Everyone's Got a Story
Are you now or have you ever been part of the establishment of theState of Israel?
If you have, or if someone you know has, the Jewish Federation ofGreater Los Angeles and the Simon Wiesenthal Center want to hear fromyou. The two organizations are preparing a commemorative album for aCBS Television special that will celebrate Israel's 50th birthday,and they'd like to publish your account. If you are a current or pastCalifornia resident with a story about your experience to share, call(818) 597-9523 and ask for Sheli. -- R.E.
Be a Star, Help a School
Ohr Eliyahu Academy is a Westside Orthodox day school with areputation for fine Judaic and general studies, a superb specialeducation program, and, lately, financial difficulties. A benefactorhas come to the school's aid with a most interesting offer: buy aguaranteed walk-on in a new film by Tony Scott, the maker of "TopGun," "Crimson Tide" and "Beverly Hills Cop," and the money will bedonated to Ohr Eliyahu. The walk-on will be sold by voice-mailauction, so call (213) 969-4960 to place your bid. See you at themovies. --R.E.
Denzel Washington and apreviously unknown actor in "Crimson Tide"