June 1, 2000
Shortly after my article "Reform Judaism Needs Standards" was published in the New York Jewish Week, Gene Lichtenstein called me and asked if The Jewish Journal could publish it. I figured - why not? What could go wrong?I was wrong. In 30 years of writing articles, The Jewish Journal did something I have never experienced or even heard of - it changed words, key words in this instance, without informing the author.The Journal changed this sentence: "Having said all this, the reader might be surprised to learn that I attend a Reform synagogue..." to "Having said all this, the reader might be surprised to learn that I attend a synagogue using Reform liturgy..."In doing so, The Journal undermined a central theme of my essay: namely, that I wrote this essay from within Reform, not as an outsider. I attend a wonderful Reform synagogue (Stephen S. Wise) each week, and have done so for nearly a decade.May I suggest that The Jewish Journal follow the practice of every other journal - if it makes a change, send the writer the galleys - or let your writers know that your journal is free to make changes without the author's knowledge.
Dennis Prager,Los Angeles
Ed Note: The Journal's policy is to never make changes of substance to a column without the writer's permission. A series of all-too-human errors permitted that to happen in this instance, and we apologize. We will run responses to Dennis Prager's column next week.
Recently The Jewish Journal published several articles on the subject of restitution to Holocaust survivors. In view of the many news releases regarding the various funds, some holding billions of dollars, these articles were relevant and timely. No one knows how much compensation will reach survivors in the end. Some of the funds will most likely never materialize. Of the funds that will, a part will go to the agencies and organizations that supposedly serve the survivors. A part, of course, will go to the negotiators and administrators, and legal fees. And finally, a part of the restitution funds will remain in the bank accounts of those in charge of the distribution, because many survivors will be either disqualified and rejected or have died.In the end, a few will receive very little. For most, it will come too late.
Zenon Neumark, Chairman
Restitution Committee California Association of Holocaust Child Survivors