August 1, 2002
Support for Israel
While it was gratifying to see the discussion of creative and generous support for Israel ("Supporting Israel," July 2002), we call to your attention that the Jewish Federation Israel Emergency Campaign was not included. In the first six weeks since this special fund was launched April 10, we raised more than $450,000 to send directly to Israel to help victims of terror and their families, to keep children safe and to improve emergency medical services. This is unprecedented support for Israel in Orange County and the total is expected to continue to rise. While the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign always includes a generous allocation to Israel, the addition of the Israel Emergency Campaign means that Jewish Federation will send more than $800,000 to Israel this year alone.
Lou Weiss, President Jewish Federation of Orange County
E. Scott Menter ("This Year in Orange County," May 2002) states that rather than plan a trip to Jerusalem this year he'll spend his time "on the phones, at the keyboard, standing at rallies, calling congressmen, e-mailing senators, writing letters, etc."
For years, environmental groups have sent their members requests for concerted help to promote environmental goals, offering sample letters and e-mails to copy and send, and had great success meeting their goals. Surely there should be a similar way for Orange County Jews to help Israel, like an Orange County Web site listing all the activities E. Scott Menter is doing with a request to the rest of us to participate en masse. We just might have the same kind of success the environmentalists did.
Nina Hammer, Laguna Woods
I read with interest your article about the Jeremiah Society and efforts to help keep developmentally disabled Jews in a Jewish environment ("Challenge Issued," July 2002). I thought it was well-defined and well-researched and I join the multitude of parents who hail the article as an assist to reach our goal. Thank you for your help. Articles like yours will make a difference.
Rose Lacher, Secretary Jeremiah Society
Congratulations on The Jewish Journal of Orange County.
Circulation could be vastly increased by having Orange County Personal Connections as there is an obvious geographic need.
Also, it would be an asset in both the Los Angeles and Orange County publications to indicate the advertiser's area code at the end of each ad. This information would encourage more people to respond rather than to lose interest because of geographic distance.
Warmest good wishes for success in Orange County.
Joni James, via e-mail
Where Are You?
Kudos to Amy Klein who so eloquently demands that we visit Israel now ("Where Are You?" July 2002). That our letters, opinion pieces and checks are not quite enough. Israelis need us in Israel.
This is exactly how I felt when I led Shalhevet High sophomores to Israel last March. This is exactly why Shalhevet families are sending their children to Israel this summer and in the coming school year.
Paul Nisenbaum Assistant Principal Shalhevet High School
Phil Shuman claims there are certain "dirty facts" about Israel ("Dirty Facts," June 2002). "Things like Israeli's bulldozing homes with people inside ... sharp-shooting soldiers taking out old women ... [and] denying, food, water and medical care to [the] injured and dying."
The problem is, the crimes of which he has accused the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are not facts. They are rumors, and sometimes outright lies that have been trumpeted long and loud enough to gain a currency they do not deserve.
Example: the only people to whom food, water and medical care were denied were those still engaged in combat against the IDF in Ramallah and Bethlehem. I can testify that combat was ongoing in Bethlehem at the time that I was there. Palestinian gunmen in the Church of the Nativity were firing from snipers nests throughout the compound. To suggest that Israel was obliged to provide aid to combatants still firing upon them is utterly and completely absurd.
The "dirty truth" is that sometimes the press gets played for chumps, and well-meaning people, like Shuman, quote the lies as "dirty facts."
Dan Gordon, Thousand Oaks
I find it hard to have sympathy for Phil Shuman because he is part of a long list of Jews and international media conglomerates that criticize Israel in the name of "objective journalism."
He is just recycling the same rhetoric being circulated by the Arab Palestinian propaganda machine trying to blame Israel for the "situation in the Middle East."
Shuman made it seem like Israel is equally guilty for the war against Israel, and everybody recognizes that it simply is not true.
Robert Fried, Oak Park