December 26, 2002
The Sadat Legacy
The Jewish Journal must be praised for publishing that very eloquent article by Yuval Rotem, the consul general of the State of Israel ("The Sadat Legacy: 25 Years Later," Dec. 13).
But I must take issue with Rotem on one point. In the paragraph where he states that peace with the Palestinians will only come about when an enlightened leader emerges from the warring factions that lead them, and that Israel will surrender the occupied territories to them if they accept Israel and Jews in general.
I strongly disagree.
As long as Palestinian-inspired instability continues to exist in the Middle East, Israel must never surrender its sovereignty to anyone for whatever reason.
Dario Witer, Reseda
A 'Final' Decision
This entire feud has been instrumental in desecrating God's name. Does Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin really need another building? ("A 'Final' Decision Courts Trouble," Dec. 13.) Our rabbis are supposed to model kindness, piety and righteousness. I see none of this being emulated by Cunin if the motivating drive behind this feud is money and property. Cunin's mixed seating telethons bring in millions. The Torah, as I learned it, does not allow one to diverge from the law for money in this manner. From where I sit, I only see one more man using God to practice capitalism, not religion.
Edward Andrews, Los Angeles
Up a Tree Looking for a Home
South Bay goes beyond Palos Verdes, like Lomita, where you may find trees, affordable houses and a Jewish Orthodox Oasis: Chabad of South Bay -- with daily minyanim, Torah classes, a Jewish school, a library, a mikvah and much more for an intensive religious life ("Up a Tree Looking for a Home" Dec. 13).
Dr. Jorge Weil, Los Angeles
The L.A. Jewish community has lost a rare spiritual leader of exceptional insight in Metivta's financial crisis, ("Severe Financial Crisis Hits Metivta," Dec. 13). Rabbi Rami Shapiro is a master teacher whose insights nourish the spirit and promote critical thinking in the best Jewish tradition. His poems and prayers are included in the liturgy of siddurim all across the country. It is unaccountable, and sad, that Los Angeles is unable to support this most authentically contemplative center of Jewish spiritual practice.
As a Metivta supporter with an ongoing daily contemplative practice, the absence of Shapiro and Judy Gordon leaves a huge hole in our community resources.
Catherine Klatzker, North Hollywood Shoah Foundation
I was fortunate enough to cover the Shoah Foundation annual banquet on Dec. 5 ("Tackling the Future," Dec. 6). As a 16-year-old professional journalist I was not emotionally prepared for the evening. When I arrived I was escorted to an area where I was allowed to access, by way of computers, testimonies of Holocaust survivors. I was given the opportunity to personally interview some survivors who attended the event. They told me about their experiences and showed me their personal photographs that were taken at the camps. As a product of Jewish day schools, I learned about the Holocaust, but listening to survivors' testimonies really made a durable impression. For me, the evening ended with an interview with Steven Spielberg who explained to me that the Shoah Foundation started out as a project, but it is now becoming an institution. I truly believe that by providing access to these personal accounts of the Holocaust, we are building a more tolerant and more humane generation.
Fred Medill, Beverly Hills
The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, Southern California District, has addressed a letter to Dr. Robert Wexler, president of the University of Judaism (UJ), questioning the propriety of inviting Henry Kissinger to speak on Jan. 13 under UJ auspices ("Hit Lecture Series Tries New Format," Dec. 6).
Normally, we would not challenge another Jewish institution about whom it invites as a speaker. But Kissinger is globally regarded as a war criminal and mass murderer. He is wanted for questioning in several countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile, East Timor. Here is a man known for a career of destabilizing and overthrowing legitimate governments, secret bombings, foreign invasions -- secretly, because American sponsorship would have been too embarrassing to publicly acknowledge.
Kissinger has the blood of millions of people on his hands. What positive purpose is served now, in our multicultural city, by the UJ presenting this man as someone with the integrity and vision worthy of our Jewish traditions and institutions?
We are embarrassed, as Jews, and as United States and global citizens, that anyone would care to celebrate his career. Mass murder is not entertainment.
Eric A. Gordon, Director Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring