Jewish Journal


January 4, 2007

Geller is for real; Pico-Roberston’s no ‘hood; Honorable menschen


Power of Geller

David Ian Salter's letter regarding Uri Geller infuriated me and compelled me to write my first-ever letter to an editor (Letters, Dec. 29). For Salter to make a blanket statement saying that "Geller has been conclusively debunked as a charlatan" and that "Geller is not psychic" is factually untrue and irresponsible. Slater's source is mainly James Randi, a man who made a career and plenty of money out of attempting to debunk people.

I have been a close, personal friend of Geller for the past 13 years. We met in 1993, when my husband and I distributed a film based on his life.

When I first met Geller, I didn't know much about him. I mainly remembered my father in the 1970s getting excited to see a young Israeli making headlines around the world.

Fascinated by his apparent capabilities and charm, I spent some time doing research on him. I read what scientists had to say about him, studied the experiments done on him at the Stanford Research Institute and, of course, read books debunking him to see how they said that he does his tricks.

Randi's main assertion is that Geller swaps spoons by sleight of hand tricks. If that is so, how did he effortlessly bend my grandmother's very heavy silver spoon by gently rubbing it in front of my eyes? The Hebrew writing engraved on it made it impossible for him to switch spoons.

And how does a spoon that he gently caresses continue to bend once placed on the table or in your hands, with Geller out of the room? How does he telepathically duplicate a drawing that you have drawn, and almost every time, his drawing is the exact same size to the millimeter as your drawing? Or, better yet -- he has done reverse telepathy on me and members of my family, where he draws something first and then projects it into your mind, and you then draw the exact same picture.

He is a fascinating person, and I am among those who are willing to open my mind to the distinct possibility that he is for real. I also witnessed the big hand on the grandfather clock in my entry hall bend forward inside the glass, with Geller across the room, concentrating on bending it. It was nothing short of amazing.

Your description of Geller as "controversial" was the exact, correct description. While some people believe that he is a magician, others, such as myself and many of the people who know him well, believe that he, in fact, has powers that defy the laws of physics.

The fact that he is controversial has kept Geller in the press for over 40 years (incidentally, he is currently starring in the biggest reality television show that Israel has ever seen).

When an autistic savant can perform a piano concerto after only hearing it once, we accept that it is real and not a trick, since the savant does not have the mental capabilities to trick us. But their powers are unbelievably amazing. It is my opinion that some of us human beings actually possess unusual abilities, and people should open their minds to that possibility.

Shauna Shapiro Jackson

Eric Roth

Your recent article on Eric Roth states incorrectly that his family moved to Los Angeles when he was a senior in high school ("A Tale of a Young Man's Venture Into the CIA," Dec. 22). Actually, they arrived in the San Fernando Valley when Eric was still in elementary school.

He was active at both Valley Cities Jewish Community Center and Camp JCA, and perhaps this involvement played a role in the development of the Jewish values and sense of heritage that he alludes to as being influential in his life.

Mike Schlesinger
Kibbutz Maagan Michael

Honorable Menschen

[Rob Eshman] set the stage, arranged the props and introduced the real and potential cast. Then, while gracefully complimenting a gentleman who did the right thing, gently drove another arrow into the heart of racism ("Mensches," Dec. 29).

I'll happily take the top 10 mensches over any list of the richest, most influential or most powerful. Give yourself at least honorable mention!

David Michels

Angry Neighbor

A short time ago, David Suissa wrote that he recently moved to the Pico-Robertson area ("Chasids in the Hood (or Not)," Dec. 22). As a newcomer, what gives him the right to rename the area, "The Hood?" Is it supposed to be cute?

As a 45-year resident of this area, I protest! The word "hood" is associated with gangsters - and the dictionary confirms this. What's wrong with the word "neighborhood?"

Bracha Malkin
Los Angeles

Ford and Wallenberg

The death of President Gerald Ford leaves a void at the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, because he was the first and only U.S. president to join the educational nonprofit organization as an honorary member.

Ford was unique among the dozens of heads of state and Nobel Prize laureates who support the Wallenberg Foundation. Like Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat that saved tens of thousand of lives during the Holocaust, Ford was born early in the 20th century. Both men graduated from the same institution, the University of Michigan, and possibly knew each other personally.

Ford has, however, something Wallenberg does not -- closure, respect, the final chapter of his life has been written. Wallenberg is still missing, after being taken by the Soviets in 1945.

Wallenberg, an honorary U.S. citizen who saved more lives than anyone else in human history, deserves the respect, honor and closure that Ford received.

Let's bring Raoul home.

Baruch Tenembaum
International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
New York, N.Y.

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