October 27, 2005
Taps for Hatikvah
It has been sad indeed to see the slow death of all things Jewish along our Fairfax stretch over the last few years ("Fairfax Shops Feel the Squeeze," Oct. 21).
Before we are relegated to yet another historical reference on the Canter's mural, let's hope the community mobilizes to at least make enough of an effort to slow down the gentrification of the area.
The latest casualty appears to be the imminent demise of the Hatikvah Music store. Hatikvah Music goes back to the '50s. It was the only Jewish music store I knew where many aspiring pop artists entered the music business as part-time sales helpers when Fairfax High was on holiday.
Lately, it had become the only store you could visit in person to get the greatest selection of Jewish music in the West (perhaps in the whole country).
Sad, sad indeed,
I am one of the artists whose CDs have been sold by Hatikvah. This is one of the few places left that specialize in the promotion of grass-roots groups like ours in a menschlikhkeit and heartfelt way.
If in fact the rent increases prohibit the existence of this wonderful shop, I question the priorities of the landowner. It is a shame to lose the most important venue left for the distribution of cultural heritage on the West Coast. I'm very sorry for this development.
Please choose titles for The Journal that we can be proud of. Your choice of covers is often embarrassing and hurtful, and could lead to anti-Semitic responses from people. "An-Jew-Linos," the title of the Sept. 30 paper, was not appropriate and quite offensive.
We don't want letter carriers, postmen, store owners, patrons at the library, non-Jewish readers and anti-Semites reading disgusting titles like that. We don't want people calling Angelenos, "An-Jew-Linos." What were you thinking? Are you trying to create problems for our community?
Be very careful what you write on the covers of The Journal. It is seen and read by many people, not just Jewish people.
Thank you for Michael Berenbaum and Jane Ulman's comprehensive and thoughtful coverage of the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate ("Nostra Aetate" and "What Happened When Jews Stopped Being Jesus' Killers," Oct. 21). The story of Los Angeles' role in developing Catholic-Jewish dialogue deserves to be known more widely.
The reality is that Catholics have spent a great deal more time and effort learning about Jews and Judaism than Jews have in learning about Catholics and Catholicism, let alone Christianity in general. Our community's conversion fears must not remain stumbling blocks to knowledge and understanding.
Leadership must come not only from organizations like the American Jewish Committee but also from our educational institutions and spiritual leaders. Here in Los Angeles, for example, Milken Community High School and the University of Judaism's undergraduate college have made progress in teaching not only Christianity, but also Islam and Asian religions.
Still, of the major rabbinical seminaries across the United States, only Philadelphia's Reconstructionist Rabbinical College requires a comparative religion course of its graduates -- and some still don't even offer them as electives. But every priest in formation has to study the Tanakh -- in Hebrew.
It is said that he who knows one religion knows none. Ignorance of the other is no excuse.
Valley Cities Thriving
I read your article about the West Valley JCC with keen interest. However, your statement about Valley Cities JCC gave the impression that we are just barely existing ("Milken JCC Thrives With Dollars, Sense," Oct. 21).
I would like to inform you that Valley Cities has a thriving Early Childhoom program, and an after-school program that services 10 public schools; an LAUSD education program two days a week; Israeli and ballroom dancing; a teen center; an exercise program for seniors; play readings, bagel brunches with excellent speakers; and a kosher kitchen.
Valley Cities JCC services the East Valley community in the same way as our companion West Valley JCC services the West Valley community. For all your readers in the East Valley, come by and partake of our services as they are there for your use and enjoyment.
At the end of her article, "The Painful Holidays" (Oct. 7), Michele Herenstein bravely writes what I've only thought about saying to the Jewish community. As a Jewishly involved 30-something single myself, invitations to join others for Shabbat and holiday meals are painfully few and far between.
I can't help but feel that, all too often, the community at large and specifically the synagogue-going community easily loses sight of those of us who have not yet made our own families, just when we need them the most.
Like Herenstein, I ask the community to keep your eyes out for those of us who are single. In your planning, please consider those of us single men and women who may not have anywhere else to return to after shul, except for an empty apartment.
Constantly accusing all critics of Israel and Zionism as anti-Semitic is the false use of the race card meant to silence dissent ("Teacher Class on Mideast Stirs Doubt," Oct. 7). Accusing organizations like the American Friends Service Committee of anti-Semitism risks isolating the Jewish community from the larger human rights discourse.
The Anti-Defamation League should stop monitoring human rights organizations and instead enter into real dialogue based on universal principles of social justice. There are well-meaning people who have serious, legitimate concerns with Israeli policy and Zionism, with no malice toward the Jewish people, these concerns stemming from a global understanding of the principles of justice and human rights that should be applied to everyone. To have a different policy toward Israel would be hypocritical and indefensible.
Your article raised concern regarding conference coordinator Linda Tubach's affiliation with Cafe Intifada, which, as you correctly reported, supports Palestinian cultural programs, such as arts, educational, labor, community and human rights organizations, all essential parts of any dynamic democracy which Israel and its defenders claim it to be. Why then, the concern with our organization?
You incorrectly reported that Tubach no longer serves on our advisory board and that it has been disbanded. It is the pen pal program that has been discontinued, not our advisory board. We are grateful for Linda's continued participation.
Major Problem -- Women
I read with interest Rob Eshman's editorial ("The Conversation," Oct. 21). Had I been along for the ride to Colorado, I would have said that one major problem in the Jewish community is that many women are not satisfied with their roles in Judaism.
This is most likely because they do not understand that they are not required to put on tefillin, have a quorum (minyan), wear tallisim, etc. So they use their secular-oriented mentalities and vie for opportunities to participate as men, "equal rights."
This notion of equal opportunities is irrelevant to real Judaism. In fact, it is this lack of understanding and a lack of acceptance by more secular, assimilated Jews that gave rise to the perverse concept of women "rabbis."
What do such women dismiss as irrelevant laws that they permit themselves to touch the Torah during times of their individual menses cycle, for example? Looking for halachic loopholes for women to carry the Torah as is done at B'nai David-Judea (Orthodox), undermines women converts to Orthodox Judaism who are satisfied with their specific obligations and do not need to vie with men for such newly created opportunities.
This is the demise of real Judaism! The advent of an era of new and perverted religions that are an offshoot of Judaism, albeit embracing many other Jewish ideals and reaching out to embrace like minds who need a religion of convenience.
What do you call a "useful idiot" a whole generation later? You would think after the Venona files were released and documented that the people who were prosecuted under the "red scare" were prosecuted for what they did, not what they thought, that objections to McCarthy would wane ("Ed Murrow: What's in a Name," Oct. 21).
Today, the parallels are clear. If the Cold War is over and Edward Rampell is still on the wrong side, why should we trust him about the war on terror?
Janet and Albert Fuchs