April 13, 2006
The story regarding Kobe Bryant saying that he "wouldn't mind" being Jewish was pointless and inane. An off-the-cuff remark all of a sudden becomes a possibility in the minds some people. In addition, the story was filled with inaccuracies as to the number of Jewish athletes in the major sports.
On opening day there were 10 Jews on Major League rosters this season (13 played last year), the NFl had seven Jews on the gridiron last seaso and the NHL started with four Jews on the ice this season.
Ephraim A. Moxson
The "Real Plague"
While the contemporizing of the Ten Plagues (in Hebrew) was a neat idea, the inclusion of Jack Abramoff in the company of Osama bin Laden, Hamas and the Iranian Ahmadinejad, the new Hitler, was not only offensive and stupid, but betrayed the real 10th plague: Moral Equivalency, the same philosophy that has de-legitimated Israel, by equating Palestinian homicide bombers with Israeli citizens and defense forces; the same philosophy that refers to terrorists as "militants," "insurgents" and "activists." (Modern Causes Add Meaning to Seder," April 7) Perhaps the genocide in Sudan or the oncoming avian flu might have been better candidates.
Kudos to Joe Hicks for emphasizing that there is nothing illiberal about distinguishing between legal and illegal immigration ("Border Protests Not Fight for Civil Rights," April 7).
Jews for Jesus
Unfortunately, David Klinghoffer did not take the time to learn about the Reform movement's position before writing that "the Reform movement agrees with Jews for Jesus in affirming patrilineal descent" ("A Tenuous Claim as a Jew for Jesus," March 31). In fact, the Reform movement's policy states that a person with a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother may be considered Jewish only when confirmed "through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people." (CCAR, 1983) No learned Jew -- Conservative, Orthodox or Reform -- would consider David Brickner (who publicly proclaims his faith in Jesus) a Jew.
Klinghoffer also fails to understand the nature of patrilineal vs. matrilineal descent in Jewish tradition. First, he is simply wrong about the history. Contrary to Rabbi Meir Soloveichik's assertion, both the Torah and the sages of the Talmud were very clear that lineage is traced through the father (see Numbers 1:2 and Bava Batra 109b). Just as importantly, the Reform movement has decided that it was offensive to exclude the children from half of mixed-marriages simply due to the gender of their Jewish parent.
Jews for Jesus is a dangerous, deceptive organization that preys upon our least knowledgeable Jews. They are outside the pale of anything Jewish. Patrilineal descent, on the other hand, is both an important link to our tradition and a vital step towards inclusion and the long-term health of our Jewish community.
Alice Ollstein's comments ("Propaganda for the Insipid," March 31) about the annual AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference were insensitive and profoundly na?ve. The fact that the Jewish community has nurtured and grown AIPAC into the vibrant and effective organization it is today is nothing short of a miracle. To be able to garner the respect, attention and participation from the nations' highest ranking governmental leaders regarding the U.S.-Israel relationship is something the Jewish community can never take for granted.
During this year's conference, as always, AIPAC meticulously showcased both Democratic and Republican voices in each segment of the program, contrary to Ollstein's statement. Also, if she cannot draw a parallel between the vitriolic words of Hitler and Iranian President Ahmadinejad, let the rest of us not be in denial.
It is clear that America could have saved countless lives during World War II, but American Jews did not have the political influence at that time. Imagine the world with a vital AIPAC prior to the Holocaust -- how many lives could have been spared. So let's remain hopeful that other high school students will join the ranks of AIPAC, defending the U.S.-Israel relationship and protecting the safety of future generations.
Once again Al Franken resorts to lies and distortions when he quipped, "The last time I saw that many angry Mexicans, the United States had invaded Mexico and was fighting Santa Ana, looking for weapons of mass destruction." ("Sectarian Violence," March 31).
It was Santa Ana who killed every Texan soldier in the Battle of the Alamo when Texans (including many Mexicans living in Texas) sought freedom and cessation from Mexico. And it was Texans who sought American statehood. Franken and his ilk profess to love America, but their deeds of besmirching our history and our leaders prove otherwise. Far from being proud Americans, they are the enemy from within. Kudos to Ann Coulter for taking him on.