April 20, 2006
Truth on Schools
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's education deputy missed on all facts about LAUSD ("Competing Moments of Truth on Schools," April 14). His description of LAUSD's teachers, accountability and student performance bases itself on inaccuracies, myths and full-fledged folklore. His numbers on how many teachers are in LAUSD, on how many teachers are dismissed and on how many students are not at federal achievement standards are off by significant amounts, but perhaps he was only counting kids and teachers inside the city of Los Angeles, rather than the 26 cities and L.A. County areas that are part of the LAUSD.
Why you would have Jack Abramoff and what he was involved with as a contemporary plague is beyond me ("Modern Causes Add Meaning to Seder," April 7). You make him out to be the worst person in the world or at least as bad as Osama bin Laden, since he is on the same list. Are you kidding me?
The plague you missed is Jews throwing other Jews under the bus to be recognized by their Gentile peers. I don't love every other Jew; maybe that makes me a bad person, but I certainly am not going to throw someone under the bus to make myself look better in other people's eyes. Jews did that in Egypt and in Nazi Germany, and it is the worst thing a Jew can do. Better to renounce your religion.
You people, being in the media, should be promoting your people, not trying to condemn them or destroy them. Just remember, it can happen again, and if/when it does, your Gentile friends won't do anything to help you.
Of course, people like me ... will help out our fellow Jew, because that is what it is about. Until all Jews are helping each other, that is the biggest contemporary plague our society faces. Just remember one thing: God chose us. We are his nation, and the others can come to us for acceptance, not the other way around.
In response to the April 7 report on the LiveNetworks kickoff ("Young Moseses") and the article on Gen-Y Jews ("What Do Gen-Y Jews Want? Everything"), may I just say that it pains me to hear of the money being spent on studies and on courting young, unaffiliated professionals, while meanwhile, the cost of Jewish day and high schools remains exorbitantly beyond the reach of those of us who would gladly send our children and middle schoolers to Jewish schools.
There are simply no good options in our city for those who cannot afford the $20K-plus-per-year tuition. Let the priorities be set straight and our Jewish wisdom applied to obviously productive ways to integrate our next generation.
Not a Traitor
I am Jewish. I grew up hearing: "Judas ... Christ-killing Jew." ("A Tenuous Claim as a Jew for Jesus," March 31). But even as a child, I thought that was ridiculous. If Jesus came to earth to die for the sins of others, then Judas (and the Jews?) did what needed to be done. Had Jesus not died, he would not have fulfilled his mission, and Christians would still be responsible for their own sins.
It is nice to know that my reasoning was correct. Too bad millions of Jews had to die at the hands of avenging Christians before this gospel [of Judas] was found.
Tobi Ruth Love
Next year you have to promise to read the entire haggadah ("Young Moseses," April 7). The name of Moses appears once, in the section that everyone skips, after the 10 plagues and before the meal. I'd tell you exactly where, but I'm sure you'd rather do your own research and report the specific reference in your next column.
Rabbi Ronald Levine
Rob Eshman responds:
Far be it from me to ever argue with a rabbi, but in this case we are both half-right. According to Dr. David Arnow, author of "Creating Lively Passover Seders" (Jewish Lights), the name Moses does appear once in many, but not all, traditional versions of the haggadah. He writes: "[Moses] name appears in the section of the haggadah that quotes a third-century midrash (Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael. Beshalach 7:113) in which Rabbi Yossi the Galilean proves that the Egyptians suffered 50 plagues at the Red Sea. The midrash cites the following passage: 'And when Israel saw the great hand which the Lord had wielded against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord; they had faith in the Lord and His servant Moses' (Exodus 14:31).
Since a number of modern haggadot have dropped the passage about the plagues at the Red Sea--perhaps following Maimonides' lead -- some will indeed find that Moses' name has completely disappeared from the story. But this is a recent development."
'When Do We Eat?'
I was never so embarrassed, ashamed, mortified, humiliated (and anything else you can think of that is negative), when my husband and I saw the movie, "When Do We Eat?" (Humor in 'Eat' an Acquired Taste," April 7) We were warned as we went into the theater not to bother, but we bothered. I hope no gentiles go to see it, and I certainly hope that Jews also stay away. This film is a shade far di velt.