Jewish Journal


September 12, 2012

Letters to the Editor: Friendship Circle, Fifty Shades, shopping carts


Prager, the Anti-Scientist

DDT had already lost much of its potency when it was banned in the United States (“Everything Is Easier Than Doing Good,” Sept. 7). It was used unsuccessfully in Africa to combat malaria-carrying mosquitos.

Knowingly or not, Dennis Prager’s comment about millions of deaths in Africa due to environmentalists is a page out of the right-wing playbook, which has denied that smoking causes cancer, the effects of acid rain and of secondhand smoke, the dangers from a hole in the ozone layer and now global warming.

Insects develop resistance to insecticides. Will the American public ever develop resistance to this anti-science propaganda?

Burt Kallman, Torrance

A Friend of the Friendship Circle

Thank you so much for your coverage of the Friendship Circle of Los Angeles’ (FCLA) move to its new home at 1952 S. Robertson Blvd. (“A Place for Special-Needs Children to Grow,” Sept. 7). We both admire and adore the Friendship Circle staff, particularly Rabbi Michy and Miriam Rav-Noy, who sit at the helm. We have watched the FCLA blossom over the years, and the Sept. 2 event marked such a wonderful milestone in its development.

The FCLA has made a big difference in our lives. We have grown, as a family, with the Friendship Circle and have watched other families grow with it as well. The FCLA and its families have become our extended family.

Our experience encompasses our son Joseph, now 14, who has special needs, and our typically developing children — Jacob, 12, and Anna, 10 — who have become volunteers. Joseph has participated and continues to participate in many of the FCLA’s programs, including the Hebrew school, Sunday Circle, winter camp and the holiday programs, among many others. Every day during the school year, Joseph talks (using signs and gestures) about going to the FCLA on Sunday. It is, without a doubt, the highlight of his week. Jacob and Anna also look forward to the events just as much as Joseph.

David and Michele Weiss, Los Angeles

The Shopping Cart Dilemma

What people do not understand is that every cart removed and returned for a fee adds to the prices we all pay at the markets (“Putting the Brakes on Runaway Shopping Carts,” Sept. 7).

At the building I live in, some of the tenants are pushing shopping carts around for errands, such as doing their laundry. It is extremely annoying to me to see this happening. They leave the carts all over the building and I have started taking them to the curb when I come across them.

My suggestion is to have each cart fitted with the device that stops it at a certain point so it cannot go any farther. 

Jacqueline Callan, Tarzana

Jonah Lowenfeld responds: The writer raises a good point; money spent by store owners on cart retrieval and replacement must be recouped in other ways, likely by raising prices for consumers. 

But, as reported in the original article, medium-sized supermarkets whose parking lots are not directly adjacent to their buildings — like the ones on Pico Boulevard — have limited options when it comes to cart retention. To implement a cart-stopping system, the grocers would need permission from the City of Los Angeles to install an electronic perimeter on city-owned property. The city has not yet granted such permission.

Topic of Sexuality Merits Serious Treatment

As someone who holds a doctorate in human sexuality and is a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, I have many comments on the “50 Shades” article (“Like ‘Fifty Shades’? You’ll Love Judaism,” Aug. 31).

Danielle Berrin writes: “Oh, come on, didn’t your mother ever spank you?” There’s no evidence that being spanked or otherwise abused as a child has any effect on one’s adult expressions of sexuality, nor are those who love and enjoy bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism or dominance & submission (BDSMD/s) any different psychologically than the rest of the population.

Your article seems to enforce a view of female submission, but male sexual submission is common, as are female dominants and sadists. The world of BDSMD/s is huge, diverse and subject to many rules and protocols among the many who express their sexuality that way.

Berrin also dismisses polyamory, which holds that it’s possible to love, intensely, more than just one person at a time.

Sexuality affects every reader and every household on the planet. Yet sex is buried and hidden in our cultures, both Jewish and American, and there’s no serious discussion of sexuality or sex education in the media.

Robert Berend, Beverly Hills


In the article “Report, Resolution Reignite Campus Anti-Semitism Issue” (Sept. 7), an additional online petition, not mentioned in the article and also urging University of California president Mark Yudof to table a report on the climate for Jewish students on UC campuses, had been signed by 2,400 people as of Sept. 7.

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