Jewish Journal


October 5, 2011

Letters to the Editor: OneLA, Free Speech, High Holy Days


The health care issue

The recent OneLA Healthcare Summit would have been more relevant if those from the single-payer movement — e.g., Health Care for All (HCA), Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) — were included (“Fighting to Preserve Obamacare,” Sept. 30). The Affordable Care Act (ACA), a euphemism for reform, is generating ever-higher premiums even before it is fully implemented in 2014. AB 52 is also not the answer. The bill is complex and burdensome with countless exclusions and required fiscal information from both the applicant and health insurer. The premium hike trigger is 10 percent (15 percent for individuals). The health insurer is very good with numbers and can “doctor” financial statements to its advantage. AB 52 will not help if the premium rate hike is 9.9 percent (14.9 percent for the individual). If invoked, the bureaucratic delays work for the insurer and against the consumer.

We do not need more layers of bureaucracy now but a concerted, organized effort for single-payer by the faith-based community and everyone else. OneLA needs HCA, PNHP, unions and the general public to effect the changes we all desperately need. Single-payer will force the government to control the exorbitant premiums, hospital expenses, and drug and medical supply prices as is the case in all other democratic nations. 

Dr.  Jerome P. Helman

Why Happiness Matters

I’m an avid reader of Prager’s columns because I so rarely, if ever, agree with his weltanshauung, but this time he hit the nail spot on.

His message about happiness being an inside job was a terrific reminder about choice and responsibility (“For a Happy New Year, Here’s What to Do,” Sept. 30). I even go along with his idea that happiness is a moral obligation because projecting a sense of well-being and joy is in itself infectious.

Occasionally, a column from The Jewish Journal will be cut out and placed in one of the family prayer books. Months later, I rediscover it, so I revisit the gifts of such greats as Yehuda Lev, Marlene Adler Marks and Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis. I’ve saved nearly half a dozen of Rob Eshman’s over the years. Now, I am very happy to be able to add this Prager column to the collection.

Josie Levy Martin
Santa Barbara

What Is ‘Free Speech’?

In “Avoid Zero-Sum Thinking” (Sept. 30), David Myers argues that the conviction of Muslim students for their “premeditated ... shout[ing] down” of the Israeli ambassador’s speech is “the criminalization of free speech in Irvine.” Suppose a group of students who disagreed with Myers’ political positions entered his office and screamed slogans in his ears while he was typing the piece, thereby preventing him from finishing his article? Suppose these students, by prior agreement among themselves, stood up in one of his classes at UCLA and shouted continuously so that Myers couldn’t carry on teaching? Would Myers defend their “right” to do so on the ground that to prevent them would “criminalize free speech in Westwood”?

Chaim Sisman
Los Angeles

Middle East Relations

Your readers might not be aware that another Holocaust museum was opened under the auspices of a Muslim in Nazareth (“Holocaust Truth Is Told on Muslim Soil,” Sept. 30). Khaled Mahameed opened the museum at his own expense in order to show empathy for the Jewish experience in the hope that it would contribute to the peace process. Can Israelis and American Jews reciprocate by no longer denying the pain of what the Palestinians call the Nakba — the catastrophe — that they felt when Israel became a state, whether or not we concur with their narrative? 

Gene Rothman
Culver City

Horowitz Freedom Center Ad

While reading the High Holy Days issue of The Jewish Journal (Sept. 30), I was appalled to come upon the hate-filled advertisement from The David Horowitz Freedom Center calling President Obama “The Most Anti-Israel President in American History.” Mr. Horowitz may be of this opinion, but for The Journal to include such a tirade, filled with numerous inaccuracies and statements bordering on the slanderous, in the issue between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is unconscionable. During this time of thoughtful reflection, repentance and forgiveness, The Journal should not dignify such hateful rhetoric by including it in its pages. I realize that The Journal seeks to include all opinions, but it has a duty to see that those opinions, when presented as “truth,” are vetted or at least countered.

Barbara Bilson
Santa Monica


An article on Reboot (“10Q Project: Answer Life’s Big Questions Online … Then Reread Next Year,” Sept. 30) gave an incorrect title for Amelia Klein; she is the acting executive director of Reboot.

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