Jewish Journal


April 10, 2008

McCain, Obama, cancer and cows


20 Questions With McCain

It's too bad Rob Eshman didn't ask the "man with the plan" for Iraq the most important question: What his definition of "victory" in Iraq is, and how he plans to achieve it ("20 Questions With John McCain," April 4).

Lawrence Weinman
Los Angeles

Letter to Obama

The Barack Obama that David Suissa describes in his editorial this past month definitely sounds like the ideal candidate for the Jewish people ("Letter to Obama," April 4). He's sharp. He has street smarts. And most importantly, he's "a human being first, and second a politician."

Well, as just the tiniest bit of research will show, Obama went from state legislator, to the Senate, to a fancy book deal/tour, to becoming the front-runner in the Democratic presidential race. Sounds a lot like a politician to me.

I have also come across nothing that hints Obama won't try and force Israel into strategically stupid land-for-peace deals, as Suissa suggests. I did, however, come across some nice clips of Obama's mentor and pastor spewing anti-Jewish and anti-American rhetoric.

And I did hear Obama say he's in favor of sitting down and meeting with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a leader who seems to decorate his every speech with promises for the destruction of the State of Israel.

So Suissa, tell me, are we talking about the same Obama?

Isaac Himmelman
Santa Monica

Your article on Obama is brilliant and not just because you agree with me.

Although I am politically liberal, Israel's safety is of prime importance to me. I believe that only when someone without an agenda decides to take a stand will anything get done.

We can only pray the political machine doesn't get to Obama. I really hope, somehow, he gets to read your letter.

Linda Rohatiner
via e-mail

For several years I read your [David Suissa's] columns ("Live in the Hood") and found them worthwhile. You came across in Olam and in The Journal as a creative and thoughtful writer, a responsible citizen and a concerned Jew -- until this month. Did you write that insanity ("Letter to Obama)? Were you sober? Do you really favor turning this country into an "Obama"-nation?

Suissa, say it isn't so.

Rabbi Baruch Cohon
via e-mail

Fortunately, Mel Levine's article was published in The Jewish Journal ("Obama's Record on Israel Repudiates Critics," March 21). It was the only feature concerning Barack Obama that was truly informed, nonspeculative and supported its statements with facts rather than innuendo.

Proclaimed Hillary Clinton supporter Daphne Ziman stated, "I for one need to know the truth" ("Sen. Obama, Answer My Questions on Your Past," March 21). If this was actually the case, why didn't she call The Jewish Journal and inquire about contacts within Chicago's Jewish community who know Sen. Obama in an attempt to secure those answers?

Masquerading as call for truth, Ziman's article was nothing more than an obvious attempt to create suspicions around the candidate she opposes.

Utilizing his well-honed research skills, Edwin Black presented old information meant to discredit Obama through guilt by association, a technique similarly employed by Sen. Joseph McCarthy in his 1950s witch hunt for communists in America ("Obama Ties to 'Separatist' Pastor Raise Big Questions," March 21).

Black's Web site reveals journalistic ties to Chicago, yet he apparently interviewed no one there or anywhere else in support of his thesis that Obama was less than truthful with his recent explanations concerning the Rev. Wright or Louis Farrakhan. His article was as disingenuous as Ziman's, just presented in a more sophisticated manner.

Roy M. Rosenbluth
Sherman Oaks

Click here for MP3 audio of the 15-minute phone interview Obama gave JTA's Ron Kampeas on Wednesday

Cancer's Worst Enemy

Remove healthy breasts? Jewish women please take the time to read and research further before you do such a radical act as a radical mastectomy and/or removal of your healthy ovaries.

The article, "Combating Breast Cancer Before It Hits," March 28, is very misleading. It shows a happy woman with her happy kids after her surgery. Then the article states that this surgery "reduces the risk of breast cancer by 90 percent," however no medical study was cited.

Common sense makes me want to read this study to ascertain how many and what group of women were tested, and what were their ages. But most importantly, over what period of time was this test done? Remember that genetic testing is fairly new, and it takes many years for even a tiny cancerous mass to appear on a mammogram.

Dr. Susan Love has groundbreaking research on early detection screening, and Dr. Matt Lederman has remarkable results with the RAVE diet. Their Web sites will lead you to hundreds of alternatives and useful information. So go Google. It's your body.

Sharon Asher
Los Angeles

Thank you for educating readers about testing for genetic mutations, but you left out an important piece of information. In addition to Israel, genetic screening of embryos is also regularly done in the United States. It's a process called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and is performed at virtually every fertility center in Los Angeles. It has also been accepted by Jews of all stripes, including the most traditional and Orthodox groups.

The reasons cited for not getting tested -- potentially higher insurance rates and a social stigma that could affect their families -- cannot possibly outweigh the benefits of PGD. A woman can eliminate the BRCA gene (as well as scores of other inherited diseases), ensuring that her children and her children's children will not be affected by it.

Furthermore, PGD is entirely confidential, so there is no stigma attached. Aside from the patient, her husband and her doctor, nobody needs to know. And though PGD can be costly, you can't put a price on your children's health. Modern medicine truly is a wonder. We can change not only our destinies but that of generations to come.

Name withheld upon request

Thank you for highlighting Sharsheret as an important and valuable resource for young Jewish women at risk of developing hereditary breast cancer (Jewish Women Change Their Destinies by Testing for Genetic Mutation," March 28).

Sharsheret prides itself on the fundamental values of confidentiality and convenience. Thus, we ask that you print our toll-free number, (866) 474-2774, and our Web site, www.sharsheret.org, so women can easily participate in Sharsheret programs from the privacy of their own homes/offices, speak with a certified genetic counselor and learn more about our Genetics for Life Program.
We are deeply grateful for this wonderful opportunity to reach out to the Jewish women and families in Los Angeles who would benefit most from our national programs and services.

Rochelle Shoretz
Sharsheret founder

Book-Loving Soul

I know a place where a "book-loving soul" can go now -- to the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles (JCLLA).

Tom Teicholz celebrated Dutton Books (now closing) in "Tommywood: Where Is a Book-Loving Soul to Go?" (April 4) He states he will now go to the public library. One good choice!

Other choices are all the Jewish libraries in Los Angeles synagogues and colleges and the JCLLA -- "hidden" within The Jewish Federation Building at 6505 Wilshire Blvd.

Teicholz refers to an extraordinary major gift to the New York Public Library. We need major gifts to JCLLA so it can be bigger and better. Can you imagine JCLLA branch libraries throughout Los Angeles and kiosks in major shopping centers all encouraging Jewish literacy?

Barbara Y. Leff

Purim With the Cows

Kudos to David Sussa for shining a light on a small Jewish congregation "Purim With the Cows" (March 28). I'm always on the alert for mention of this issue. I grew up in such a congregation myself in Bakersfield.

Temple Beth-El was the reform congregation. My family and myself were very active for 13 years. By the way, they put on the best 40th and also 50th reunion weekends that a temple can have.

My second involvement in a small congregation was also a Temple Beth El in Eureka, Calif. One thing that is amazing about this synagogue is that they tear down the walls with their "roo-ah" (spirit). Many a temple I feel could benefit from their amazing collective voices. Much singing at that temple.

So again, thank you, David. Numbers of people is not always the issue. If solidarity is strong. you have it all.

Susan Cohn
San Jose

In the April 4 article, "Knesset Contingent Gives a Crash Course in Israel," The Journal incorrectly spelled Ophir Pines-Paz's name. We apologize for the error.

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