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January 10, 2008

Not so awful being green, honorable menschen

http://www.jewishjournal.com/letters_to_the_editor/article/not_so_awful_being_green_honorable_menschen_20080111

Greening Hypocrisy

Just read your article in the green edition of The Jewish Journal and bravo ("End Hypocrisy Now," Jan. 4). Thank goodness someone finally said something. I am a filmmaker and environmental educator living in the Fairfax district, and I can't tell you how shocking I find the indifference to the problems at hand from the Orthodox community as a whole. It absolutely astounds me. I have taught the course I created to a number of schools in Los Angeles and until just recently have had no interest from religious day schools. Thankfully, I will be teaching at YULA next week and Shalhevet in February, but I'm amazed by the wall I have faced. As you put so well in your piece, it seems that of all people Orthodox Jews should embrace the concept for their sake, for Israel's sake, and for the sake of the planet that Hashem created for them. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks and keep up the good work.

Dave Chameides
www.sustainabledave.org


What a great editorial. Thank you!

You are right -- the one thing Jews agree on is the need for America to achieve energy independence. And not just Jews think so!

Thank you also for the example you set in driving a bio-diesel car and for the cleverness to show its ease in a video.

I just hope you're not in the hospital right now ... ha, ha!

Brave -- Kudos!

Jennifer Kutner
StandWithUs Publicist


Congratulations Mr. Eshman, another article on the need for a Green Revolution, energy independence and global warming. While you're patting yourself on the back at the next dinner party, consider just a few ways that innovation has been treated in the United States in the last 30 years, mostly by those on the left side of the aisle.

Consider the following: Nuclear power provides a huge chunk of energy in France and just a small percentage of that in the U.S. The nuclear power industry has been stymied by those who alarmed the population of "pending disaster" if these power plants proliferated across the country. As a result, no new nuclear plant has been built in many years. I don't think that France "glows in the dark" from it's use of nuclear energy.

You might have used your editorial power to better effect if you would ask your readers to truly support sources of power, other than oil, with constructive action to help companies through the tangled web of regulations, which have prevented the above ideas from becoming reality. It's truly sad that a great number of our country's "intellegentsia" have wasted so much time and money doing the exact opposite.

Bill Bender
Granada Hills


Go Neutral

As the lead staff person in the Los Angeles Jewish National Fund (JNF) office, I was elated to open our mail and find your Green Issue (Jan. 4). I flipped instantly to Jane Ulman's cover story, "What Would Noah Do?" as I was an attendee at the meeting with the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. JNF, as many realize, has been a leader in environmental preservation, so our attendance at such an event was a natural fit. I was happy to see you mentioned our organization's online calculator to help families and individuals see their carbon footprint.

My face and excitement fell, however, when I turned the page and read the paragraph about our new green initiative, GoNeutral. Ulman states, "Jewish National Fund kicked off its Go Neutral campaign for individuals or organizations that want to reduce their carbon footprint by planting trees." This is, in fact, only a piece of GoNeutral. We, of course, still very much believe in the importance of planting trees in Israel, and certainly this is a component of our initiative. However, GoNeutral also includes pieces of education for youth ages K-university level on how to reduce their effect on the environment (not just through tree planting, of course), as well as the opportunity for people to contribute to the numerous environmental projects JNF is involved in abroad. These include the halting of desertification, boosting water supplies through reservoirs and water reclamation, and helping farmers produce agriculture more efficiently.

JNF has, for some time, been committed to keeping our environment healthy, and we are anxious to work with synagogues, schools, and individuals to continue to make a positive impact on our planet.

Lindsey D. Brengle
Campaign Executive
Jewish National Fund


More Greening

In an effort to be "greener," we purchased a Honda Civic GX, a natural gas powered car, early last year (Green Issue, Jan. 4). The car has been driven about 20,000 miles. In some analyses, the car (because it does not have a battery in need of disposal at the end of its service life) is considered even "greener" than a Prius. I would like to see more of this type of car and fewer large SUVs in my synagogue parking lot.

Bill Friedman
Studio City


All issues should be green! It is about time that The Journal has dedicated space to this important Jewish issue and value, which just happens to also be one of national and global importance.

I would encourage The Journal to include a Green column in each issue, just as you include a short drash on the weekly parasha.

David Aaronson
Los Angeles


Deserving Menschen

Love your item about "Mensches" (or is it menschen?) ("Mensches," Dec. 28).

Delighted to see what you wrote about Benji Davis and David Landau. Can you add a P.S.? They grew up at Beth Am and attended Pressman Academy. Forgive my chauvinism.

Marjorie Pressman
Via E-mail


I am a member of the Valley chapter of the Los Angeles Yiddish Culture Club that meets at Temple Adat Ari El at 7:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. It seems to me that when The Jewish Journal uses a Yiddish noun with an English spelling, The Journal would make an effort to do so correctly. Although many English nouns are pluralized by the addition of an "s" at the end of the noun, very few Yiddish nouns do so. In addition, as in the noun "sheep," there are Yiddish nouns that are spelled and pronounced the same way whether singular or plural. Specifically, I refer to The Journal's often-used plural of the Yiddish noun "shul" as "shuls." The correct plural is "shuln." And the Yiddish word "bagel" is both singular and plural.

As to The Journal's recent use of the noun "mensches," there are two problems. First the word is pronounced "mentch" (as in match or Tchaikovsky) and second, as in "shuln" the plural is "mentchn."

Israel Levy
North Hills

Karliner-Stoliner Rebbe

David Suissa's article about the Karliner-Stoliner Rebbe is delightful ("Charedi Yuppies," Dec. 28). But the fuller story of the Rebbe is much more interesting. He is a magnificently talented man who speaks many languages and is wise and progressive. The Stoliner-Karliner whom I knew in the days my father and I attended their synagogue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y., believed that God didn't listen to people who spoke, only those who danced and sang -- and that God was less interested in the words that they spoke than the passion with which they sang and danced.

Our Passover sidurim lasted till 3 a.m. since my father and grandfather (who was the gabbai to the Rebbe (the present Rebbe's grandfather) had eight different nigunim (melodies) for each of the songs sung at the seder.

Bernice Weston
Via E-mail


Upside of the Writers Strike

As so many of the striking writers are our co-religionists, the writers strike clearly has a major impact upon the Jewish community ("Strike Not a Jewish Story," Nov. 9). Though much has been reported about the hardships the strike is causing, coupled with direct and indirect costs to our city and county, there is an upside to this work stoppage.

Family members might begin to communicate with one another, as ubiquitous televisions become silenced at dinnertime. Books, magazines and newspapers will begin to find favor among television addicts as they go through withdrawal. And perhaps, out of sheer boredom, families (Jews and non-Jews alike) will return to their respective houses of worship to reconnect with their religious communities.

As for the writers, let's not overly worry about their plight. They are a group of witty, imaginative, street-smart and intelligent men and women. They will figure out ways to re-deploy their talents into fields that are far more beneficial to society than writing clueless sitcoms.

Leonard Solomon
Via E-mail


The Kabbalah Centre

It is good to know that as the editor of The Jewish Journal, you undertook to write a very long report with pictures about the Kabbalah Centre ("Not So Weird," Dec. 7). The Kabbalah Centre is a cult no matter how you praise the institution. If you are a cultist, you found one of the perfect places to be.

We have clients who, during the past 4-5 years, established church/cults in Brazil and the USA. In a short period of time, they made millions of dollars. In fact, if you are interested in establishing a new cult similar to the Kabbalah Centre, I will give you some tips on how to do it. In a short period of time, you'll be a multi-millionaire. Today in our world, the "religious/cult" business is a great business. People make money very fast, even faster than the owners of Google. If you know someone who wants to start a religious/cult business, at no charge on my part, I will teach them how to do it. If I were a hypocrite, I would have started one myself.

I believe you should be fair and let someone write a counterpoint about the cult businesses.

Eliezer Kapuay
Los Angeles

Kosher Slaughtering

The kosher observing community need to realize that many leftist Jews will gladly join the movement to ban shechita (Letters, Jan. 4)

I hope the Arlene Cohens of the world will be as appalled by the murder of human fetuses as they are of the religious slaughter of animals.

S.Z. Newman
Los Angeles


Stopping Those Rockets

Thanks for a thought-provoking column regarding this vital question ("Is There a Way to Stop Rockets, Avoid Gaza Fight?" Jan. 4). For the first time, I hear/read a concept that represents a paradigm shift. If the methods being used to stop the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel fail to accomplish the goal, then quite obviously something different is needed. And, certainly, no amount of diplomacy will work either. . . .

Ernest's idea has merit, albeit some tough technical limitations in deployment. You asked for creative ideas. I offer mine:

Yes, Israel is fighting the battle with one hand tied behind its collective back. How can Israel virtually untie its hand without incurring the wrath of the human rights advocates and other groups who would denounce Israel if it unnecessarily took innocent human lives?

Answer. Israel issues a well-publicized policy statement to the following effect:

"The next rocket fired into Israel will receive a response from our air power with the dropping of bombs over an area of approximately half-mile radius from the suspected site from which the rocket was fired. To avoid casualties to innocents, we will wait one week from the date of firing and announcement, and then proceed with the massive bombing of the designated area. If a second rocket is fired into Israel, after waiting the specified one-week time period, we will increase the bombing target area to one-mile radius. We will increase the target radius by half a mile for every additional rocket fired into Israel. This response will continue until there are no further rockets fired into Israel. The one-week "wait period" will serve to provide time for residents in those areas to remove themselves and possessions to avoid harm. We hope it will not be necessary to use our air power. If it becomes necessary to do so, it will be because the target area was used to attack our citizens, whom we are sworn to defend."

George Epstein
Los Angeles



Corrections
In the profile on mensch Robert J. Meth (Dec. 28), the number of Jews in the former Soviet Union is closer to 1 million than 100,000.
Kurt Vonnegut, although a great author, is not Jewish (Obituaries, Jan. 4).
Due to a technical glitch, we mistakenly listed events from our January 2007 online community calendar instead of the 2008 events. Only a handful of events were listed incorrectly and we apologize profusely for this error.



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