Jewish Journal


April 24, 2008

Voice of reason in a sea of insanity,  Jewish Dodgers, Prager, archaeologists, politicians and peace


Food Issues

Rob Eshman's article about food issues is a voice of reason in a sea of insanity ("Food Issues," April 11).

Much of the meaning behind the holiday is in its simplicity, as Rob indicates. Changing one's diet for seven or eight days obviously extends beyond the seders. Unfortunately, it is getting swept under the table with the increasing availability of processed foods just like what we eat the remainder of the year.

Fortunately, we have the opportunity to choose between our day-to-day excessive commercialism or changing our lives for a week and truly appreciating the simplicity and freedom that we normally associate with Pesach.

Ed Rivkin
Cherry Hill, N.J.

Ziman and Lee

I realize that bad news always travels faster than good news -- especially with today's technology ("Four Questions," April 18).

But the simple and difficult question you asked -- is it true -- still needs to be answered.

Whatever the answer is, it will say a lot about everyone involved. As you wrote, there will probably be multiple versions of what was exactly said. I think seeing all of them, or at least the generally accepted versions, will be quite revealing.

Philippe Shepnick
via e-mail

Two facts stick out from the Daphna Ziman controversy: She is a strong supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton that included Ziman's hosting fundraisers for her, and she gratuitously connected Sen. Barack Obama with the Rev. Eric Lee's alleged vitriolic remarks he has vehemently denied.

She then sent out her version of what he said in an attempt to persuade as many as she knew in the Jewish community to oppose Sen. Obama. Pure and simple, it was just another political hit piece. Hopefully it has not worked.

George Magit

Jewish Dodgers

I enjoyed Robert David Jaffee's history of Jewish baseball players on the Los Angeles Dodgers ("Dodgers Hit Grand Slam in History of Jewish Players," April 18).

However, I would like to correct him regarding one of the players that he stated was "hailed by some as Jews even though they are not."

Scott Radinsky is the son of a Jewish mother and Polish father. He considers himself a Jew much in the way Mike Lieberthal identifies himself.

Ephraim Moxson
Jewish Sports Review
Los Angeles

Period slide show set to Jimmy Durante's 1963 Sandy Koufax tribute "Dandy Sandy"

Marriage Equality

I am grateful for your publishing the article highlighting Jews for marriage equality ("Battle for Gay Marriage Rights Gains Jewish Support," April 11).

As a Conservative rabbi, I signed the petition, and I stand fully behind the work of the commission and its desire to bring equality and justice to the many gay and lesbian couples seeking to enter into the sanctity of marriage with all of the rights and privileges that come with that covenant.

Judaism has constantly evolved, and I agree fully with Rabbi Elliot Dorff, a pioneer and leader on this issue, when he teaches that this is a landmark time in the state of Judaism, a time that will require the will and commitment of dedicated Jews to bring yet another group of outsiders into the fold of Jewish life.

Some of the arguments made today against bringing homosexuals into the mainstream of Jewish life are the same arguments made 20 years ago in the Conservative movement regarding women. We overcame those hurdles, and we have started to overcome the current hurdles. Because we are all created in the image of God, all Jews deserve full access to the Torah and equal rights in civic life, as well.

Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater
Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center

Dennis Prager Ad

Yes, Dennis -- I'm a Democrat that fights for carbon dioxide emissions control (Advertisement, April 18).

Had you and your Republican ilk been fighting for that, rather than fighting for more oil around the world, our dependence on your black gold may not be such that we'd need to be sucking it out of places where we are so resented for our presence alone.

Corporate evil -- that is what you do not fight!

Kenny Halpern

As a respected nationwide figure and a proponent of moral belief systems, I consider Prager to have a heavy responsibility to present meaningful, well-analyzed arguments.

After reading his ad, "I Used to Be a Democrat," I was sorely disappointed with the weakening of his own position by the juxtaposition of evil and CO2 emissions.

The implication that being against destroying the earth is tantamount to considering that is more important than nazism, communism and terrorism is absurd and totally unfair. These two hideous problems are not comparable, and one should not have to choose between them to be righteous.

Diane Rowe
Santa Monica

How sad it was to read this full-page ad and realize that Dennis Prager would rather be associated with a presidential aspirant who actively sought the endorsement of the Rev. Hagee and all the hate and bitterness he represents and stands for then remain identified with the true inheritors of the Lincoln legacy, the contemporary progressive movement.

And when he goes on to say that Republicans are for the preservation of liberal values, well, he might as well consider going to an open mike night at the Comedy Club!

Saul Goldfarb
Oak Park

Web Editor: The Prager ad did not appear online @ JewishJournal.com

Passover Ponderings

As I participated in seders this year, I imagined the early years of the Jews in Egypt. They didn't come as slaves but came looking for subsistence. They came looking for the opportunity to feed their families. First the men came to take food home to their women and children. Later, they brought their women and children and according to legend, were fruitful and multiplied.

They spoke their own language. They kept their own customs. They were strangers in the midst of Egypt. As their numbers grew, they were perceived as a threat. Finally, the Egyptians made them slaves.

I ride my bicycle through the fields of Oxnard and Ventura to Shabbat morning services. I am struck with the vision of the "strangers" picking our strawberries.

Their hands work in a blur. They run from the counting shed to the row of plants to pick as many berries as possible during the day.

When it was just workers in our midst, I don't remember hearing a lot of complaints. But now, there are families. They are being fruitful and multiplying.

Many fear the strangers are devastating our schools. They are breaking our health system. They are the cause of gangs, violence and crime.

We say, "Go back to your villages of starving children. Go back to your hopelessness. Learn our language if you are going to live in our country. We can't afford your strangeness."

We thank God for redeeming us from slavery and we hear, "When strangers reside with you in your land, you shall not wrong them.... You shall love them as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."

Are we accepting the commandment of Passover or are we just enjoying our "strange" traditions?

Bob Ingrum
Men of Reform Judaism -- Pacific Southwest Region

Archaeologists and Peace

It always fascinates me how otherwise intelligent people can be so naive (Archaeologists Hope Past Can Spur Mideast Peace," April 11).

Jewish archaeologists actually believe that by working with Palestinian archaeologists, their findings will increase the chances for peace in the region.

They suggest, "Putting your precious archaeological heritage things you believe your ancestors created in the hands of your enemy." Can they be serious? Are they oblivious to the illegal excavations currently being carried out by the Palestinians under the Temple Mount for the purpose of destroying any evidence of a Jewish connection to the land?

Are they unaware that the Palestinians set fire to the tombs of Joseph and Rachel? Do they really believe that once the Palestinians have a state, they'll provide "full protection of all sites and free access for scholars and the public, regardless of ethnicity or religion?"

Perhaps they will if the new prime minister and president of Palestine are Mr. Rourke and Tatoo.

Daniel Iltis
Los Angeles

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