March 7, 2002
"Yes I am a Jew and my father is a Jew and my mother is a Jew."God Bless Daniel Pearl and his family ("A Voice Silenced," March 1).
Dr. Leland S. Shapiro, Simi Valley
As the present and past national chairmen of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), we are pleased that recent discussions between ADL's former Los Angeles Director David Lehrer and the ADL have led to a mutually satisfactory resolution.
We want to publicly affirm the importance of our Los Angeles Regional Office and of ADL supporters in the community. We are proud of the fact that of our 30 regional offices, our Los Angeles regional office is home to the largest professional staff. We are also proud that in recent years, two of the past ADL national chairmen have been from Los Angeles.
We also want to publicly affirm our deep respect for our National Director Abraham Foxman. We who have worked most closely with him over the past 30 years have witnessed how his leadership has not only brought the ADL to the level of international prominence it enjoys today, but has also assured the finest local representation possible in communities across America.
Glen A. Tobias, , ADL National Chairman
Howard P. Berkowitz, Kenneth J. Bialkin, Seymour Graubard, Maxwell E. Greenberg, Burton M. Joseph, Burton S. Levinson, Melvin Salberg, David H. Strassler
Price of Being Jewish
Thank you for your recent article by Nacha Cattan, ("The Price of Being Jewish," March 1). As a single mother unable to afford a synagogue membership, let alone a Jewish education for my 3-year-old son, I find the rising cost of a Jewish education an alarming matter.
This dilemma is facing many middle- and lower-income families. If we are to strengthen the Jewish community, we must be willing to find some cost-effective means to address this urgent problem. We must be willing to make it possible for anyone who wants to participate in Jewish studies to be able to do so.
Dana Wynkoop, Los Angeles
Nebraskans Love J.D.Smith
I get The Jewish Journal (thanks to my daughter in Santa Monica) here in Lincoln, Neb., where all my friends enjoy reading your paper and love to read about the Jewish events and the great Jewish articles.
We especially enjoy reading the stories by J.D. Smith. He is funny and amusing and we get a chuckle at his tongue-in-cheek humor. I add that we are also in our 80s.
Sylvia Kushner, Lincoln, Nebraska
JCC vs. Knesset Israel
Ethel McClatchey (Letters, Feb. 22), a respected advocate for the Silver Lake-Los Feliz JCC , is perhaps unaware of the facts behind Temple Knesset Israel's involvement with us disenfran-chised former members.
There are displaced members of the JCC. Our numbers include many members from the last standing JCC Board, before it was forced to dissolve. There is certainly nothing "premature" or "self-serving" in Harvey Shield's support for those of us who feel abandoned by the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA).
The children's play, sponsored by the JCC, has been a tradition for many years. However, as a result of the JCCGLA financial crisis, I was told there would be no play this year. So a beloved program that has served the community and built young character for years, was terminated because of someone's bad accounting.
And then we met Shield. He certainly didn't seek us -- we came to him, asking for his help to keep the children's theater program alive. Shield offered Temple Knesset Israel as a rehearsal site. Now 60-plus kids are rehearsing at the temple, parents are working on the production and we feel like a family again.
Several former JCC members are considering joining Temple Knesset Israel -- and it's not due to any solicitations. It's because we have discovered a warm and welcoming site for Jewish discourse, fraternity and spirituality -- as well as a fulcrum for community involvement.
"Sanctimonious," "predatory" and "self-serving" are reckless words from passionate people in a heated situation. But words aren't really necessary to defend Shield's character -- his actions, as a patron of the arts and a friend to our children and community, speak for themselves.
Broderick Miller , Former Executive Board Member Silver Lake-Los Feliz JCC
Chief Bernard Parks
"Should We Join the Fray?" (Feb. 15). What a meaningless question. Why do some amongst us have a need to inject race into an issue that should be determined only by the competence of the proposed officeholders?
We original liberals always preached that skin color should never be an issue. Sadly, since about the mid-'60s, the "liberal" banner has been hijacked by radical racists. You can support Parks or oppose him, but not as "we" Jews, or "we" blacks, etc.
He is the best or not the best and it is irresponsible for a major Jewish community newspaper to imply in a front page headline that the dispute may be a "Jewish" issue.
Leon Perlsweig, Calabasa
Thank you for highlighting the issue of non-Orthodox conversions of Israel. This historic ruling was the result of a united effort between NA'AMAT, Israel's largest family service agency, and the Masorati and World Union for Progressive Judaism.
The effort began in 1995 when a group of parents who had adopted children from abroad found that they could not convert these children to Judaism and, in desperation, turned to NA'AMAT, known as the place to go when families have problems. NA'AMAT arranged for Masorati conversions and, simultaneously, began the suit concluded last week.
NA'AMAT USA is proud to support this important legal work and will continue to work with our sister organization in Israel to encourage an open society that respects all streams of Judaism.
Miriam Hearn, Western Area Director NA'AMAT USA
I want to thank Abby Gilad for her interpretation of Parshat Terumah ("Hey Kids!" Feb. 15) in Jewish Journal section, "Hey Kids!" I am a recent convert, landscape designer and avid Jewish Journal reader. I found it very interesting that the Israelites were commanded to build the ark out of shita (acacia wood) and cover the completed ark with gold, both inside and out. This is so fascinating because most acacia varieties at this time of year have golden yellow flowers covering their branches. One variety in particular is completely covered with golden flowers -- acacia baileyana.The acacia may be a reminder to us when in full bloom of the events that happened at this time of year according to Parshat Terumah.
Sonny Estrada, Temple Israel of Hollywood
The photograph in the March 1 article "Abraham's Legacy" was by Janice Kamenir-Reznik.