February 6, 2003
Who Should Pay?
While Sharon Schatz Rosenthal's cover story notes that day schools are costly, it fails to address cost efficiency ("Who Should Pay?" Jan. 31). I believe the Jewish community's limited funding can be more effectively targeted at bolstering supplementary secondary schools. A good example is the Los Angeles Hebrew High School (LAHHS), which Dr. Samuel Dinin established ("Legacy in Motion," Jan. 31).
LAHHS serves more than 500 teenagers who concurrently attend secular high schools. With more than three dozen distinguished faculty members, its educational program is on par with the best full-time Jewish high schools. Yet, tuition is around one-tenth the cost.
Leonard M. Solomon, LAHHS Board of Trustees Los Angeles
There's another reason some of us are unable to send our children to Jewish day schools -- the lack of after-school care at most of the schools. Catch 22: We work to be able to afford Jewish day school tuition, but still can't send our children there because the schools are not willing to accommodate working, two-parent families.
Name Withheld Upon Request, Woodland Hills
The truth of the Jewish community is that the vast majority of non-Orthodox students attend supplementary schools and will continue to do so.
I take particular issue with the article's innuendo that the Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Education could be more financially supportive of day schools. That may be, but they are more supportive of supplementary schools than most, striving to raise the quality of teachers and the esteem of the work.
It is my hope that when we talk about Jewish education, we can engage in discussion about communal goals and the myriad options that are and could be available.
Cheri Ellowitz Silver, Education Director Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay
I am unable to comprehend Rob Eshman's logic regarding President Bush's State of the Union address ("Ich Bin ein Missourian," Jan. 31). Saddam will never comply with the U.N. resolutions that demand his cooperation to reveal what he has done with the weapons of mass destruction. No amount of inspection is going to find what he has hidden.
Michael Brooks, West Hills
As a Catholic Latino married to a Jewish woman, I have learned that many Jews consider interfaith marriage a terrible threat to the survival of the Jewish people ("Jews Must Draw in Interfaith Families," Jan. 24). I understand this concern, but I would argue that the threat is not necessarily mixed marriage, but rather the Jewish community's treatment of mixed families. My wife and I are committed to raising our children as Jews. Sadly, while we've belonged to a Reform congregation for many years and have tried to become part of the temple community, we've had very limited success. Typically, we have been treated with reactions ranging from indifference to suspicion. We are politely tolerated, but feel relegated to a marginal status.
In contrast, the church I attend supports a group of Catholics married to Jews. The parish seems to welcome these families, fully integrating them in the church community. Although we as a family are not church members, we have developed closer relationships with this group than we have with families at our temple.
Over the years, the few mixed families we've encountered at the temple have gradually drifted away. We have also started looking for another congregation. We'll continue trying to find a Jewish community where we fit in. However, I often wonder how my children will feel about Judaism if they are always kept at the margins.
R. Hernandez, Los Angeles
Although I am a traditional Jewish man with traditional ideas, I support the idea of allowing gays and lesbians to become Conservative pulpit rabbis ("A Conservative Challenge," Jan. 17). The Conservative movement should reconsider its position and at least discuss the issue. Why should any Jewish person be excluded from fulfilling his or her dreams because of personal preferences? The Conservative movement allowing women to become pulpit rabbis in 1985 was a great decision and helped fortify the views of Conservative Judaism.
Israel Weiss, Agoura Hills
In Rabbi Michael Beals' letter to the editor (Jan. 31), The Journal incorrectly added the translation "repentance" next to the word teshuvot, which here meant "a rabbinic response to a query, based on halacha (Jewish law)." We regret the error.