April 30, 2003
Hungarians in Hollywood
I was very disappointed that Tom Teicholz's article, "Hungarians in Hollywood" (April 18), omitted any reference or mention of my late uncle, Joe Pasternak, who was among the most prominent and successful Hollywood movie producers from the 1930s to the late 1960s.
This omission was particularly disappointing in light of my uncle's lifetime of support and involvement on behalf of the Los Angeles Jewish community. He was among the founders of Temple Beth El, and he was deeply involved in the Ida Mayer Cummings Auxiliary supporting the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging. He was much honored by many organizations, Jewish and non-Jewish, for his humanitarianism, his generosity and his active support.
In fact, his contributions to Hollywood and the film industry were so important that he would be included in the Archives Project of Turner Classic Movies. My father, John Pasternak, himself an industry veteran, was interviewed earlier this month about my uncle's legendary and lengthy career.
I realize that in an article of this nature, it is impossible to list every Hungarian individual who has been involved in Hollywood.
However, the exclusion of the late Joe Pasternak is a serious oversight, which reflects poorly on the article's author and The Jewish Journal.
Susan Pasternak, North Hollywood
In his otherwise excellent article, Tom Teicholz made two omissions that deserve to be corrected.
Joe Pasternak was one of the most renowned and celebrated producers in Hollywood during the '30s, '40s and '50s. Many of the stars of the '40s and '50s owe their stardom to Joe. Many directors do also -- including my father, Henry Koster.
André de Toth was a "director's director." Among other accomplishments, he directed "House of Wax" in 3-D, even though he only had one eye. His "Ramrod" and "Cold Waters" are masterpieces of film noir and his "Springfield Rifle" was as exciting a Western as any of the classic Fords. In fact, he directed so many Westerns for Warner Bros. in the '40s, that his nickname on the lot was "Tex."
Bob Koster, Los Angeles
The New Shiksas?
In her attempt to be positive, Song Oh unfortunately missed the point ("Asians: The New Shiksas?"April 18). I cannot tell you how many times I've been to a party and seen men's tongues literally hanging out when a good-looking young Asian woman enters the room. It is indeed an epidemic and probably an issue worthy of a deeper, more serious article.
Helen Block, San Francisco
War at Home
Two decades ago, before I retired as an elementary school teacher, I worked in inner-city schools as well as in schools with large Latino populations in the Harbor area. I was aware of, and shocked, by the gang warfare that affected even elementary school children. Hardly a week went by when we didn't find an announcement on our bulletin boards that another child had been shot or injured by a rival gang. And in those days, no one appeared to take note of it, much less than suggest that this fatal warfare can and must be stopped ("The War at Home," April 18).
Now, thank goodness, that we have an excellent police chief, Bill Bratton, at our helm. It is time to end this senseless aggression among our disillusioned and frustrated youth. What a waste of potential energy, which could be directed toward creative endeavors instead of destruction of self and others. What hypocrisy to occupy another country to demonstrate how democracy works, when we can't even clean up our own act.
I thank you for speaking out on this subject.
Edith Ehrenreich, Torrance
Stand Up for Israel
As a former member of Rabbi Elazar Muskin's congregation in Los Angeles, Young Israel of Century City, I was pleased to read his article "Stand Up for Israel" (April 11), describing the 2003 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.
His urging of American Jews to "put their money where their mouth is" (my words, not his) resonated with me greatly as I see the streets of Jerusalem pretty much empty of Jewish tourists, even at the usually "high season" of Passover.
What moved me even more, however, was the knowledge that Rabbi Muskin, so soon after the AIPAC conference, led still another mission of his congregants -- this time to Israel, all of them putting their money and themselves where their mouths, and no doubt their hearts, are.
If only more of American Jewry would follow their fine example.
Avery Einhorn, Jerusalem
Women at the Wall
As part of its goals of advancing the status of women in the United States and Israel and improving the quality of Jewish life, the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has been a long-time vocal supporter of Women of the Wall. ("Women Suffer Blow on Praying at Wall," April 11). As such, we are extremely disappointed that the Israeli Supreme Court failed in its recent ruling to recognize the right of Israeli women -- and indeed all Jewish women -- to pray freely at the Western Wall, without fear of harassment or imprisonment. The decision is an affront to Jewish women and men of conscience everywhere.
NCJW is spearheading a massive letterwriting campaign and gathering signatures on a petition to express to the Israeli government our outrage at this recent ruling. We urge everyone in our community who agrees to log on to www.ncjw.org, click on "Support Women of the Wall and Equal Rights in Israel."
It is imperative that the American Jewish community makes its voices heard.
Ellie Craig Goldstein, President NCJW/LA