November 6, 2003
I am shocked at your opinion piece, "Reckless," (This Week, Oct. 31). This incident has nothing to do with politics or one's views on Israel. It is a simple case of a rabbi attacking a woman and assaulting her.
Condoning such an assault is appalling. Let's call it like it is, the rabbi should resign or be fired for his actions. Nothing justifies it.
[Rabbi Chaim] Seidler-Feller has nothing left to teach, so he should do the honorable thing and resign before his students learn that it is acceptable to use violence. Maybe then some of his so-called legacy will remain intact.
Gary P. Ratner, Executive director, western region American Jewish Congress
After reading the article titled, "Hillel Head, Writer Clash on Campus," in last week's paper, I felt deeply saddened. For a Jewish student to suggest or plainly state that Rabbi [Chaim] Seidler-Feller should resign after this incident is completely outrageous and uncalled for. Yes, what he is accused of doing was out of line, but Hillel is his life and his livelihood. He has built up that organization into a wonderful place where Jewish students can gather and feel at home.
During my four years as an undergrad at UCLA, Hillel became like a second home, and Chaim always treated me with such dignity and respect. I was always in awe of his vast knowledge of Torah and his love of learning. He has taught many students how to engage with people of all races and cultures, and he espouses tolerance, a much-needed virtue these days.
And for someone to suggest he should take anger management courses astounds me. This person does not know Chaim at all and is judging him based on a small, completely out-of-character moment. I agree that what he allegedly did was out of line, but to call for his resignation is just plain wrong!
Elana Taylor, Sherman Oaks
We feel the need and responsibility as students, as members of our community and as friends of our rabbi to call attention to what we feel is an ever-growing lack of a fundamental component of the Jewish experience: healthful discourse ("Hillel Head, Writer Clash on Campus").
As Jews, we are a people of differing cultural, spiritual and political backgrounds, living in a world filled with religious and political conflict. However, it is undeniable and, in fact, beautiful that we share one world. Our challenge as humans, but especially as Jews, is to find commonalities and to build bridges' tikkun olam: to repair our often fractured world.
The situation in the Middle East is infinitely complex, and the fact that there are so many ways to interpret this complexity is a testament to our strength as a people who embrace difference, dialogue and argumentation. However, when discourse becomes a breeding ground for hate, intolerance and ignorance, we have lost our ability to be constructive, to be affective and to be human.
As young adults, we call upon the entire community -- it is incumbent upon our community -- to join together to promote and participate in an environment fitting of our people: one that allows for respectful dialogue, civility and maintaining the goal in our sight, despite our differences.
Our community is at risk. If we allow ourselves to be divided from within, we lose strength that can be gained by working together. If we cannot answer the call to promote peace within our community, there may not be a community to pursue peace at all.
Mayim Hoya Bialik, UCLA alumna 2000 UCLA Ph.D. candidate, neuroscience
Daniel Inlender, UCLA alumus 2000 UCLA Hillel Executive Committee member
More Than Words
In the Oct. 24 Journal issue it was disheartening to read of Gregg Easterbrook's "Jewish executives who worship money ... etc." comment, "Go home to Tel Aviv" heckle at Sen. [Joseph] Lieberman ("Lieberman, Easterbrook and Dearborn") and republishing of "The Protocols" in Los Angeles.
However, it was equally disheartening to read that three daughters of a rabbi are marketing T-shirts emblazoned with "Goy Toy" and "Shiksa" ("Quit Staring at My Chest," Oct. 24).
Do not the daughters know that "goy" and "shiksa" are extremely derogatory words that should have been excised from our language long ago? In all likelihood, their reply to this comment will be: "Lighten up, where's your sense of humor."
Perhaps they have never been called "sheenie," "Christ killer" and the "k__k" word and have had the name callers assert: "Where's your sense of humor?"
Aaron Epstein, North Hollywood
It doesn't seem to matter to Paul Kujawsky that we were lied to regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; war was justified because Hussein wanted them ("Taking Stock of Post-Saddam Iraq," Oct. 31).
It doesn't seem to matter to him that the intensified U.N. inspections (or selective action like the Israeli strike at Osirak which he cites) could have prevented WMD development.
It doesn't seem to matter that hundreds of Americans and innocent Iraqis have died. It doesn't seem to matter that Iraq was nothing but a terror cheerleader, and now terrorists are flooding Iraq or that our efforts in Afghanistan are now crippled.
It doesn't seem to matter to Paul Kujawksy that the budget deficits he deplores will be worsened by several hundreds of billions of dollars.
Iraq has been an utter fiasco, led by [a] foreign policy incompetent, deceitful administration.
David Perel , Los Angeles
Half a Picture
The cover of the recent Jewish Journal contained only half a population statistic picture I developed and therefore only half a story ("Who Will Care for Our Aging Adults?" Oct. 31). When I spoke to Nancy Sokoler Steiner about the 1997 L.A. Jewish population study I authored for the Jewish Federation, I emphasized the coming of dependent sectors at both ends of the age scale.
I related to your reporter that the analysis was that the L.A. Jewish community is going to face not only a crisis of aging but a crisis created by a large number of newborns. The new babies are going to be the happy result of child bearing by the children of baby boomers, who are now mostly in college.
This crisis of aging boomers and forthcoming large number of their newborn and young grandchildren are going to be greatly taxing the Jewish communal resources in the next five to 20 years. The Federation needs to be talking not only about NORCs (naturally occurring retirement communities) but about KNOCCCs (kids in naturally occurring child-caring communities) or it's not going to know what hit it.
A recent example of an early shot in the local generational conflict for communal resources is the displacement to Pierce College of Hebrew High teens from the University of Judaism campus, because of the growing need for space being used by baby boomer and senior educational programs there. In our real estate-challenged community, these conflicts are only going to increase in intensity.
Pini Herman, Ph.D., Phillips and Herman Demographic Research
In "Prisons Pray for Surge in Chaplains," (Oct. 3), the grant of $10,000 for Tanakhs was made to the Jewish Committee for Personal Service by the Jewish Federation, not by the Board of Rabbis, as reported.