November 13, 2003
Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller
Rob Eshman's article attempts to present a variety of views of what occurred in the very unfortunate altercation between the director of UCLA Hillel, Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, and a female journalist, Rachel Newirth ("Reckless," Oct. 31). However, his editorial ultimately descends, giving voice to divisive statements with strong political biases.
While this incident should and will be resolved between the two parties involved, our community ought to recognize this as a wake-up call. This is a moment of opportunity to examine the role of campus leadership as a vehicle to create a tent of diversity within which the variety of views can be shared and heard equally and safely.
All involved should take an introspective step back and dedicate themselves to setting a high standard for students and community alike to look beyond their personal politics, regardless of which end of the ideological spectrum one comes from, and to encourage tolerance for diverse voices.
Esther Renzer, president Roz Rothstein, executive director StandWithUs
Chaim [Seidler-Feller] spent his life as a peace monger and a promoter of dialogue and reason. Love for Judaism and Israel flows from every pore in his body ("Hillel Head, Writer Clash on Campus," Oct. 31).
To scream insults at this man in public and call him a kapo is totally outrageous. His physical response was equally outrageous as was the provocation.
We know the prohibitions of lashon hara from prayer and rabbinic literature. This has been a real-life demonstration of how badly it can go.
The Jewish community must tolerate the language of dissent, which can lead to understanding of others. It cannot tolerate the language of hate, which leads to violence.
Michael Telerant, Beverly Hills
Ending Life Support
As one who has spent a lifetime studying Jewish medical ethics, I must respectfully disagree with the opinion of my esteemed colleague, Rabbi Elliot Dorff, expressed in his article on the recent Terri Schiavo case in Clearwater, Fla. ("Opinions Conflict on Ending Life Support," Nov. 7).
We are not talking about heroic, high-tech medical intervention, we are talking about Terri Schiavo's lunch. The gastrostomy tube is a simple procedure that can be easily managed by any competent nurse.
Although the Schiavo case is different, it does remind us of the Cruzan vs. Harmon case 13 years ago. The words of Rabbi Moshe Tendler, written on Dec. 20, l989, in an amicus curia brief before the Supreme Court continue to energize and inspire me to this day: "Nancy Cruzan is a live, severely handicapped fellow human, dependent on the care and concern of family and health-care providers. There is no boundary line that she has passed over that would relieve us of our obligations to her."
This same truth applies to Terri Schiavo.
Rabbi Louis J. Feldman, Van Nuys
Cause and Effect
Every parent resonates with Murray Fromson's anguish when his/her child is in harm's way -- and in Israel they are indeed in harm's way ("A Father's Daughter," Nov. 7).
When he quotes his daughter, "At every assassination, every attack, our Palestinian counterparts grow more and more enraged," I wonder why she omits the provocation for those attacks? The simple cause and effect is at play here -- suicide bombings elicit attacks. Were there no suicide murderers, there would be no retaliatory attacks.
Perhaps Mr. Fromson and his daughter might consider writing op-ed pieces in the Palestinian press urging the Palestinians to choose dialogue over violence, to take a moral stance against the murder of innocents. That's where their entreaties are needed most.
Jack Salem , Los Angeles
Are you surprised to hear of pornographic videos at Milken High School ("Milken High Learns From Video Scandal," Nov. 7), when your own newspaper extols the virtues of contributing writers exposing themselves to nude Web sites or picking up singles at dubious venues?
Are we surprised when a spokesperson for Milken states, "We are looking at pluralistic tradition that does not have single position on sexuality, but certainly has agreed upon boundaries and shared values within which students are deliberating"? Or as your article formulated, "The events have raised questions about whether it is realistic or fair to hold students at a Jewish high school to a different standard than the society at large."
How pathetic that these students and your own writers have no conception of what it means to be a Jew, other than to ape the base values of a hedonistic culture. One can only hope that students, their administrators, as well as young Jewish professionals and writers, including those who regularly write for The Jewish Journal, will someday understand the meaning of kedusha (holiness, sanctity).
Michael Schmidt-Lackner, Los Angeles
A View of 'View'
In short, the use of "Greenberg's View" is unbalanced, insulting to many of your readers, casts the Jewish community in a politically poor light and is pure arrogance by your editors to foist this leftist lightweight on the rest of us.
Jarrow L. Rogovin, Los Angeles
While I generally agree with Dennis Prager's ecumenical bent, I believe that your readers were ill served by your failure to disclose that Prager's employer, Salem Broadcasting, is a conservative Christian network ("How Jews, Christians See Gibson's Film," Nov. 7).
Eric Forster, Los Angeles
The substance of Dennis Prager's article is an excellent corrective to the somewhat hysterical hand-wringing that has gripped some Jewish communal leaders.
However, as a religious studies scholar, I know that it is possible, and preferable, to refer to religious leaders and beliefs in ways that are respectful but nonetheless somewhat detached.
Throughout the article -- presumably written for a Jewish audience -- Mr. Prager refers to Jesus as "Christ," which of course means messiah. To refer to Jesus as Christ implies (incorrectly, I presume) that the author accepts the claim that Jesus is the messiah predicted in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Furthermore, Mr. Prager writes that "[American Christians] know that Christ's entire purpose was to come to this world and to be killed for humanity's sins." Surely Mr. Prager knows that this is a matter of deeply held belief but certainly not "knowledge" in the way most Journal readers understand the term.
Even in our image-obsessed world, words still matter.
J. Shawn Landres, Lecturer in Jewish and Western civilization, University of Judaism Los Angeles
For 10 years, Women Against Gun Violence has worked with many Westside Jews and non-Jews in an organization committed to ending gun violence ("A Tale of Two Cities," Nov. 7). It has been heavy slogging, because the deaths and injuries occur on the south and Eastside of Los Angeles County, but the fears exists on the Westside. And seldom do the residents meet.
We believe that if we can put a human face on the statistics, if we can tell people about council member and former [Chief of Police Bernard] Parks' granddaughter, shot at a fast-food restaurant, or Evan Leigh, 7, shot in the family car on the way to pick up his soccer trophy, or George, aged 12, who used the family gun to commit suicide, that they will want to get involved. We can now add Joseph Javaheri to that list.
Our goals have been to reduce the accessibility to guns by criminals and kids. We demand to know how so many guns are available on the street. Some of them are stolen from homes where people do not properly lock up their guns; some of them come from other states with less stringent gun laws.
Some are marketed to illegal buyers by gun manufacturers, who fail to monitor the gun stores that sell their weapons. They may soon be legally selling assault weapons again.
There is legislation before Congress to extend the ban on assault weapons. These are weapons of war that have been banned for 10 years. The Republican leadership has indicated they will not let the ban extension come to a vote. We cannot let that happen.
There are so many ways to get involved. Women Against Gun Violence would welcome help. Please call (310) 204-2348.
Ann Reiss Lane, Women Against Gun Violence
As nearly all of the examples cited in the Jewish Journal cover stories indicate, women comprise a much larger percent than men of any aging population, and that predominance grows with each decade of age ("Who Will Care for our Aging Adults?" Oct. 31). And yet, the cover art pictures only men (well, man, as it's a repeated image of the same person).
A photo of a man and a woman would not have contained an accurate proportion of the aging population, but at least it would have shown equivalence.
Tracy Moore, Los Angeles
Due to an editing mistake the word hydrogen was used instead of carbon dioxide in "Q&A With Andy Lipkis," (Nov. 7). The Journal regrets the error.
For the record, Lev Eisha Services are held on the first Saturday of every month at 3030 Westwood Blvd. The phone number for Adat Shalom is (310) 475-4985. ("Lev Eisha Women Pray Their Own Way," Oct. 24).