March 25, 2004
My Culture War
Just a quick note to say thank you for standing up for both free speech and Howard Stern in your column ("My Culture War," March 12).
My mother-in-law said to tell you that she is 78 years old, is also a Stern fan and appreciates the stand you took on this issue and the candor and honesty you displayed in your column.
Elliot Sturman, Westlake Village
Nowhere in his editorial in his support for Howard Stern does Rob Eshman, your editor, mention the place for standards of civility in today's society. Not surprisingly, leftists' feel-good, anything-goes mantras have no place for standards which they view as rigid and restrictive.
We can hear the question before it's posed. "Who determines standards?" Society determines and imposes standards; thus, they become our mores and norms. They define who we are and who we shall become.
I urge the Jewish community to reject the debasing of our society under the guise of free speech, and shame on Rob Eshman for his lack of moral clarity.
Shari Seaman Goodman, Calabasas
One historical aspect still missing is the testimony of the Holocaust perpetrators, said Ben Kingsley, who played Schindler's Jewish assistant, Itzhak Stern, in the film ("Celebrating 10 Years of 'Schindler's List,'" March 12).
"I still hope to see the time when some of the murderers will speak to the camera," said Kingsley -- Sir Ben to you.
Perhaps Sir Ben Kingsley has not seen Claude Lanzmann's remarkable 9 1/2-hour documentary, "Shoah" (1985), released eight years before "Schindler's List."
In it, Claude Lanzmann manages to track down and interview on camera several high-ranking officials and perpetrators. 2005 will be the 20th anniversary of this remarkable film. Perhaps The Jewish Journal should also devote some time to revisit this impressive historical accomplishment.
Abrey Myers, Granada Hills
Priorities Mixed Up
To talk about closing the Valley Cities JCC means to me that, as Jews, we have our priorities mixed up ("Valley Cities JCC Slated to Shut Down," March 12). I thought that one of our greatest responsibilities was to prepare the next generation to carry on our faith. After all, if not for the past generation's efforts, we wouldn't bother to read The Jewish Journal, because we wouldn't care about Judaism.
As a parent with two children in the JCC after-school program, I see Judaism in action every day. I see a community that embraces each other: young and old, Americans and immigrants, people who are well-off and people who are struggling.
It's a personal and caring island in our increasingly impersonal society, and it's a community that you don't have to move to a particular neighborhood or have a particular job to be part of.
There are other after-school programs I could send my kids to, but my children wouldn't be singing Jewish songs, making special crafts for Jewish holidays or being part of a true Jewish community. For our future as Jews, we should not be tearing down Jewish community centers but building them up.
Leila Lavizadeh, Lake Balboa
Point Not Mentioned
In her commentary "Evangelicals Are Not Our 'Natural Allies'" (March 19), Arlene Stein, a Jewish lesbian writer, is trying to portray Christian evangelicals as biased, out of step with American Jews and Israelis and not our "natural allies." Reading her article, one may conclude that her disenchantment with the Christian right is due to her being a Jew who refused to accept their invitation to visit their churches, rather than being an outspoken lesbian who disagrees with their stand regarding gay marriage.
She claims that in contrast to Christian conservatives' point of view, many Jewish religious groups support gay marriage. However, Ms. Stein failed to mention that many Jewish groups oppose such marriage the same way the Christian conservatives do, and that both groups use the Torah law as their reason.
There is no question that the agenda of the Christian right is one of a double-edged sword. Yet, we as Jews survived for thousands of years due to our ability to deal with such issues with compassion and tolerance toward other cultures and religions, rather than antagonize them unnecessarily, especially for personal gain.
Danny Bental, Tarzana
In light of his March 2 election victories, some say the governor can withstand the emotions that will crescendo this summer, as they have in recent years, with large numbers of wheelchair-bound recipients of state monies zipping through halls to stare down uncomfortable legislators in tense hearings. ("Math Problem," March 19).
This is an unfair statement directed at the many disabled people who do not rely on the government for handouts. Many disabled people are fully employed and have no desire whatsoever to take public assistance.
J.T. Walsh, via e-mail