September 23, 2004
The article "Political Activism Inspires Iranians" was very informative (Sept. 10). However, as one of the founders of the Beverly Hills Jewish Republicans, I was offended with the labeling of Jews as "Iranians."
For too long, the leaders of the Jewish community have labeled our newest brothers and sisters as a people who are different from those of us who arrived here earlier in the 20th century. We should look to the Israeli people as an example who long ago did away with labeling Jews based on what country they came from. The only label I'm honored to accept is Jewish.
Myles L. Berman, Founder Beverly Hills Jewish Republicans
Kids and Services
Sharon Schatz Rosenthal's "Ease Your Kids Into Holiday Services" is a sad commentary on the practice of Judaism and the failure of our religious leaders to teach its beauty (Sept. 17).
Judaism is not about the religious holidays, it is a way of life that includes them. Is it any wonder that we are seeing more and more persons claiming to be Jews, but not practicing the religion?
We teach our children the importance of an education and make certain they go to good schools -- we don't "ease them" into going. When we learn the value of the practice of Judaism and that it needs to be part of our everyday life -- including attendance at services -- we will be a better society.
Bernard S. Otis, Encino
Why George W. Bush
Dan Cohen writes that Jews should vote for Bush because of Israel even though he has abandoned any pretext for brokering peace for that nation ("Why George W. Bush?," Sept. 17).
Jews have to take a hard look at the results of the war in Iraq and its eventual impact on Israel. The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) presents a very pessimistic view of Iraq's future. The war has increased terrorism, promoted the building of an insurgency force that has killed more than 1,000 American troops, wounded thousands more and killed countless Iraqis. The NIE states that the current situation might lead to an Islamic theocracy or an outright civil war both of which would not bode well for Israel's security and the stability of the Middle East.
All of this is due to not "unyielding commitment," but to intransigence, lack of foresight and a desire to carry out W's agenda that he said he received after talking with God.
Bush believes, but his beliefs are inimical to the welfare of America and to peace in Israel.
Michael Halperin, Sherman Oaks
Masters of Return
As a mother of a son who became a "master of return" (baal teshuvah) 25 years ago, I read your article "Masters of Return" (Sept. 10) with great interest. I understand the feelings on both sides. Children choosing to lead an Orthodox lifestyle can dramatically change the dynamics of the family. Family events require much more planning and thought to be sensitive to the needs of all members of the family. Usual traditions of the family's holiday sometimes have to be altered. And even then, there are times when the whole family will not be able to celebrate together.
As a result of my experience as the mother of a baal teshuvah, I sought out and received training as a paraprofessional in the field of family therapy. I currently run support groups for the parents of children who have chosen Orthodox Judaism to help them develop a healthy relationship with their children without compromising their beliefs, and can be reached through Shomrei Torah Synagogue.
Ellen Ginsburg, Woodland Hills
I was mystified by Bethamie Horowitz's piece in which she worries that 10 years worth of Jewish continuity programming might lead to Jews who are too concerned with being Jewish ("Jewry's Myopic Plan," Sept. 17). She also lauds a rabbi friend of hers who she deems open-minded enough to suspend Shabbat observance during the baseball season so he can watch his beloved Red Sox. She quotes the rabbi as saying, "There are nine months of the year for God and three for baseball!"
I don't know if Horowitz is married, but if she is, would she mind if her husband told her he plans to move in with his old girlfriend for the summer but -- not to worry -- she can have him back the other nine months of the year?
Some may say that the comparison is unfair. After all, marriage is a real commitment that you have to take seriously. It requires sacrifice, discipline, honesty, consistency and the willingness to experience short-term discomfort for long-term growth. How dare I compare that to Judaism? How indeed.
Rafael Guber, Los Angeles