A point of clarification: While Jane Ulman cites IKAR as one of the religious institutions that does not participate in Mitzvah Day, this is in fact not the case.
IKAR proudly participates in Big Sunday, seeing it as one of many vital pathways to serving those most vulnerable in our city, and invigorating a sense of civic responsibility amongst our Jewish community ("Big Sunday," April 20).
Our hope and prayer is that our volunteer work on Big Sunday will be a source of inspiration to do more every day.
Kol hakavod to Rabbi John Rosove and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and all those in the community who help make Big Sunday what it is.
Rabbi Sharon Brous
I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see members of the Republican Jewish Coalition try to deliver a hatchet job on Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-San Fransico) recent trip to Syria, Israel and Jordan ("Pelosi-Palooza," April 13).
I found Rob Eshman's piece to be very well balanced in reviewing the positives and negatives about her trip.
Further, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) spoke before Democrats for Israel Los Angeles on April 15 about his role in the delegation, exposing the Republican hypocrisy in this entire matter.
Since 2003 more than 25 Republicans have visited Syria, including Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) who has openly praised Hezbollah, and at no point has the Bush Administration even so much as admonished a single one of them, including the three Republicans who met with Assad the week before Pelosi and the one Republican who met with Assad the week after (again Issa).
Further, the Bush Administration has pressured Israel into interfering with American politics, threatening to cut aid if Israel communicates with or talks peace with Syria and pushing Ehud Olmert into repudiating the message he and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik directly asked Pelosi to deliver to Assad.
Olmert has since apologized to Pelosi, and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Sallai Meridor has praised Pelosi's support of Israel and efforts to secure the release of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers.
Every time the GOP tries to turn support of Israel into a partisan issue they lose. In fact, they received less than 11 percent of the Jewish vote in 2006.
Perhaps the Republicans should learn from the Olmert's example and stop trying to turn the support of Israel into a partisan game.
Democrats for Israel Los Angeles
Your article lauding Rep. Nancy Pelosi shows that she as well as you are unaware of the felony she committed under the Logan Act communicating on foreign policy against the wishes of the president ("Pelosi-Palooza," April 13).
Where is Patrick Fitzgerald of Libby fame? Pelosi is entitled to three years in prison. She flaunted the Constitution as confirmed by the Supreme Court in Marbury vs. Presidential authority over the Dept. of State.
Marina del Rey
Republican Jewish Coalition
To attract more members, particularly women, [the Republican Jewish Coalition] might consider referring to the first female speaker of the House in history using her title, rather then, as in the full-age ad of last week, simply 'Pelosi' (Advertisement, April 20).
I enjoyed the ad after driving home through crumbling, potholed, traffic and smog-choked Los Angeles -- dotted with struggling public schools -- appalled that trillions of my fellow citizens' dollars, not to mention lives, are being wasted in a war whose premise was an utter lie and whose impact, among other atrocious ones, has been the further destabilization of the Middle East and the creation of a power vacuum sure to benefit Iran.
With whom should political leaders meet and speak; only those with whom they already agree about everything?
I'm looking forward to next week's ad explaining why it's neither "dangerous" nor "wrong" to torture people, when precisely the Geneva Convention became "quaint" (when we Jews didn't need it anymore?) and (finally, a straight answer?) who exactly flipped the coin that decided the professional fate of David Iglesias et al.
I'm delighted [they are] spending so much of your money on these effective ads; keep up the good work.
The Republican Jewish Coalition's (RJC) ad in the Jewish Journal's April 20 edition attacking Speaker Nancy Pelosi for performing an actual productive act of diplomacy by meeting with Bashar al Assad is remarkably misguided and incredibly shortsighted.
I find it almost unimaginable that any organization, claiming to be patriotic and supportive of America, labeling a verifiable step toward peace in the region as counterproductive. When we consider that diplomacy as enacted the present State Department, as lead by the current administration, is marked by indifference to the point of absurdity and has been largely reduced to issuing edicts and other cowboy/vigilante style antics, it is refreshing to see a politician actually providing for our common defense. The fact that the government of Israel lent their voice in support of the bipartisian trip appears to be completely missed by the RJC.
The only way this ad makes sense is if the RJC is actually disagrees with the goal of peace in the region.
The RJC should be applauding Pelosi's actions, not condemning them.
Richard L. Adlof
I just returned from the Religious Action Center's Consultation on Conscience in Washington, D.C.
Among the Congressional leaders with whom we met were Nancy Pelosi, Keith Ellison and Henry Waxman -- three members of the delegation that is under attack by the administration. After hearing first-hand about the meetings, it is eminently clear that the speaker and her colleagues did not say anything untoward to or about any of the world leaders.
What they did do is attempt to open a dialogue with both friends and those we consider enemies. When does the Bush White House begin to recognize that communication is not a reward to be bestowed at the pleasure of the United States. It's actually called diplomacy. My hat is off to the speaker -- I am proud to have had her represent me.Barbara Bergen
I read Rob Eshman's "Deliverance" smirking smugly (March 30).
I was making soup for my friend just home from surgery while waiting for the cable guy.
Deciding to jump-start with bullion, I added half a 50-cup jar to water and chicken breasts.
When I returned to skim, I found a cross between library paste and cement.
Disbelieving, I realized I had switched 24 cups for 24 ounces. Off to my storage for an 8-quart pot into which I poured the soup and much water.
By this time, I prayed that the chicken had cooked long enough not to poison me and tasted it.
It now had the consistency of chicken pot-pie filling and tasted awful. I added some veggies, but to no avail. Plus, there was no room for the dozens of matzah balls I had cooking in another pot.
Back to the storage for a 20-quart pot.
Adding more water, I realized I had nervously eaten all the carrots for the soup, ran out for more and returned as the cable guy showed up.
I finally managed to salvage the soup, but couldn't lift it. He reluctantly agreed to help, in exchange for some matzah balls.
Rabbi Lynn Brody
Niall Stranage's recommendation that "now is the time to engage with the Palestinians," based on a superficially impressive analogy between Northern Ireland and the Israeli-Palestinian war, is actually wide off the mark ("Mideast Conflict Displays Parallels to N. Ireland," April 6).
Stranage argues that the formation of the Hamas Palestinian Authority government is comparable to the so-called Hume-Adams talks of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which laid the groundwork for the 1998 Irish peace agreement.
Yet Stranage fails to see a vital difference. However extreme and murderous the IRA was and is, it wanted only to remove Northern Ireland from Britain. It did not want to destroy Britain and exterminate its people.
Hamas, however, wants to destroy Israel and murder the Jews and it says so clearly in its Charter in Articles 7 and 15. It also approvingly cites the classic anti-Semitic forgery that inspired Hitler, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Article 32), as proof of the absolute evil of the Jews it seeks to destroy.
This is a conflict on a different plane from the nationalist war in Ireland and ill-considered analogies only obscure that all-important fact.
Morton A. Klein
Zionist Organization of America
Vulgarity Isn't Hip
Mitch Paradise takes a welcome step in the right direction on Don Imus' recent use of the word "hos" to characterize women guilty only of playing basketball while Black ("It's Not Hip to Be Vulgar," April 20).
He is correct to raise the issue of moral responsibility of Jews in the entertainment industry in this regard. Philip Nobile, to cite one example, quotes David Rosenthal [Imus' editor at Simon and Shuster] who stated: "Imus is good for business."
There is also a moral responsibility for those who collude in this "business." Regrettably, the roster of Jewish journalists, politicians and other celebrities who willingly appeared on Imus' show without challenging his bigotry is extensive.
I strongly concur with Paradise that the task should be to reverse the vulgarization of the media and I commend him for having the courage to raise this issue while working in the entertainment field.
Name withheld by request
California Jewish Voice
Your article on the Forward reminded me of the California Jewish Voice which was published here in Los Angeles ("'Living Lens' Celebrates 110 Years of Forward in Pictures," April 20).
I know my family subscribed to it in the 1930s and 1940s. Sam Gach was the editor or owner or both or ... I still have recipes my mother cut out of the paper. They're just as tasty now as they were then. If I recall correctly, some of it at one time was in Yiddish, which I couldn't read.
THE JEWISH JOURNAL welcomes letters from all readers. Letters should be no more than 200 words and must include a valid name, address and phone number. Letters sent via e-mail must not contain attachments. Pseudonyms and initials will not be used, but names will be withheld on request. We reserve the right to edit all letters. Mail: The Jewish Journal, Letters, 3580 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1510, Los Angeles, CA 90010; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or fax: (213) 368-1684