April 3, 2008
Booing Barack, pagan idols
Your column, "Dear Senator," was a bit disconcerting, especially when you seem to infer that the audience at the "Live for Sderot" benefit is representative of the Jewish/Zionist community and their opinions of the three (main) remaining U.S. Presidential candidates (March 21).
First of all, this crowd cheered for [John] McCain before he said a word. This would mean that the majority of the audience to which you refer already had their minds made up; for a man who supports the war in Iraq "for another hundred years," as he recently stated. I certainly hope that this response is not representative of the majority of the Jewish community, and I doubt that it is. On that evening, though, support for a 'stay the course' Republican was the majority.
Of course the division in Jewish and Israeli society over war and peace with the Arab/Palestinian/Muslim world exists. Clearly you were at an event with a majority who support the more hawkish view and approach toward the Arab/Palestinian/Muslim world. This is certainly not my crowd, but they obviously do exist.
Richard S. Levik
I was greatly disappointed by Rob Eshman's letter to Sen. Barack Obama in your March 21, 2008 edition. I am sure that Obama would not be able to defend himself or reply to this letter, so I feel the need to respond.
First, Obama would have no way of knowing that the "Live for Sderot" event was mainly attended by Israelis who reflect the right wing of the political spectrum and are by no means reflective of the "Jewish community" or the "Israeli community."
The event by its nature was nationalistic and drew mostly hard-line Jews. Furthermore, they may be characterized by Eshman as "Pro-Israelis." I would argue that the participants' agenda vis-a-vis the Palestinians is not in the best interest of Israel.
The proof of their view is reflected in Eshman's writing, which implies that the low point of Obama's speech was when he stated that he was looking forward to a day when "Israeli and Palestinian children can live in peace." Would Eshman and the Israeli audience have been satisfied if Obama said that he was "looking forward to the continued state of war between the Israelis and the Palestinians?" Does Obama's hope for peace make Eshman feel insecure?
To use the Sderot event as a barometer of the lack of support for Obama in the Jewish community is misleading. Moreover, to compare John Kerry's support from 76 percent of Jews when he ran for president against Bush to the hissing and booing by the majority Israeli nationalistic crowd during the Sderot event is preposterous. Rob Eshman cannot compare a general presidential election between a Democrat and a Republican to a primary election between two Democrats. These represent two different levels of competition. If Obama becomes the Democrat nominee, he will likely get the same 76 percent vote from the Jewish community in the general election as well.
Germany's disintegrating economy played a major role in the rise of Nazi power.
A sound fiscal policy is in the best interest of all Americans, but especially American Jews. Frankly, the condition of the economy terrifies me and my kishkas. Consider the weakening dollar, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with massive tax cuts, plus the rising costs of oil. There could be real trouble ahead. It might comfort some kishkas to hear the tough talk of Bush-Cheney-McCain, but not mine.
I think a much greater threat to the security of American Jews is this Republican war machine, which flat out insists on bankrupting the United States come hell or high water (Katrina). Incidentally, I really don't care what Obama's minister says (you should hear what my rabbi says, but at least no one sleeps during his sermons), and it makes no difference to me if Clinton cries on cue. I just want to get these insane Republicans out of office before we're all eating dog food -- kosher of course.
In his article, "The Perfect Combination," Bill Boyarsky suggests that acceptance of interracial marriage explains why many Jews are eager to forgive a candidate who for 20 years brings his children to listen to a blood libeler and anti-Semite (March 28). I hope that he is not suggesting that those of us who are horrified by a presidential candidate who so closely associates himself with such a demagogue are opposed to interracial marriage.
I'm shocked to read that Mort Sahl was quoted as saying, "Lenny Bruce was neither profound nor politic," ("The World According to Mort Sahl and Friends," March 21). Lenny was more profound, political and successful than Sahl has ever been and, I might add, infinitely funnier.
Lenny was a friend of mine, as was his mother, Sally, and daughter Kitty. So maybe my opinion could be prejudiced. But I think Lenny was far more influential in changing comedy than Sahl. I like Sahl's work, but I think he's forgotten the importance of Lenny Bruce's contribution to comedy.
In response to the article, "Fear Over Intermarriage Is Overblown," Esther in the Purim story was meant to marry King Achashverosh because she was meant to save her people from Haman (March 28). However, people nowadays who intermarry do it for their own personal reasons.
Intermarriage, in general, is prohibited in the Torah (Deuteronomy 7:3-4). We learn that if a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman, their children won't be Jewish, and he stops his Jewish family line from continuing. And if a Jewish woman marries a non-Jewish man, her children are Jewish, but the couple might decide to be secular, or practice both religions. If she and her children are secular, they don't get to experience their heritage and nourish their soul and pass on the tradition. Or if she and her children practice both religions, then by following the husband's, they are doing idol worship, which is prohibited.
Of course, the non-Jewish spouse has the option of becoming halachically Jewish.