The Israeli Baseball League is a classic example of the end product not matching the enormous media hype (see Edsel) ("Boychicks of Summer," Aug. 31). The league was obviously poorly planned and financed even worse (apparently a good chunk of money went for publicity). I watched the first game, somehow aired on PBS, and was amazed at the poor quality of play. The claim was that they would play at least at an "A League" level. What I saw was not much better than high school. When Ken Holtzman, one of the sports true nice guys, is critical and leaves the league, you're in trouble. He is not the type of person given to shooting off his mouth.
I love baseball and would like nothing more than to see the sport succeed in Israel. However, it is obvious that most Israelis don't share my love for the game. They would rather watch a soccer match or attend a basketball game. Israelis are accustomed to constant action sports. Baseball is a chess game that is not time driven.
Didn't Larry Baras, et al., do a feasibility study prior to starting the league? What were they thinking? What did they expect when the fields are inadequate, there is a lack of equipment, and the pay is poor or nonexistent? You get what you pay for! (The league does have a nice Web site, however.)
I would hate to think what will happen if the proposed American football in Israel ever comes to fruition.
Jewish Sports Review
If you take the negative from a new marriage, a new toy store, a new anything -- you will wind up with the butcher-type job of an article which you printed relative to the Israel Baseball League (IBL). I would expect more objectivity and less sensationalism from The Jewish Journal. If the intent was to assume the worst and put forward negativity on the best thing that may have happened to Israel in many years, you were successful. The IBL serves to put a different more positive face on Israel worldwide and it succeeded (save for the article which you chose to print). The IBL serves to bring different types of people together for an enjoyable evening and it succeeds (I know I have been to several games). The IBL serves to create a couple hours of respectful harmony and enjoyment in a country needy of it. (I know. I drive the roads in Israel. )
It says a lot about anyone who seeks and commits themselves and their writing to tear down something so positive.
Lets show our respect for a wonderful venture, which shows the commitment and huge efforts of people in getting this successfully off the ground. Certainly the most difficult part. A lot tougher than criticizing a first year.
The loony-left dream of Rob Eshman ("Help Bush," Aug. 24) was anything but persuasive. If Israel must accept mere promises in exchange for land, let's begin by amending the Palestinian Charter that still calls for the destruction of Israel.
Yes, Palestinians want security and dignity, but missing is their expression of desire for peace with Israel. How is Abbas different when he has never renounced his Holocaust denial, continuing to allow murder by his Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade? Even the recent pledge by released Palestinian prisoners to refrain from terrorist activities was revoked within days. And the honest and incorruptible Salam Fayyad just used U.S. funds to pay the salary of Hamas terrorists.
So, in order to strengthen the incapable Abbas and give Bush a legacy, Israel should give up land, relying on Hamas to fight the deal in elections. That would be a nightmare and suicide.
Aggie R. Hoffman
Come on David Suissa, why are you using precious editorial space to advertise your and Gary Wexler's marketing services? ("Gary Wexler Is Miserable," Aug. 31). How transparent! Why not pay for an ad instead, the way Gary did many years ago?
I guess it's a wonderful thing for the Jewish community that you both gave up your once hot ad agencies and are applying your talents to Jewish causes. Are you providing these services free of charge? I bet not. And using your column for such an overt self-serving message just prior to the Days of Awe? A shanda! At least Yom Kippur is near and you'll be able to repent without having to wait out a full year.
Roger S. Pondel
Editor's note: Suissa and Wexler will provide their service free of charge.
Shmuel of Arabia
I enjoyed reading David Suissa's column ("Shmuel of Arabia," Aug. 24) last week, as the way he describes Rabbi Shlomo Miller is exactly as I remember him. I would add that he is an impressive scholar, cloaked in humility, an 'orthodoxe éclairé' with a vast knowledge of the world and a great clarity of purpose.
I was invited to his house, the Shabbat after my mother (Anna Mireille Abitbol) died 12 years ago, as a mutual friend mentioned that he lived in Oran, Algeria, where my mother was born and painted.
This probably explains his love of the Arabic language, also shared by Maimonides, and I agree with Suissa that the Judeo-Arabic dialect with all its aphrorisms is colorful and full of insight. Why don't more Jews from the Levant pass it onto their descendants?
Needless to say that meeting him and his lovely family was of great comfort to my friend and me, and we were inspired by his philosophic bend. He is a great admirer and lectured on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, Rabbi Leon Ashkenazi (whose father was the rav in Oran in the 1930s) and Jacques Derrida, who also regrettably are not well known in this country.
Keep up the good work, David and long life to Shlomo Miller! Danielle Avidan
Tom Teicholz has given the readers a concise and perfect brief on the wonderful Gabor family -- especially Zsa Zsa ("Last of Hungarian Mohicans," Aug. 24).
Yes, they were the Paris Hiltons of their generation, without the porn but with lots of implied sex. Zsa Zsa Gabor, they just don't make them like that anymore. She is indeed the Last of the Hungarian Mohicans.
With regard to "Israel's Darfur Refugees Require Worthy Action" by Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky (Aug. 24), while I empathize with those who claim it is Israel's moral responsibility to admit all the refugees from Darfur, as well as the economic refugees from Africa, I recognize that it is one thing to make a moral declaration when pondering a single issue in a vacuum and it is quite another when facing the reality of a full plate of moral issues that demand to be confronted and when tough decisions must all be made all at once.
Israel, like any other country, has very limited resources with which it has to cope with a slew of critical issues.
If Israel found itself with an extra $1 million, how would it best be spent?
1) By improving the medical care and the retched living conditions of the many destitute, elderly Holocaust survivors.
2) providing support for the widows and educational opportunities for the children of the fallen troops.
3) providing improved medical care and psychological and physical rehabilitation for the injured troops and innocent victims of terror.
4) support for housing, jobs, education for families displaced from Gaza.
Also, it should be pointed out that these refugees are fleeing to Israel to escape the atrocities that are currently being committed upon them by the Egyptian police and military. Thus, well meaning people should direct their heart-felt indignation directly toward Egypt, the prime culprit in this entire situation.
Life in Sderot
Your lead story on Sderot ("Shabbat in Sderot Beneath a Canopy of Qassams," Aug 24) very effectively related the heavy psychological toll of living under constant rocket attacks. This situation should not be tolerated, but your article stated that "most military experts believe that only a major ground operation would eradicate the threat."
This is an incorrect view that far too many people still hold. There is a safe and affordable counter to the threat of short-range rockets like the Qassam and also the Katusha. A joint development project by Israel and the United States has completed a highly effective laser anti-missile system, which has been tested in the United States at White Sands, and shown to be extremely successful against real missiles.
There is a new organization being formed in Israel, called the Israel Missile Defense Association, to help raise the awareness of missile defense needs and potential solutions. If readers wish to find out more about the system I mention above, and others, they can contact this group through their Web site: http://www.imda.org.il.
Armenia and the ADL
It is a shame to suggest that such a controversial subject like Armenian genocide can be held equal to the Holocaust (Opinion page, Aug. 31).
I am appalled and baffled by the Anti-Defamation League's utter disrespect to a brother nation who saved thousands of Jewish people from persecution in Spain.
I suggest you read your history right and put your conscious in test with self-respect.
Shame on you.
Dr. Oben Alpaslan