I was very interested in the subject matter of the young people of the United States going to Israel on the Birthright program (Cover, July 18).
However, am I the only paranoid Jew who found it offensive? Since when is it appropriate to drape a flag (from any country) around one's rear end? These students perhaps do not know the proper procedure in displaying a flag, but surely the editors of your fine publication would know.
Coming from an Orthodox background, only recently did I start reading the Jewish Journal (it's delivered to the Russian Chabad of all places). I really enjoy the multitude of opinions expressed here -- especially Rob Eshman's editorials -- until I read "Defending Identity" riding to work this morning ("Defending Identity," July 18).
A single written word can be a very powerful tool in educating and liberating, but it can do quite the opposite as well. A single reference to God in the feminine form "Her" was a major blow to my opening up to the Jewish non-Orthodox ideas. In the same sentence: not only it's "Her," but she also has a "dark sense of humor."
Come on, Mr. Eshman, that's too much! Whose identity are you defending?
Offending mine -- that's for sure! Now I want to crawl back to my shell, where I feel safe and where I can be unapologetically Orthodox.
Best of L.A.
One of the finest synagogue bands in our area is Beth Shir Sholom's TishTones. They were not mentioned in your otherwise excellent feature on the best in (Jewish) Los Angeles (July 4).
The TishTones were created more than 18 years ago by Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels, and were one of the first synagogue bands. While longevity is not proof of "best," I invite anyone interested to Beth Shir Sholom's Shabbos Tish at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 22, where the TishTones will be featured. Everyone is also invited to the 6 p.m. barbecue preceding the Tish (reservations appreciated).
Participants can then decide for themselves.
Beth Shir Sholom
What to Expect
Yes, a woman needs to listen to her body ("What to Expect When You're Done Expecting," July 11).
For some, it means having that one child, for others more children. There comes a time when the body says "enough is enough."
It's painful for women [who] due to nature's quirks can't have children. It's one of the most beautiful things a woman can do: give life.
Giving birth does have its risks. I know -- my mother died the day after I was born.
Ich bin ein Amerikaner
It is absolutely shocking that a Jew would write an article such as "Ich bin ein Amerikaner" (July 25).
Anyone acquainted with Jewish history should be painfully aware that if a person, people or state are loathed, it very well may be caused by unfair or even vicious propaganda. Those on the left, who blame Bush for the hatred of America, never consider that their venom is the primary reason for this hatred.
This of course includes obscene analogies (Hitler), absurd conspiracy theories (Sept. 11) and a constant stream of accusations that he is a liar (two bipartisan commissions concluded that he did not lie about WMDs). Amazingly, Kaplan praises American films, which the world loves. American films since Sept. 11 almost always demonize the United States or Israel.
While I would concede that Bush is a terrible communicator and disagree with many of his policies, we have to ask what would have happened if Roosevelt or Churchill were accorded the same treatment as Bush and the wrongs of Hitler were treated as a force of nature? What would have happened if all of the films produced during World War II dramatized wrongs committed by the United States or Britain?
We all understand the unfairness of absurdly disproportionate criticism of an ethnic group or race, but is it not equally unjust when this is done to a country such as Israel or the United States?
The headline over the column of Marty Kaplan, "Beyond Sicko" (July 18), was a perfect description of his opening paragraph (although I know that was not the intent of the headline writer), which takes a totally irrelevant swipe at Vice President Dick Cheney.
Kaplan made no direct connection between Cheney and the subject of his column.
For the obvious reason that he does not care for Cheney (Kaplan is the director of the leftist Norman Lear Center) he did an amazing stretch in his segue to justify his attack by the fact that the subject of his column (a conference on the health of people in the United States) was being held "a short taxi ride from the White House."
Poor Kaplan, he even fell short in his queer segue. Cheney is not in the White House. Sicko.
It will come as a revelation to Rachel Heller that intimacy, in long term relationships, can, and has been achieved, without ever sharing all the sounds each others' bodies can make ("Getting 'Serious' Is No Joke," July 11).
As it is, how shallow a measure that is anyway. I will no longer laugh at those self-help relationship books that flood the market; seems there must be a need for them.
Judith O. Kollman
In the June 5, 2008 article, "Shoah Survivors Graduate from New Jew," the phrase "Polish concentration camps" was incorrectly used. The correct phrase should have been "concentration camps in Poland."