Jewish Journal

Clergy abuse—the cover and the story; Anti-Semitic road rage—do the right thing?

Posted on Jan. 18, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Cover Choice

It is appalling to me that you should depict this dreadful image on your cover ("Don't Kid Yourself," Jan. 12)

I understand your exploring the topic in an article, but to put this image and headline on the cover of The Jewish Journal when you describe plenty of anti-Semitism incidents causing us problems already is really inappropriate. As a subscriber of several years, I am really disappointed in your choice of covers, to say the least. You could use some better editorial advisers.

Fleurette Hershman
Sherman Oaks

While The Jewish Journal should be commended for addressing this issue, the cover photo illustration was not necessary.

Harry Green
via E-mail

I wanted to personally thank The Jewish Journal for having the courage to publish the entire JTA series, "Reining in Abuse" (Jan. 12). You have helped to break the taboo of silence and secrecy. Awareness and education are the first steps in making changes in hopes of ending sexual violence and bringing healing to our communities.

In the article, "Awareness Center and Blogs Draw Praise, Criticism," I wanted to point out a fact that was omitted. The Awareness Center has posted our polices for removing alleged and convicted offenders from our Web page (www.theawarenesscenter.org/policies.html).

Vicki Polin
Executive Director
The Awareness Center Inc.
(Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault)

I was so moved by the writings and revelations of clergy abuse within the Jewish community. Someone was finally telling the truth. Someone had managed to put into print what has been taboo for so long. This article brings to light that rabbis, cantors and Jewish religious educators are just as capable of committing this horrendous sin of abuse.

I feel it is [also] important that the Jewish community realize that one in three women and one in seven men have been sexually abused at some time during their childhood. Just as Jewish clergy are not immune from clergy abuse, the Jewish community as a whole is not immune to incest.

Rabbis, cantors and chaplains need to confront their own feelings and fears about incest in order to provide pastoral care to their congregants in need of being heard. This cannot be pushed aside any longer.

Bonnie Leopold
Via e-mail

Ride on Wild Side

While I truly empathize with Gary Wexler's rude awakening to anti-Semitism, I cannot help but ask, what took him so long ("Ride on the Wild Side: Road-Rage Anti-Semitism," Jan. 12, 2007)?

Richard Friedman
Los Angeles

I was shocked that in Gary Wexler's column, "Ride on the Wild Side: Road-Rage Anti-Semitism," there would even be a question about reporting the Jamaican car service driver who threatened his life and spewed anti-Semitic remarks on the way to the airport.

No mention was made of reporting this incident to the police or even contacting the car service that employs this driver.

Sometimes we meet evil incarnate, and we have a responsibility to confront it. It is very unsettling that someone could have this experience and not feel a responsibility to act.

Doesn't Wexler realize that an irrational anti-Semite serving the public makes everyone who uses that service unsafe and that Wexler and his family's safety is not increased by not reporting this incident to the police?

Pamela Abramovici

Gary Wexler reports on his brush with an insane anti-Semite and his dilemma about a proper reaction. How about reporting this lunatic to company management, then consider appropriate legal proceedings. The district attorney can decide on a proper course of action, especially if there is a pattern of such abuse.

I emigrated from France as a teenager, so I never got too used to the golden age of acceptance Wexler mentions. Most Jews outside the United States know anti-Semitism as a fact of life. No, they do not like it.

But, despite lacking a full embrace by much of the rest of the world, Jews throughout the ages have chosen to celebrate and perpetuate Judaism. This is what many of us continue to do today.

So, Wexler, do not feel afraid, guilty or ambivalent. Be proud. Defend yourself, your family and your people. As a Jew, you deserve as much respect as any other human being. Do not settle for less.

Stephan C. Schonbuch
Culver City

I read your article and would like to raise several issues with you ("Ride on the Wild Side: Road-Rage Anti-Semitism," Jan. 12, 2007):

Why didn't you use your cellphone to call the cab company and complain while riding? After all, I can guarantee you the driver would not have killed himself to kill you.

When you got out of the taxi, you should have told this fool that his table would be turning fast, when the authorities knock on his door.

Your apologetic and no-courage sentence: "You have no idea who I am or who my people are. All you did was spew hate," was much redundant. Who cares what he knows. Could you educate and turn around a fool?

And, as this idiot asked, "Are you going to report me like the Jew did about Mel Gibson? Are you going to get all your Jewish organizations after me now?" you should have said: "You bet I will and more."

I hope no tip was included!

And with the self-pity one reads in between these lines, you should have then turned around and asked yourself, "What am I going to do about the Mel Gibsons of the world; about people like Judith Regan; about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threats to have a world without Israel and the U.SA.; about the brutal torture and killing of Ilan Halimi in France and the like; about all the recent pronouncements of anti-Semitism throughout the world. What are you going to do about it all?

What is your contribution besides self-pity? I would like to know! Nurit Greenger
Los Angeles

CAIR Deceptions

For 12 years since its inception, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been involved in one of the biggest political deceptions in recent memory. It originated from Hamas front groups in the United States and now masquerades as a human rights organization.

Although CAIR claims to be anti-terrorist, it has consistently defended terrorists and their front groups in the United States, refused to condemn Islamic terrorist groups by name and sponsored rabid anti-Semitic speakers and jihadists.

When confronted with allegations of its support for Hamas and other radical Islamic movements, CAIR simply resorts to the big lie technique: It denies the charge and then smears its opponents with the brush of Islamophobia.

CAIR has employed this technique for years, fooling journalists (wittingly and unwittingly) and government officials, including members of the FBI and local law enforcement, such as Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who has consistently embraced CAIR.

One notable instance, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) recently revoked an award her office had given to a CAIR official in the belated recognition of CAIR's association with terrorists. Boxer deserves much praise for her intellectual honesty and political courage in taking this step, leaving CAIR sputtering that the only reason it is being criticized is because it won't support Israel.

Steven Emerson
Executive Director
Investigative Project on Terrorism

Editor's Note: The complete text of this letter with CAIR's response is on the JewishJournal.com Reader Forums. CAIR and Emerson are invited to continue their debate online, where readers can take part.

A Cause for Celebration

I am writing this after having read through the Jan. 5 edition of The Journal. I have not noticed as yet any mention of the arrest, trial or execution of former Iraqi leader Sadam Hussein in your paper. Nor, frankly, have I heard it mentioned at my synagogue or from any other Jewish establishment.

For a people that considers itself to be sensitive to matters regarding genocide, I find this silence very puzzling.

We have often shouted, "Never Again," every time a new outrage against humanity occurs, and I'd think that bringing a mass murderer to justice would be a cause for celebration. Certainly the removal of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic some years ago and the end of his "ethnic cleansing" was such a cause. Yet, nowhere do I hear the slightest sound of joy at the removal of this current tyrant.

Could it be that politics is rearing its ugly head? Is the community so upset at our present involvement in Iraq and so angry at the president that we can't bear to admit that something positive did come from our invasion of Iraq? Israelis remember Hussein's bombing of their land during the first Gulf War, and I'm sure that they are still very glad that we invaded.

Les Amer
Los Angeles

Moral Eating

I'm writing in response to Editor-in-Chief Rob Eshman's wonderful op-ed, "Moral Diet" (Jan. 5). Through my work at Hazon (the "cutting-edge Jewish organization" Eshman mentions), I have the privilege of watching the development of what we call The "New Jewish Food Movement." I applaud Eshman for bringing these issues to the forefront of the Jewish community.

I offer only one clarification. As of 2007, Hazon's community-supported agriculture project, Tuv Ha'Aretz, will bring locally grown, organic produce to 10 communities across the country and Israel.

More information can be found about Tuv Ha'Aretz at www.hazon.org.

Leah Koenig
Tuv Ha'Aretz Coordinator at Hazon
New York, N.Y.

Read the Book

I recently read an overtly opinioned letter written by a Roz Rothstein concerning Norman Finkelstein. I would like to advise this person that in order to make educated and informed commentary, it is obligatory to read the book in question before making uninformed opinions. It was depressing to see how little scholarly attention is given and how "below-the-belt" the article was.

Karl Wiget
Via E-mail

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