November 2, 2006
Dumb Jews; Cluster bombs; Democrats and Republicans
Your headline, "Dumb Jews," is despicable (Oct. 20). Who do you think you are, Jackie Mason? With all the anti-Semitism in the world, must a leading Jewish newspaper contribute to this unwarranted criticism? There are many thousands of Jews in Los Angeles who contribute millions of dollars to various Jewish charities every year. If they do not score well on your historical test, I suggest that their money be returned to them.
Your recent cover was terribly offensive. This is the kind of picture and slogan anti-Semites have used since before Hitler. My grown children were offended and said it was displayed prominently in drug stores, markets and libraries wherever they went. I thought your previous cover about Israel's last chance was also offensive. You are creating tabloid headlines. You are insensitive to your readers and sending the wrong message to other people. So who's dumb?
Rita Murstein Wohl
The "Dumb Jews" issue of the Jewish Journal featured articles in which theologians and layman offered opinions about how to strengthen Jewish observance among the alienated Jewish masses.
Unfortunately, many of the articles lacked any credibility, and were laughable if not downright pathetic. One reason is that among the contributors were "Reform" and "Conservative" laymen and "theologians." I have no doubt that these "purveyors of non-Orthodox Jewish faith" probably were able to answer most -- if not all -- of the "Dumb Jew" questions. Yet I'd be willing to bet my last dollar that few "Reform" and "Conservative" Jews (even those who haven't intermarried) could.
I don't care how many letters you or I receive about how bigoted I am, and that I am all wrong, and that the "Reform" and "Conservative" movements are the salvation of the Jewish religion in the United States and elsewhere. The statistics speak for themselves. If the objective is to develop Jews who are "shomray mitzvot," Torah-observant Jews, the place to start is not with the "Reform" and "Conservative" movements and their authors, but with authentic Judaism as taught and practiced by Orthodox institutions -- and for The Jewish Journal to leave out articles by those who destroy rather than enhance Jewish observance.
Rabbi Samuel Cohen Morgan
Jews are not dumb, they are uneducated; their understating of Judaism is based on the shallow Hebrew school education, gastronomic nostalgia and Jackie Mason jokes.
How many Jews today can open a Talmud, study a Rashi, or even translate a verse in the Torah on their own. The Jewish world has made Jewish learning a stepchild. Take a look at the GA, happening in Los Angeles in the next weeks. Thousand of Jewish leaders are coming to town for dozens of sessions on Israel, fundraising, Jewish survival, threats to Jews, etc. There could have been a wealth of offerings on Jewish learning; instead there are just a few sessions.
There is one new program that has evolved in the last few years into a powerhouse of adult Jewish learning, Chabad's Jewish Learning Institute (JLI).
JLI has become the largest network of adult Jewish learning in the world. Ten of thousands of students attend three course offerings in over 200 locations worldwide. Each course is designed with its own textbook, PowerPoints and teacher training. Last summer, JLI launched a new innovative project, the National Jewish Retreat, where hundreds spent five days of intense learning of everything from biblical archeology to Talmud, Torah or medical ethics.
Rabbi David Eliezrie
Here's a Jewish IQ question for the editors:
If your paper, which is distributed right before Shabbat, has a quiz on Jewish IQ, you will best serve your readers by a) Publishing the answers on your Web site. The suspense of waiting for Shabbat to end so that people can see how they did will make the feature even more exciting! As an added bonus, forces people with no Internet access to finally get online.
b) Same as (a), but put the answers in a format suppressed by Web ad blockers. This really separates the knowledge-seekers from the poseurs!
c) Publishing the answers in the paper itself. Send me a self-addressed stamped envelope, and I'll let you know how you did.
I recently visited Studio City and stayed at the Days Inn in Studio City where I picked up a copy of The Jewish Journal. I read the article about Dumb Jews and took the quiz entitled "What's Your Jewish I.Q." I took the article home to Idaho with me and when I remembered to look online, I could not find the answers to the quiz online as indicated in The Journal. I would like to check my answers to see if I am a dumb Jew.
Please tell me how I can find the answers you have decided upon for the quiz. My sources might have something different.
We were saddened by your cover story "Dumb Jews" (Oct. 20) and the described gap in Jewish literacy. Fortunately, the Bureau of Jewish Education with the support of the Jewish Federation has just launched a new easy portal to Jewish literacy. Members of the LA Jewish community can now log on to this new Website at www.myjewishresource.org and connect to an updated listing of Jewish online and in-person learning opportunities for families, teens, young adults and adults, throughout Los Angeles and at all levels of knowledge or intensity.
Susan Jacoby Stern
The Bureau of Jewish Education
Miriam Prum Hess
Director Day School Operational Services
The Bureau of Jewish Education and Vice President
The Jewish Federation
Note: The answers and quiz are still online at jewishjournal.com/home/quiz. Or, call us at (213) 368-1661, ext. 201 for help.
I was mortified when I learned of Israel's use of these weapons, which to me is unforgivable despite my deepest love for the state and Zionism ("Cluster Silence," Oct. 27). Your saying as much so publicly is a bold and courageous move, and I support and applaud you, as embarrassed and distressed as I am by the fact of it.