Before pressuring rabbis to abandon their opposition to interdating, I decided to test Rob Eshman's claim that there is a shortage of Jewish men between 30 and 49 willing to marry ("Our Hindu Widows," Aug. 10).
I turned to the 2000 National Jewish Population Survey and found that the problem Eshman proposes to solve does not exist.
To begin with, equal proportions (40 percent) of Jewish men and Jewish women between the ages of 30 and 49 were not currently married in 2000, so there is no obvious shortage of men. Furthermore, it is the men, not the women, who have trouble finding a Jewish date: 43 percent of the men are currently dating as compared with 33 percent of Jewish women.
So why are fewer Jewish women in the dating pool? For one thing, Jewish women are more successful in love: 8 percent of the women were involved in a serious relationship, as compared with only 4 percent of the Jewish men. But that still leaves 53 percent of the men and 59 percent of the women who are not dating for some other reason. If rabbis are able exert any kind of influence on dating, it should be to lighten up on the career path and get out more.
Among those 30- to 49-year-olds who were dating, it turns out to be the Jewish women who are going out with non-Jews: 15 percent of Jewish men reported dating only or mostly Jews, as compared with 11 percent of Jewish women.
Moreover, when Jews between the ages of 30 and 49 do marry, it is the women who are slightly more likely to end up with a non-Jewish spouse. Thus, neither gender needs permission from rabbis or encouragement from journalists to date non-Jews. The vast majority already do.
Eshman is profoundly correct, however, when he states that the discussion of intermarriage should not be limited to the occasional opinion piece in Commentary magazine. Nor should the communal discussion of intermarriage be limited to the impact of day schools.
Children with two Jewish parents are now outnumbered by the children of intermarriages. Developing programs to deal with intermarriage should be on the communal agenda. If such programs are beyond our consensus or political will, we should at the very least understand the future impact of intermarriage on the Los Angeles Jewish community.
Bruce A. Phillips
Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Service
Hebrew Union College-
Jewish Institute of Religion
Free of Charge
Roger Pondel's accusatory letter in the pages of The Jewish Journal is wrong. I never believed when David Suissa and I determined to give our services for free to any Jewish organization which asked during the Days of Awe that I would have to defend what we see as mitzvah work at this time of year. This is not a business promotion in the guise of a mitzvah, as the accusation has been levied (Letters, Sept. 7).
For many years now, David has devoted his time as a volunteer to the Jewish community. In the capacity of running my business, I receive no less than 25 requests each week for my time from people who cannot afford my services or need advice. Among those requests are nonprofits, as well as job seekers who need guidance.
I was telling David during lunch about these requests and commented how I wanted to open up a booth on Sundays on the Venice Boardwalk, dispensing advice for free to anyone who needs it, in order to satisfy these needs. From that idea, evolved the Sept. 18 event, where he and I would consult for free for any Jewish organization which responded. So far, we have received more than 30 requests, far more than we can handle in one day, and we are considering doing this for several days.
It is too bad that there are people who will take a good deed and twist it into something suspicious and publications which will indulge these peoples' needs for hurtful and needless attacks.
A League of Its Own
How unfortunate that The Jewish Journal yet again chose a negative and sensationalistic front-line story, this one with Wohlgelernter's sensationalistic and negative opinion piece on the Israel Baseball League ("The Boychiks of Summer," Aug. 31).
If you were going to print an opinion story on the Israel Baseball League, it should have come from one of the 120 fantastic players, some of whom have already been offered subsequent baseball league contracts from other leagues around the world.
From all reports, all the players are eager to return next year, having had the experience of a lifetime. It wouldn't have been too difficult to get the real story by interviewing some of the local heroes of this league who have just returned from this amazing and unique inaugural sports startup event in Israel.
As anyone familiar with Israel knows, nothing in Israel happens easily, but the successes are sweet.
Name Withheld Upon Request
We would like to correct an inaccurate description of LimmudLA in your article regarding our Jewish Community Foundation's Cutting Edge grant ("Jewish Community Foundation Picks 'Cutting Edge' Programs," Aug. 31).
LimmudLA is indeed an innovative program which promotes learning and community building, but not across religions as stated in your article. Our focus is Jewish community building through learning and exploration (which includes art, culture, text, etc.) and transdenominational Jewish communal conversation.
We are a volunteer, grass-roots, multigenerational organization in which people from all across the Jewish community come together. Anyone interested in helping to plan or to present at the first LimmudLA, Feb. 15-18, 2008, can contact us at LimmudLA.org.
Linda Fife and Shep Rosenman
Hypocrisy. Hypocrisy. This has been the chant of liberal pundits since the odd restroom behavior of Sen. Larry Craig, Idaho Republican, came to light ("Jews Should Oppose Sen. Craig's Ouster," Aug. 7). On one talk show the other day, an anti-Republican caller nearly hyperventilated in her repetition of the H-word. This is to be expected, for sure. Many moral relativists enjoy throwing stones at the Christian right when the opportunity arises. If they didn't, they wouldn't be relativists. A relativist's purpose in life is to stick it to the godly when they slip, with the hope of wearing down society and bringing acceptance to their lifestyles.
A point of view I haven't heard represented asks the obvious question: Is Craig even a true conservative?
Sure, voting conservative is a must to get elected in Idaho. But does one's vote on the Senate floor define who a senator is at his core? Surely we have seen before politicians whose votes and actions didn't match their manufactured public image.
I do recall a president exiting church with a King James Bible large enough to slay the biggest demon, only then to deflate the nation with tales of extramarital trysts. Fortunately for President Clinton, his base was cool with it. Unfortunately for Craig, his base isn't. This call to accountability and what drives it should be the lead story.
Basic theological tenet: True Judeo-Christianity is defined by one's heart and the fruits and outward actions the heart produces. Only God can peer into the heart.
However, the condition of the heart gives way to actions that reveal insights. When one's heart leads a person astray, according to Scripture, the church must be the first to bring accountability. If Craig truly deems himself a follower of Christ but was searching for homosexual sex, either he is lying about his faith or his spiritual wiring has spiraled off the charts.
The moral relativist can feel free to coin this as a Republican issue, but it cannot be called conservative or Christian. The former describes how one is elected, the latter reflects absolutes that govern the heart.
Brian J. Goldenfeld
As a journalist, you have to know that Christiane Amanpour had to expect reaction from Jews, such as yourself, and CAMERA, that tears her to shreds, but she will certainly receive the same sort of attacks from Muslims and Christians ("God's Warriors," Aug. 31). Is it journalistic courage or stupidity?
I e-mailed that she should make a sequel describing the religious moderates who believe that all religions should promote brotherhood. However, she happens to be perfectly correct in implying that "every religion has its crazies; one is no different than the others."
It is my understanding that the ultra-Orthodox settlers have made a shrine of Baruch Goldstein's gravesite without any government interference, and as far as I am concerned, Yigal Amir's crime was so heinous that he should have been given the death penalty.
Martin J. Weisman
CNN ran a three-part series called, "God's Holy Warriors." This show was not worthy of airing.
Radical Christianity is not a threat to the world. Radical Judaism is not a threat to the world. Radical Islam is a threat to the world. Radical null tell us that they intend to take over Europe, Africa and the United States and destroy Israel.
Hitler also told the world what he would do and how he would do it. The world did not take Hitler at his word. We need to learn from our mistakes. We need to take the radical null at their word.
In Sudan, Arab Muslims are murdering Black Muslims in a genocide that must be stopped. And yet, the United Nations will not even call it a genocide, because if they do, they are mandated to stop it.
The Muslims do not want that to happen. Terrorism, beheadings and executions are being committed by radical Muslims all over the world. Not only do they attack Israel on a daily basis, but they have attacked England, France, Spain, Scotland, Denmark and the United States.
They claim it is because these countries support Israel. But what do Thailand, India, the Philippines or Sudan have to do with Israel? Nothing.
Yet the radical Muslims have attacked these countries, as well. And what do the rioters and murderers get for their brutal attacks? England has put aside freedom of speech and banned a book exposing a Muslim who has ties to terrorism from being published anywhere in the world.
Remember Hitler's book burnings? Arab countries print horrible, slanderous and violence-inciting cartoons about Jews, Christians and Americans every day in their state-run papers. But through their rioting and threats, Muslims have coerced European countries to censor their cartoons relating to the Muslim religion.
This is a glimpse of what is to come. Under Muslim law anything can be said about the unbelievers religion, but Islam is sacrosanct.
Arab children are being taught not just to hate Jews and Americans but to aspire to become a murderer of Jews by blowing themselves up. This is an abomination.
As if murdering innocent people isn't bad enough, they are taking away their own children's childhoods and sentencing them to death. Parents want their children to die.
Where are the stories on this Muslim child abuse?
European countries are giving in to Muslim demands for religious rights that would not be afforded to Jews or Christians.
Tobi Ruth Love
Since the start of the "peace process" in 1993, our Palestinian friends have organized themselves into armies, smuggled in huge supplies of weapons, inculcated their youth with virulent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda, eagerly sought the aid of Iran and Syria and Hezbollah in their crusade to destroy Israel, elected the radical Islamist group, Hamas, to govern Palestine and so on ("Help Bush," Aug. 24).
None of this matters to those who believe that the creation of a ministate called Palestine will solve all these problems, rather than exacerbate them. The fact that Olmert, Bush, Rice, Livni, Peres, and others support the creation of a Palestinian state only shows that fools head up the Israeli and American governments. Chaim Sisman
Why isn't anyone speaking about the fact that this terrible genocide was done by Muslims against Christians ("Turkey: Israel Could Suffer From Armenian Debate," Aug. 31)? This is the same jihadist phenomenon we see in Israel, America, England, France, Spain, etc.
In "Scene and Heard" (Aug. 31), speed-skating champion Sarah Lang was mistakenly referred to as 11 years old. She is 29 and has been a member of the U.S. National Short Track Speed Skating Team for 11 years.
In "Delshad Shelves Plans for Iran Divestment in Beverly Hills" (Community Briefs, Sept. 9), The Journal reported that the city of Beverly Hills would not pursue an approved Iran divestment measure. Beverly Hills is still pursuing Iran divestment plans related to city employee pensions.
However, divestment will not be an issue with the city's savings accounts, since the investments are tied to U.S. Treasury bills.
We regret the error.