October 9, 2013
Letter to the Editor: Marijuana, Persians and the Oslo Accord
More on Marijuana
It can be seen by the article “Light-Up Nation” (Oct. 4) that medical marijuana is truly a science and has medical and emotional benefits. My hope is that funds will be allocated in the near future so that more research and clinical trials can be done. Why is it considered OK in the Jewish communities to partake of alcohol and, as the distributor might say, “drink responsibly,” but marijuana is still looked at in a different light? Not everyone who smokes is a “stoner,” in the classical sense of the word. There are many of us who use it responsibly and productively. The foolishness of some patients’ use should not outweigh the wondrous benefits of a product. Any product — be it tobacco, alcohol, food, pain medication — can be overused and abused. How is marijuana any different? I know there will come a time in the future when the community will open its mind to see the healing effects of cannabis.
David Perl via e-mail
The article gives many anecdotes of beneficial effects of marijuana. I believe the author should have listed some of the side effects, such as impaired cognition and increased incidence of auto accidents in users.
Dr. Stuart Goldman via e-mail
Perspective on Persian Civilization
I enjoyed reading Gina Nahai’s article “On Being Persian” (Oct. 4). However, the historical information found in her essay is incorrect regarding one issue and disputable regarding another. The Persian civilization is not “the oldest civilization known to man — one that predates Egypt’s by 500 years.” Rather, the Persians first appear in historical documents in the seventh century B.C.E., while Egyptian civilization can be traced back to the fourth millennium B.C.E., predating Persia by close to 3,000 years.
Further, Nahai refers to the Cyrus Cylinder as a “declaration of human rights,” which “states that all people captured and enslaved by the rulers before him should be allowed to return to their homelands and worship ... whichever god they please.” While Cyrus did allow the Temple vessels to be returned to Jewish authorities and the rebuilding of the Temple and the Jewish community in Judah, that these events are based on what we read in the Cyrus Cylinder is not so clear. The contents of the inscription do not clearly mandate that subject peoples are allowed to go home, but only that their gods can. The intent of the inscription is to legitimize Cyrus’ conquest of Babylon and the vast empire that came with it.
Thus, while Cyrus is viewed very positively in Jewish history for granting permission to the Jewish community to rebuild the Temple and restore Jewish life in their homeland, the contents of his cylinder do not necessarily reflect a recognition of human rights and religious freedom. Will I nevertheless go to the Getty Villa to view the Cylinder during its visit to Los Angeles? You bet.
Elaine Goodfriend, adjunct lecturer in Jewish studies CSUN, The full version of this letter is at jewishjournal.com.
On the Oslo Accords
I did not attend the American Freedom Alliance conference on “Oslo @ Twenty,” but if the Journal account (“20 Years Later, the Oslo Accord,” Oct. 4) is any indication, the lack of any support for the Oslo accords expressed at the conference means that the attendees were badly served.
Unmentioned in the article, and apparently at the conference, is the fact that the Israeli government itself has used the threat of not cooperating over that part of the Oslo accords that remain in effect to discourage independent Palestinian Authority behavior, such as statehood recognition from the United Nations. The fact is, Oslo is very much alive, especially in the minds of those working for peace. And so are the peace optimists.
Barry H. Steiner, political science professor CSULB
A Thank You From Cantor Pressman
Thank you for this (“Unafraid of Death, Cantor Offers a Philosophical Love Fest,” Oct. 4). Not sure that one of so many people facing cancer deserves such a fuss, but I am honored.
Cantor Joel Pressman via jewishjournal.com
Boyarsky’s Loss Brings Empathy
I have met Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, who is beloved by many (“Seeking Consolation,” Sept. 27). I’m glad he was a source of solace. The High Holy Days always lead me into meditation on the losses and the blessings of this life. Bill Boyarsky’s loss of his oldest daughter, Robin, is a wound I cannot imagine. In time, I hope it heals.
Linda Deutsch via jewishjournal.com
A really lovely piece, Bill. I wish I had a Chaim in my life. I think of Robin all the time, as I think about our Cindy.
Al Martinez via jewishjournal.com
An article about Cantor Joel Pressman (“Unafraid of Death, Cantor Offers a Philosophical Love Fest,” Oct. 4) mistakenly reported that a cover story on Pressman had appeared in the Beverly Hills Courier. It was the Beverly Hills Weekly that published the story.