June 9, 2005
One of the Best
I want to congratulate Danielle [Magady's] family for finding an educator who really knows his business ("One of the Girls," June 3).
Rabbi Shlomo Goldberg has hit the nail on the head when he says he is "less concerned with how much they [his students] know than with what kind of people they'll be."
Parents and educators should all realize that the fundamental objective of educating young people is getting them ready to work with other people in their community and to be menches. Without this, all the rest of their knowledge is just facts that they can get in the library or on the Internet.
While Jewish World Watch (JWW) was founded and incubated at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS), it does not remain, as was mistakenly reported in the aforementioned article, an organization of VBS ("Sudan Support Marks Memorial Day," June 2).
In fact, JWW has 16 synagogue members, each of which synagogue has paid from $500 to $1,500 to join the organization and help underwrite its expenses.
Each of the member synagogues has embraced the mission of JWW and has engaged its membership in that mission. The mission of JWW, as adopted by its Governing Council on Feb. 14, 2005, is to mobilize the synagogue community to combat genocide and other egregious violations of human rights around the world.
Jewish World Watch
Prayers for Darfur
While I was happy to see your coverage of the Jewish World Watch Darfur programs, I was disappointed that your reporter completely neglected any mention of the incredibly moving and powerful evening that took place at our synagogue, the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center ("Pray for the Innocent of Darfur," May 20).
We had more than 180 people, which included a broad interfaith coalition, with local ministers participating. The program featured Craig Taubman, who brought not only his energy and spirit, but also brought an Ethiopian singer named Alula Tzaddik, who began the program with Hebrew/African chanting and added his voice and spirit throughout the entire evening.
We ended with all of us arm in arm, together around the steps of our bimah, singing and swaying, with many people in tears.
I hope that future reporting will make sure to include the entire story. We worked hard to make our event a success, which it was, and your readers deserve to know that.
Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater
Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center
It was very disappointing to read Carole Davis' article on the Shabbat dinner in Cannes ("Project Shabbat a 'Go' In Cannes," May 27).
In some portions she attempted to convey the good will and feelings of the participants.
However, she was unable to hide her contempt for hardworking people in the film business (or "desperate show biz climbers" as she so charitably describe them).
Of course, it's very easy for her to sit on her elitist throne of good taste and cast stones at those who deign to make a living creating films for popular consumption. Why does she find it so incredible that many (probably most) attendees do not view the films in competition?
Cannes is not just a festival -- it is also a market, a convention of film buyers and sellers. If she could get past your na?ve impressions of the film business -- it is a business -- she would see that.
As the "banker" (although I am not a banker, just one of many of the well-checked "facts") in her article, I easily noticed her disdain for commercial films.
As our conversation proceeded and the condescension was oozing from her pores, I specifically asked her to put aside her own personal tastes and attempt to write an objective article to capture the spirit of the evening. I obviously failed in my attempt.
The letters responding to your "Jewish Festivals of Yore" note both the current divisiveness and laissez-faire approach of most of the American Jewish community to Israel, their Jewishness and a sad lack of understanding of Jewish history ("Letters," June 3).
Anti-Semitism does not arise because of any particular action, or even the existence of the State of Israel. Arabs in British Palestine massacred hundreds of Jews in the 1920s and 1930s, before there was a Jewish State. The Nazis killed 6 million Jews, simply because they were Jews.
"Anti-Zionism" and "anti-Israel" are just the current, politically correct terms for "hate/kill the Jews." Jews who dissociate themselves from Israel provide themselves no benefit, for the anti-Semites will define them as Jews -- just as was done in Nazi Germany.
Amos Oz summed it up well: "In the 1930s, our enemies said: Jews to Palestine. Now they say: Jews out of Palestine. They do not want us here. They don't want us to be there. They just don't want us to be."
Where Is the Coverage?
Having just finished reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about the massive anti-Semitism in European media, I find it sad and disturbing that The Journal is aggressively seeking to undermine American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an organization working to protect all Jews ("AIPAC -- Let the Sun Shine In," June 3). Anyone following the attacks on Jews throughout the world might want to acknowledge that the post-Holocaust golden age of acceptance and naivety for Jews maybe coming to an end. Ignoring what is happening to our brothers in Europe while being concerned about how liberal we can be in shul will not make our children or our way of life any safer.
The world has changed and many of us are choosing to deny what is happening. How many articles have been published in The Journal about the problems of Jews in France, Britain or the daily anti-Semitism in the European media? Why is there so little concern about the media coverage around the world that vilifies Israel and Jews, and so much judgment about Jews who are on the other side of the political spectrum? Might it be time to consider that Jews are once again being judged by a different standard and that being Jewish might expose us to some different treatment or even danger. Are we so insulated here that we have lost touch to the undertones being expressed in media bylines -- including our local paper?
Articles that attack organizations working to protect Jews and Israel while at the same time giving minuscule coverage to the new reality of the increased risks of anti-Semitism tell me that history's lessons are again being overlooked by far too many in our community.