December 1, 2005
It is not only American Jewry but younger Israelis, particularly, who are not aware of the sacrifice many North Americans made for Israel ("The Americans Who Fought for Israel," Nov. 18). Sabras take the state for granted; it was in existence when they were born.
It was, therefore, most gratifying to read your feature and to see the quote by my late brother, Ralph Moster, who on his own initiative left the comfort and security of home in Vancouver, because of his conviction that the history of World War II destruction of the Jewish people must not be repeated. He was determined to go to Palestine and aid his people in their struggle for a homeland of their own and, above all, for a place of freedom from persecution.
When he first arrived, the Jews had no planes, and he fought in an armored unit of the Palmach, soon acquiring a name for efficiency and resourcefulness. When the Israeli air force was established, he became one of its ablest pilots.
Appointed commander of a squadron in the Negev and the Tel Aviv area, he arranged bombing raids at night, going to Tel Aviv each day to plan them. In the Negev, whenever Israeli planes flew overhead, the Palmach boys would point and say, "There goes Ralph."
In recognition of his exceptional service, he was promoted to officer in charge of Tel Aviv Flying Field, with the rank of major.
On the day of the opening of a key road, when supplies could finally reach a beleaguered Jerusalem, Ralph was asked to do a flyover during the celebration. But he had committed himself to testing a new type of naval plane. There was a malfunction, and it crashed in the Kinneret.
Buried in Givatayim, he remains in his beloved Israel.
Steven Rosen's Oct 21 article ('Protocols' Exposes Ugly Legacy) prompts me to write this letter. My friendships, both U.S. and European, tend to gravitate to other Jews, so I was shocked to hear non-Jewish acquaintances (both American and European) remark matter-of-factly on several occasions (the most recent being yesterday) that no Jews died in the Trade Towers.
Hearing otherwise well-educated people spout this story makes me feel as if I have been living with a false sense of the firmness of the earth beneath me.
I am curious what percentage of the non-Jewish public, both in the U.S. and in the world, believe this story and just how tenuous is our safety as Jews in this world? I also wonder what I should say when confronted with this blatantly anti-Semitic remark.
The Hillel Connection
It was wonderful to see Jewish college students, many active in their campus Hillel, featured prominently in your Nov. 18 edition ("How They Choose to Be Jews").
Many parents and Hillel professionals are grappling with strategies and methods to connect young people to Jewish life on campus and in their community. Los Angeles Hillel Council (LAHC) offers three avenues for parents interested in their children/students connecting with Jewish life.
The FACETS Conference and college fair help parents and students find the edge they need to get into the university of their dreams, as well access Jewish life on campus. One father who attended with his first two children told us that he is anxious to attend again with his third child, who will be graduating high school next year. The FACETS Conference will be held Sunday, March 19, 2006, at the UJ.
LAHC's Freshman Transition Network connects L.A. graduating high school seniors to the Hillel on their future college campus.
Finally, anyone concerned with the rising cost of tuition should visit our Web site at www.lahillel.org and click on financial aid. There you will find our guide to Jewish scholarship opportunities for students attending schools around the world.
Director of Engagement and Regional Programs
Los Angeles Hillel Council
As an Orthodox Jew who grew up on the north shore of Massachusetts in the 1950s, constantly harangued, harassed, sermonized to by Christians and assaulted for my being a Jew, my views are conservative. I have no innerspace for liberalism and placating people for the sake of making everyone have fuzzy and warm happy feelings. I don't care for sacrificing my values for the sake of being trendy or politically correct.
Therefore, your allowing platforms for Muslim perspectives with peace-loving aspirations and rosy endings, in stark contradiction with bitter and violent realities, and your advertisements of Christian books and stories about Jesus are offensive and an unwelcome addition into my home and heart ("Rice Weaves Rich Tale of a Young Jesus," Nov. 25).
I believe that your paper has dramatically evolved over the last few years in a way most contradictory to Jewish readers' desires to bask in and absorb strictly Jewish themes and perspectives, and will thus serve to alienate those who are unlike you, those who are riding on the same wave, sharing the same dreams as the other liberals who gnaw away at Jewish essence under the guise of fairness and open-mindedness.
There may be a time when the name of your journal will have to change in order to accurately reflect who and what you stand for.
Rabbi Harold Schulweis is right. Interfaith dialogue can bring change (Interfaith Dialogue Can Bring Change," Nov. 25). However, the Jews and Israel are under constant attack by organizations such as the Christian Peacemaker Team, Sabeel and the mainline Christians who follow the World Church of Christ (WCC).
Recently in Portland, the WCC declared the security fence in Israel unjust and that divestment was a way of showing solidarity for the Palestinians. However, this was done without any mention of terrorism, or why the fence was put up in the first place.
As with Yasser Arafat, in order to have dialogue, we need partners. While Israel is busy rerouting the fence, no mention in these dialogues has been the responsibility of the Palestinians, by their leaders to stop terror.
Israel cannot always be the one giving things away, and talking is not stopping hatred, incitement or the promises of paradise by killing Jews.
Allyson Rowen Taylor
American Jewish Congress
Not Fulfilling Role
The Sfas Emes says, "It is beautiful to take part in one's traditions, to rejoice with family and friends, to feel pride in one's people. With pride must come a deeper understanding of the true essence...."
In this current issue of The Journal, you focus on a very few Chasidim who "explore" outside, implying a bad view of observant Jews; you, unbelievably, give much attention to a book that celebrates the life of the founder of Christianity, and you waste ink on dicey novels ("Rice Weaves Rich Tale of a Young Jesus," Nov. 25).
As the Jewish(?) newspaper of Los Angeles, one would hope that you would feel pride in your people, but you consistently do the opposite. Sadly, you probably feel that your view is the proper one to foist on the rest of us. And I'm sure you get letters from unaware Jews who just love your paper.
But The Journal is so distortingly unrepresentative of the real Jewish communities of Los Angeles that most conscious Jews don't even look at it because it upsets them too much.
When will you honestly endeavor to come to a deeper understanding of the true essence? And I don't mean your self-righteous pomposity about issues crucial to the Jewish people.
To really learn, to really begin to understand, it takes some humility and a willingness to see that maybe you really don't know everything. With all the mess that you printed in this issue and others you could have made valuable and significant contributions to uplifting and educating the Jewish community.
Why don't you really make an effort to consult and include the observant and more conscious Jews of Los Angeles in your pages? Are you unaware that the great rabbis, such as the Sfas Emes quoted above, actually can make excellent statements of depth and meaning relevant to all Jews and all people?
It is heart-wrenching to witness the paper for the third-largest Jewish community in the world continue to do such demeaning, degrading and insulting work. The next time you decide what to write about, reflect on the impression it will make on all the teenagers, elders, survivors, observant, secular and other Jewish people. And please consider that your point of view just might not match the wisdom of the great rabbis like the Sfas Emes, Aryeh Kaplan, Abraham Heschel, Reb Nachman of Breslov, the Tanya, Rav Mordechai Elon, the Tanach.
Is there really any shortage of brilliance here? And yet, your editors/writers and some of your readers either don't know or couldn't care less. Meanwhile, 10,000 Jews from Gaza are homeless with no jobs and no future, but that subject is not "fit" for your pages.
You really need to consider the serious responsibility you have and begin to live up to it in a more substantial, meaningful and respectful way. We, as a people, did not come through 4,000 years to have the current Journal staff disgrace and misguide the Jewish community of Los Angeles.
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