December 15, 2005
Your article on "A Single Problem" described my sitation as an intellgient single woman very accurately (Dec. 9). However, you only begin to touch upon the problem with Jewish men. In my experience, men say they would like a smart woman, but, in reality, do not. I find most men don't really know what do to with an intelligent woman. I can tell you endless stories of dates where the lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc. did not have one intelligent word come out of their mouths. I am also very Jewish -- I cannot wait until I have a family I can make Shabbat dinner for. Men don't seem to be very interested in that either. I am not tall; I am not blonde. But, if I have to go on what the e-mails in my JDate account tell me, I am attractive. I am independent, make more money than most of the men I date, have my priorities straight and can fix things around the house (another skill I find most Jewish men lacking in). Did I mention I cook, too? I am all of the things men say they want, and then, when I am standing in front of them, they don't know what do to.
I am 34, and yes, I feel my biological clock ticking. It absolutely pains me to say this, but I am starting to think I might have to have a child on my own or look for someone outside of my faith. I still have hope of finding my beshert, but that hope is dwindling.
Name Withheld by Request
The problem is, I know far more wonderful Jewish single women than men," you wrote in your Dec. 9 editorial. "And this is all they want: a nice, eligible Jewish guy in his late 30s or 40s.... Such a creature is as rare as a Narnian Efreet."
Hah! I'm such a creature, and I'm right here. Successful in my business, good sense of humor and not too bad to look at (my face doesn't frighten small animals or anything). Raised Conservative, not terribly observant at the moment. Likes books, bicycling and Beatles. Not bad at smooching, or so I've been told. Faults? A few, but not anything I'd discuss in a family newspaper.
Narnian Efreet, my eye. (Both of which are blue, by the way.)
High praise should be given to Elizabeth Chase, "The Swastika in My Binder," for her understanding of the urgent need never to forget the Holocaust from 60 years ago.
Recently, as a physician seeing patients, I experienced a similar incident observing a swastika on the wall at one of the hospitals. Immediately after notifying the CEO, it was removed. However, the revolting disgust of this "hate crime" yes, even 60 years later, is very relevant and very real. It is said -- if history is forgotten then we are doomed to repeat it.
Dr. Martin Hauptschein
Seldom have I read a more relevant essay regarding "holidays" than your article, "Thanks for Everything" (Nov. 25).
Not many of us have the courage and the erudition to reflect on all the historical facts surrounding a holiday or celebration. It is time that we recognize that no nation, ethnic group, or religious body can boast of an unblemished past. Invariably, it comes down to the survival of the group -- whoever has the greater power, wealth, weapons or knowledge is going to outlast and celebrate.
How helpful it would be to teach our future generations the many aspects of historical events. It would certainly promote open-mindedness, and possibly even humility. Acceptance of our own wrongdoings might enable us to tolerate the shortcomings of others.
Going one step further, if we as teachers, parents or other significant adults would openly share and admit our past failures to our children, we would help them to better deal with their own defeats. As human beings, we are fallible, even more so as a community. How refreshing it would be if children all over the world were taught to examine history from many points of view. It would help to alleviate chauvinism, and finally bring about the peace for which we all so fervently pray.
Above the 'Bodice'
While I appreciate the positive review of my novel, "The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell," by Keren Engelberg, I must set the record straight ("No Religious Bias in Racy "Bodice Ripper," Nov. 25). I don't write romance novels unless by the term you include all love stories. I don't know much about "bodice rippers," but my impression is the designation implies books written fast and to formula. William Morow/HarperCollins calls my books literary fiction. My first novel, "The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc," was a 2002 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, along with "Lovely Bones" and "Life of Pi." However, because I work hard to make my books easy to read, witty, and page-turners -- OK, they're pretty steamy, too -- romance readers snap them up. "Sissy" was a national best seller.
I grew up Jewish in the Bible Belt. Our house had white columns out front and bullet holes in my bedroom wall courtesy of a vigilante gang who tired to run the family out of town. Far from writing to a formula, I wrote "The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell" about the life of the only Jewish family in a small town (my family) during the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.
I am thankful for your having chosen to publish my opinion column titled, "Orthodoxy Has Chance to Reshape Role" (Dec. 9).
I implore you however, to clarify for your readers that the omission of the title "Rabbi" in the references to Rabbi Soloveitchik, was your editorial decision. Neither I, nor any student of Yeshiva University, would ever refer to our teacher Rabbi Soloveitchik without his proper title. In fact, we usually simply refer to him with the super-honorific, "the Rov." Thank you for publishing this clarification.
Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky
As a longtime reader of the Jewish Journal, I was very disappointed to find such a biased cover article as Joel Kotkin's "Hol(l)ywood -- L.A. Undergoes a Religious Renaissance" (Dec. 9).
For example, he writes that "liberal commitment to secularism is reflected in the anti-religious jihads conducted by groups like the ACLU." Comparing the ACLU's legal struggle for a separation of state and church (according to the principles of the U.S. Constitution) to a jihad, i.e. religious warfare that cost hundreds of thousands of lives, is nothing short of chutzpah.
In sum, Kotkin might have had the best of intentions, but even in the City of Angels, they often lead straight to hell.
Could it be that the separation of Jews into different religions creates the problem? If as Rob Eshman claims that Reform/Conservative women are very eager to live a true Jewish life then it might help to place the following ad in the newspaper: "Jewish woman, 20 years old, raised Reform/Conservative seeks opportunity to learn more about authentic Torah Judaism for the purpose of marrying a Jewish young man compatible with my goals."
I was very impressed with "The Swastika in My Binder" article written in the Tribe section of The Journal (Dec. 2) by Elizabeth Chase.
It goes without saying that I would agree with Chase. All too unfortunately, hate exists everywhere -- in all its ugliness -- and it should never go unremembered.
A Bris Is Bad
Caleb Ben-David's article, "Snip Judgment," understandably attempts to defuse the growing trend, making headway even among Jews, to not circumcise (Dec. 9). After all, what self-identified Jew wants to see a practice so associated with Judaism rejected. Unfortunately, the reality is that circumcision has negative consequences.
The foreskin serves a function. It protects the head of the penis, keeping it more sensitive. The circumcised penis has more layers of skin to protect it since it has no foreskin, thus reducing its sensitivity. More important, circumcisions result in the amputation of much or even all of the frenulum. The frenulum is sensual, nerve-rich tissue. The parent who has his son circumcised deprives his child of many very pleasurable sexual sensations that can never be recovered.
It is time for Jews to rethink circumcision. While tradition is important, tradition for its own sake is meaningless. Outside of the Orthodox, few Jews today really believe that God commanded Jews to circumcise. Most Jews do not practice the other rituals. It makes no sense to reject most other practices, yet insist on cutting one's son's' genitals (thereby reducing his capacity for sexual pleasure) simply because it is a Jewish practice.
Stephen D. Jerome
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