I am a 19-year-old Orthodox Jewish male, and I have come to a crossroads. People ask me what profession I want to pursue, as well as my aspirations in life. My response, said with the utmost sincerity and seriousness, has always been, "I want to be the president of the United States of America."
Unfortunately, my response has always been the vehicle of someone else's laughter. But I have always kept my head held high and believed that America is truly the land of freedom. The words "all men are created equal" are to me this nation's most significant and powerful words. And it is due to the hard work of our forefathers, all the way down to our generation, that these words are firmly upheld.
One of the most beautiful acts of those words took place when Joseph Lieberman was selected as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. I was overjoyed because now, the citizens of America have taken the ultimate step to break the barrier between Jews and the rest of the nation.
Now that America is open to a Jew taking a leading office, I feel I too can become heavily involved and make this country as great as it can be.
Now I know the next time I tell someone that I aspire to be the president of the United States of America, I will no longer be laughed at. Rather, I will accept a handshake of approval and a wish for good luck in my campaign.
Lou Shapp, Woodland Hills
For those of use who are both Torah Jews and Republicans, Vice President Al Gore's nomination of Sen. Joseph Lieberman presents a unique dilemma.
Indeed, Lieberman is called the conscience of the Congress, perhaps the only congressman beyond moral reproach. On many of today's issues alone, such as school choice, one could not ask for a better man than Lieberman. Even Republicans must salute Gore for making morality a priority over demographic expediency.
However, Lieberman represents just one man in a political party that does not best represent true Torah values. In timely issues, such as a strong, united Jewish State of Israel; abortion; gay rights; the death penalty; social justice through volunteerism; school choice; traditional values; lower taxes; personal responsibility and a strong military, it is the GOP who is far more consistent with Torah values than the Democratic Party.
The choice would be easy if not for this unique event in history, the nomination of a Torah Jew to the second-highest office in the land. What a pleasant dilemma, having two good choices rather than the usual choosing of the lesser of two evils.
Raymond Blum, Los Angeles
All the articles and letters gushing over the alleged integrity and good character of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who claims to be an Orthodox Jew, led me to wonder why photos show that he wears no kippah nor tzitzit in public and how it is that he touches and even embraces women - as politicians are wont to do unless they are Orthodox Jews.
Indeed, how can Lieberman hold himself out as a Democrat when he espouses privatization of Social Security and school vouchers - which only the middle class and the rich can afford - advocates increasing an already bloated military budget long, long after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Communism and even opposes affirmative action - all principles and concepts that reflect traditional Republican values.
Hugh R. Manes, Los Angeles
In response to the letters (Aug. 11) about my article ("A Delegate's Guide to Jewish Downtown," Aug. 4), I want to thank those who took the time to send in their additions and comments. I was asked to prepare a self-guided tour itinerary similar to those I've been guiding on Jewish Historical Society bus tours since 1983 - and there are many more I could have added, but I had to keep it to 12 sites in the downtown area.To be sure, neither the Breed Street Shul in Boyle Heights nor Wilshire Boulevard Temple - let alone Fairfax - are really downtown. Dean Lewis Barth's suggestion of the Hebrew Union College campus next to USC should have been listed too if any of the above were - but we do not pass HUC (nor anything west of Fairfax) on our monthly bus tours. We focus on historical sites on the tour - and, of course, Wilshire Boulevard Temple is a historic and current landmark of our community. And how can we not suggest that visitors to L.A. go as far west as La Brea and Fairfax avenues?
One mistake for which I apologize was listing the 1902-1910 Carroll Avenue site of Kaspare Cohn Hospital (now Cedars-Sinai) at 1335 Carroll Ave. The correct address is 1441-1443 Carroll Ave., and is well worth the visit.
Jerry Freedman Habush, Van Nuys
Your photograph of the President and me was taken at the Rancho Park Public Golf Course, not at the magnificent Riviera Country Club as reported (Aug 18, page 6). We paid the full green fee of $25 each, and the course remained open during the round.
The President loved it, the public loved it and one of America's great golf courses (public or private) received its well-deserved glory.
Steve Soboroff, L.A. Parks CommissionerCandidate for Mayor
In the Aug. 18 issue, the photograph of Clinton at Sony Pictures Studios on page 7 was improperly credited to KRT. The photo was by Joe Shalmoni.