January 20, 2005
Letters to the Editor
I graduated YULA Girls School in 1999, and I can personally attest to the truth of the account set forth in Julie Gruenbaum Fax's article ("Girls School Debuts New Campus," Nov. 26) that was so categorically denied by the Torah studies faculty.
First, none of my dinim classes ever included the study of rabbinic texts.
Second, when I expressed interest in attending a Modern Orthodox seminary where Talmud was part of the curriculum, every one of my Torah studies teachers expended much energy in trying to talk me into a more right-wing seminary. I refused to give in and had an invaluable experience that I would not exchange for the world.
Finally, if you, the Torah studies faculty of YULA Girls School, truly believe that you are a "community school" and that your own religious views and experiences in any way match those of your students and their families, I ask you: How many of you send your children to YULA? What message do you think this sends your students? Instead of labeling a journalist's work as slander, I suggest that you thank Julie Gruenbaum Fax for her sympathetic article. As a former student, I would not have been so generous.
UCLA Graduate Student
I'm continually puzzled by editorials like Rob Eshman's semiaccolade to Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] in your Jan. 14 edition ("One People One Vote").
What part of "Zionist enemy," the demand for a "right of return" and the desire to form a coalition with Hamas and other groups who look forward to the slaughter or expulsion of all Jews in Israel do people who consider Mazen a "moderate" fail to understand?
For the record, Gaby Wenig did not get a quote from me about my mother's (Mrs. Krygier) experience on El Al ("Fly the Mitzvah Skies," Jan. 14). Wenig must have lifted it from a personal letter that our family sent to El Al.
What chutzpah to include Mrs. Krygier's personal medical history in the article as though Wenig had permission to do so, and to include quotes as though she had personally interviewed me or any member of my family, which she never did.
Perhaps The Jewish Journal should take a class in ethics and then practice what they learn. It is wrong to make public someone's medical history without their express permission. My mother wished to keep this matter private and not for publication. It is more than disappointing that The Jewish Journal displays such poor journalistic standards.
By the way, if you chose to publish this letter to the editor, you now have my permission.
Editor's Note: The Journal used information distributed in a public press release, though without proper attributon. We regret the error.
I was very moved by Richard Gunther's article about microlending ("A Micro Solution to Macro Poverty," Jan. 14). I truly believe that this concept is brilliant and one of the most effective methods of helping people in need.
I was disappointed not to see the name of the microlending organization in which he is deeply involved, as I – along with many others, I'm sure – would very much like to support this group. Could you print the name and contact information of this organization?
Editor's note: For more information about the Grameen Foundation, U.S.A., call (202) 628-3560, ext. 112., or visit www.gfusa.org.
Thank you for highlighting the important need of the Jewish community to reach out to a new generation of donors and volunteers ("Charities Seek Ties to MTV Generation," Dec. 24).
During my tenure as the executive director of Bet Tzedek , we began working on this critical issue more than 10 years ago. Recognizing that it would be the next generation of Jewish philanthropists and volunteers who would determine the ability of our organization to continue to combat the tragedies of poverty in the 21st century, we began a concerted effort to gradually bring young people to our cause.
Bet Tzedek's "The Justice Ball" has been an unparalleled success. Under the lay leadership of the then 20-something Randall Kaplan, this event began modestly but magically by attracting close to 1,000 young people to a night of dancing and music at the House of Blues – all in support of Bet Tzedek's mission of providing free legal representation to the elderly, indigent and disabled of our community.
This critical part of the Jewish community's efforts to seek ties to the MTV generation is exactly the kind of growing success that deserves attention and support.
I am mystified by Malcolm Hoenlein's characterization of "dual loyalty" as a "baseless and bigoted idea" ("Investigation of AIPAC Crosses Line," Jan. 14).
I know people who, in the recent presidential election, made their selection on the basis of their judgement of which candidate would be better for Israel. Does this not reflect loyalty to Israel? And does not the enormous increase in time and money in support for Israeli causes reflect the same?
The main issue is not that many Jews are loyal to Israel as well as to the United States. Members of some other ethnic groups likewise have attachment to another state as well as to the U.S. The real issue seems to be the Jewish fear that American or Israeli behavior will force us to choose whichof our loyalties is stronger than the other. AIPAC's purpose is, in a sense, to ensure that we don't have to make that choice.
Barry H. Steiner
Professor of Political Science
California State University Long Beach