July 27, 2006
Letters to the Editor
War Is Not the Answer
To the well-meaning Rachel Ben Dor and like-minded people who think war is not the answer ("War Is Not the Answer," July 21), consider this: On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese raided our naval base at Pearl Harbor.
I remember the date because it was just before my 15th birthday. The response of the United States to this one attack was to make all-out war on the Japanese, destroying their infrastructure (to say the least!). It culminated with dropping atomic bombs on two Japanese cities. Was this an overreaction? Should there have been a cease-fire negotiated between the parties and a diplomatic solution sought (such as the infamous Munich agreement of 1938)? Maybe we could have avoided war by ceding the Philippines to Japan.
I couldn't agree more with Rachel Ben Dor's "War Is Not the Answer" in your July 21 issue. Israel should no more want to fight fanatical enemies for whom beheading captives and blowing up buses full of children is the highest expression of idealism than the Allies should have fought the equally peaceful Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Rabbi Josh Grater
How ironic that in an issue of your paper where the supporters of Rabbi Jacob Pressman placed a full page response to the ad hominem attack on him by a purported Orthodox Jew, and in which the concepts of lashon hara, bearing false witness and other violations of Jewish law were explained, Rabbi Grater chose to use his Torah Portion to call President Bush a liar and mount a political attack. He already did that in his letter to the editor -- but he nonetheless decided that a double hit in a single issue was needed. You have several sections devoted to op-ed type pieces.
The fact that WMD were not located does not mean that Bush knew that at the time we invaded. In fact Colin Powell has made the case clearly that faulty evidence may have been used. That does not a liar make...
At a time when our future as a nation is at stake we need to be loyal and grateful to our friends. And the page devoted to Torah should not be used to advance political agendas. There are several important and inspiring themes in the portion that could have been chosen instead and which would not have been offensive.
Ed. Note: Rabbi Joshua Grater's letter was written and received before Hezbollah attacks provoked an Israeli response. We regret the confusion.
Thank you for the cover picture of the Israeli soldiers praying (July 21). It was your best yet. Even Rob Eshman's column was positive. I hope the trend will continue.
Last week (July 21), the Jewish Republicans sponsored a full-page ad in The Jewish Journal lauding and thanking George Bush for his support of Israel. They ought to be ashamed.
Support for Israel transcends party politics. We all stand together in our efforts to insure that Israel will survive. To reduce our solidarity of opportunistic party politics is sleazy. As they did after Sept. 11, Republicans are taking an issue about which we should stand together and dividing us into camps, politicizing what should be a cause that unifies all of us.
We Americans, Jew and gentile, Republican and Democrat, stand with Israel. Let us not weaken this support by promoting fragmentation.
Dr. Allan Pogrund
Ha'Am at UCLA
This past week I came across Julie Gruenbaum-Fax's article of June 30 and caught mention of her work at Ha'Am, UCLA's Jewish newsmagazine ("It's Personal, It's Family and It's Me").
I was saddened, although not entirely surprised to see her refer to the publication as dormant. In May 2003, The Jewish Journal printed an article announcing the return of Ha'Am to print after four years on the Internet alone. Now, three years later, the mission of Ha'Am remains the same, to allow for a Jewish student voice on campus, but dwindling student interest and a decreasing advertising base coupled with budget cuts experienced by UCLA's student media has made it increasingly difficult to go to print. However, with the continued dedication of a small, but hardworking staff, Ha'Am has kept its place on campus and is certainly not extinct.
Hopefully, a continued following and support of the campus and Los Angeles Jewish communities will help Ha'Am back to its former glory at UCLA.
Los Angeles Apartheid
Apartheid is alive and well at Sinai Temple. As a 38-year-old woman, it is unsettling to know that in less than a year I will no longer be welcome at Friday Night Live. The sweet little 23-year-old bouncers manning the door at the "ATID Lounge" are certainly only pawns at the hands of Sinai's "Leadership" committee. I was surprised that they were not asking for identification cards at the entrance.
Since Rabbi [David] Wolpe and Craig Taubman are certainly over 39, I'm wondering why they are still running the service.
You might answer me by saying that the 20-something women were tired of being "hit on" by 50-year-old men, and action needed to be taken. We have all been approached by those we are not interested in, and dealing with that is part of growing up.
It is horrifying to me that such a policy of exclusion is accepted in the L.A. Jewish community
Separate but equal was abolished by the government, but it apparently is being encouraged in Westwood.
Name held on Request
It is unfortunate that Laura Birnbaum's friends have had to experience discrimination from a people whose religion they have fallen in love with ("Converts' Hardships Expose Truth," July 7) . It is, however, somewhat comforting to know that this is not an attitude that is common across the board and that there are people who are ready to embrace newcomers to our religion with love and encouragement.