July 19, 2011
Letters to the editor: Boyle Heights, Steve Zimmer, circumcision
Boyle Heights Reflections
Thank you for Tom Tugend’s nostalgic article on Boyle Heights (“The Nickel Pickle,” July 15).
Although I was born in Boyle Heights in 1928, we moved away to “upscale West Adams” when I was a few years old. However, I so well remember the Depression-era Disneyland-like feeling every Friday as we returned to Boyle Heights to shop. All along Brooklyn Avenue (now César Chávez Avenue) were the most delightful sights and smells of butcher shops with their live chickens, delicacy shops with barrels of pickles, bakeries with all of their goodies, and, of course, Canters Delicatessen. Yiddish was spoken all along the crowded avenue as old friends encountered one another.
And oh how well I recall the delicious scents in our car on the way home — salami, rye bread, white fish and one or more freshly slaughtered and still-warm chickens.
Martin A. Brower
Corona del Mar
Reading Tom Tugend’s article on Boyle Heights brought back some deeply rooted and heart-warming memories. I was greatly influenced by David and Mina Yaroslavsky, who were the heart and soul of Boyle Heights. When I first arrived in Los Angeles from England, I enrolled at L.A. City College and in professor Yaroslavsky’s Hebrew classes. My Hebrew-language skills may have benefited, albeit slightly, but the greatest benefit was to me personally. She invited me to her house more times than I can count, and treated me almost like a second son. I had no family here, but David and Mina provided the closest thing to family that I could have wished for. Sadly, she passed away far too soon. I named my first-born daughter Mina in her memory. She was truly “A Woman of Valor.”
She deserves an article all to herself.
Leadership Education of Steve Zimmer
We at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles were proud to read about Los Angeles Unified School Board Member Steve Zimmer’s efforts to give all public school students in Los Angeles the opportunity “to have excellence” (“The Education of LAUSD’s Steve Zimmer,” July 8).
We are also proud that Steve is a graduate of our Federation’s New Leaders Project — a program in which emerging Jewish leaders gain the skills and connections to build a better Los Angeles.
Steve’s passion and efforts exemplify our Federation’s commitment to ensuring a strong Jewish future and the well-being of our city.
President, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles
Co-Founder and Chair, New Leaders Project
With Eshman at Helm, Journal Shines
I want to commend you for providing your readers with such exceptional commentary. I have discovered your paper via Marty Kaplan’s column and will now seek you out as a source of challenging journalism.
Just who is this self-appointed judge, Paul Jeser, who has personally decided who should be in charge of The Jewish Journal (advertorial, July 1)? Apparently, it is someone with a lot of audacity, as well as enough cash to buy half-a-page worth of The Jewish Journal.
As for you, Mr. Eshman, I feel privileged to have the opportunity each week to be the recipient of your brilliant editorials. I have made a collection of some of them. Framed on my kitchen wall is my favorite motto, penned by you Nov. 10, 2006 (“Size Matters”):
“The mission of Jews is not just to make more Jews, not just to beat back anti-Semitism, not even to save Israel from its enemies or from itself. Those are all projects we undertake in order to fulfill our real mission, our purpose as Jews. That purpose is to improve the world.”
How fortunate I feel to have access to your inspired articles, and how grateful that you are in charge of what has become one of the best journals in this town.
Better Late Than Never
I was requested to perform a post-mortem circumcision on a 63-year-old Russian immigrant. After the circumcision in the mortuary, it occurred to me that it so sad that the deceased did not avail himself, while he was alive, to have a bris (ritual circumcision) that we usually perform with music, festivities and celebrations. May I suggest to the living to grab, while they can, the opportunity to have a live bris.
Rabbi Jacob Shechet
Prager Intellectually Dishonest?
Dennis Prager must have a very low opinion of The Journal’s readers’ intelligence (“Maybe San Francisco Will Wake Jews Up,” July 8). We have come to expect, and mostly dismiss, his diatribes attributing the world’s ills to evil liberals, however he might define them, but it is disturbing when he engages in intellectual dishonesty. It has been many years ago that I read Arthur Koestler’s “Darkness at Noon,” but for Prager to equate Koestler’s description of a venal communist system to liberals is ludicrous! Perhaps if Mr. Prager had lived under communism in Hungary as I have, he might be a little more judicious in his oft repeated and tiresome screeds. Well, at least San Francisco can rest easy; Dennis will not likely take up residence in their fair city any time soon.
In the July 15 cover story, “On the Road to Renewal, Shul Gets Multipurpose Life,” the top photo on Page 16 should have been credited to The Breed Street Shul Project.
In the same article, Ellen Sanchez was incorrectly listed at the director of Peace Over Violence. Sanchez is the director of Healthy Communities at Peace Over Violence and is heading up the Breed Street Shul Project. Patti Giggans is the executive director of Peace Over Violence.