March 7, 2013
Letters to the Editor: Oscars, LimmudLA, Prager
Where Were the Female Comedians?
As a working lawyer and a practicing comic, I have to remark at the irony that on the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s groundbreaking “The Feminine Mystique” (“‘All That I Am I will Not Deny,’” March 1), David Suissa (“Jews Can’t Take Love,” March 1) mentioned 21 male comics (the Marx Brothers were four) and only two female comics. I’m sure Mr. Suissa could have Googled for more female names if he wanted to present a more balanced census in 5773/2013.
What about Molly Goldberg, Fanny Brice, Joan Rivers, Totie Fields, Phyllis Diller, Elaine Boosler, Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, Rita Rudner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Sandra Bernhard, Laraine Newman and Chelsea Handler to name just a few off the top of my head….
The Many Virtues of LimmudLA
As someone who first discovered LimmudLA back in 2009, I can’t begin to express how that first conference and my subsequent involvement in various committees have shaped the course of my life (“LimmudLA Reboots — Minus Staff, 2013 Conference,” March 1). Although the conference, learning and volunteering are the cornerstones of the Limmud experience, the benefits and impact of one’s involvement after the conference are far greater. At its core, LimmudLA has always been about building community and empowering the individual. It’s never been about the staff. It’s about creating a diverse community of Jews from all ages and backgrounds who are excited about exploring their Jewish identity and are encouraged to take a step out of their comfort zone and take another step along their Jewish journey.
Similarly, LimmudLA’s next endeavor, Fest, is just another steppingstone in that growth process that started back in 2008. I’m positive that the incredible volunteer-led community and leadership will turn this next chapter into a tremendous success. And I’m thrilled that I’ll be back from Israel at that time so I’ll actually be able to attend and present!
Self-Esteem and Academia
I find Dennis Prager’s column on “Self-Esteem” (March 1) very interesting. In support of his argument, he cites Jennifer Crocker, now a social psychology professor with Ohio State University; Roy Baumeister, social psychology professor with Florida State University; and Nicholas Emler, social psychology professor with the University of Surrey. Yet at every opportunity, Mr. Prager castigates those in higher education and ridicules a college education generally. You simply can’t have it both ways, Mr. Prager.
Dennis Prager responds: Having written and spoken about the absurdity of the self-esteem movement for 25 years, I needed no academic studies to make my case. I cited all these academic studies for people like Martin Kodish, for whom experience, rational argument and common sense are insufficient — especially when argued by a conservative.
It Was a Joke — Lighten Up!
I am a sick and tired when someone in the national spotlight says that Jews own Hollywood (“Jews Can’t Take Love,” “Oscar’s Big Jewish Joke,” March 1). I wasn’t angry at Seth MacFarlane, but at those who go crazy and claim anti-Semitism. It was a joke! We have to learn to laugh at ourselves or we’ll be grouped with the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who play the race card. I was not offended at all when Ted poked fun that Mark Wahlberg wasn’t Jewish. (Did you hear Spielberg or Katzenberg go public to denounce these comments?) The more that groups that make their living on the anti-Semitism card, come out and denounce these types of comments, the more publicity they get. I think we have to lighten up a little.
Inspired by Neal
“Neal’s Prayer” (Feb. 8) was superb and got right to the point on Jewish disability. It rates a standing ovation. I’m a person with cerebral palsy and significant speech difficulty. The poem really resonated with me.
In the early 1980s, I was on the Commission on Jews With Disabilities in Los Angeles. We pounded the pavement, going to Jewish organizations and places where Jews congregate. Our message was clear: Every person has the right to gain access into a building through the front door.
It was an enriching experienced to be part of the commission, which also published “The Resource and Accessibility Guide for Jews With Disabilities in the Greater Los Angeles Area.” We were a dynamic force.
In the article “Three Films to Focus on Israeli Air Force” (March 1), credits for the film “804,” about the all South African volunteers in Israel’s War of Independence, go to Jason Hoff and Sharit Krengel as producers and Stephanie Ronnet as consulting producer.