January 26, 2011
Letters to the Editor: Parenting, fundraising and Glenn Beck
Show Respect to Parents — and Others
At last, a Dennis Prager article that I can completely agree with (“Honor Your Father and Mother,” Jan. 21). Not one word about how the nasty left is destroying Judaism. Just a beautiful “drash” about the fifth commandment, and the incredible wisdom of its construction. Yasher koach.
In Dennis Prager’s article about showing honor to one’s parents, he made an analogy with respecting the presidency. He cited Jon Stewart’s calling President Obama “dude” while interviewing him as his example of a lack of respect for the president.
My question for Mr. Prager is: As an example of showing a lack of respect for the president, why didn’t you instead cite the far more egregious incident of Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouting out, “You lie!” to the President during Mr. Obama’s speech on the proposed health care bill in September 2009?
More fundraising enthusiasm needed
One can do an interesting historical comparison of centralized Jewish fundraising in Los Angeles (“At 100, Federation’s Goal Is $100 Million,” Jan. 21). The 30 percent increase in fundraising following the 1912 merger of the Federation’s predecessor resulted in the equivalent $878,000 in 2010 dollars raised among L.A.’s 12,000 Jews for an average per capita contribution of $73.18 (in 2010 dollars) per Jew in Los Angeles of 1912.
Almost 100 years later, the estimated per capita Federation contribution of contemporary L.A. Jews is $78.66, about a 7 percent increase over a century. Real incomes have more than doubled in the past hundred years, especially for Jews in Los Angeles. So, one could reasonably have expected a per capita 2010 Federation gift of $150, or greater, if current enthusiasm for a Jewish central fundraising address had remained the same level as L.A.’s founding Jewish community’s was in 1912.
Here’s hoping that the Jewish Federation’s 100-year celebratory events and $100 million endowment fundraising campaign goal rouse greater enthusiasm in the community than we have recently seen.
Suissa on Settlements
David Suissa’s argument that the settlements are legal under the San Remo reiteration of the Balfour Declaration does not hold water. There are several arguments:
First is in the San Remo treaty itself that declared being in favor of “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done that may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” The settlements clearly violate that provision.
San Remo does not grant any rights to the Jewish settlements. Rather, it directs the Mandatory authority, Great Britain, to implement that directive. When Great Britain gave the problem to the United Nations, its authority, and hence the San Remo directive, ended.
The second argument against San Remo is that immediately after the Six-Day War, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol sought legal opinion about the status of settlements in the West Bank. The Israeli government at that time was warned by the justice minister and the chief legal counsel of the Defense Ministry that any settlement not directly supporting military activities would be illegal by the fourth Geneva Convention.
An attempt to base legality of settlements on San Remo is just another attempt to create a greater Israel by stealing Palestinian land.
La Habra Heights
Subsidizing Torah Scholars
From outside Israel, it seems clear that the nation should go back to restricting governmental subsidies to about 400 Torah scholars, as in Ben-Gurion’s day (Charedis’ Political Clout a Threat to Israel, Reveg Says,” Jan. 14). Yeshivot are a poor economic investment since the scholars are not equipped for modern jobs and will reduce Israel’s productivity. However, as the Israelis say, the religious parties are apt to have a swing vote for decades to come, given their high reproduction rate.
Beck vs. Soros
The authors who attacked Glenn Beck for exposing George Soros should have taken the time to review Beck’s extensive and well-documented research (“Jewish Leaders Outraged at Glenn Beck Attack on George Soros,” Nov. 11). Yet 10,000 of us signed the petition attacking a friend who has always defended Israel, gladly suffering threats on his life for us — without taking even 20 minutes to verify the facts.
If we are to survive, we must recover our integrity, honor and responsibility.
A letter (“Remembering Debbie Friedman,” Jan. 14) mistakenly stated that songwriter Debbie Friedman never wrote a melody for the Kaddish prayer. In fact, her version of the Kaddish appears on her first album, “Sing Unto God” (1972).