The "road map" for peace is a failure and should be abandoned ("Mideast Solution: A Confederation," Nov. 3). President Bush did get it right when he recognized that it is a "battle of ideology."
It is suggested that us Jews (more precisely Hebrews) impress upon the Muslim community that the Quran contains versus that are supportive of the existence and re-establishment of the State of Israel. "Moses said to his people, 'My people, remember God's blessing on you ... and gave you what He had not given any other people. My people, go into the holy land which God has ordained for you'" (Quran, Chapter 5, verses 20-21). "God took a pledge from the Children Of Israel ... and God said, 'I am with you ... I will wipe out your sins and admit you into Gardens graced with flowing streams..." (Quran, Chapter 5, verses 12-13).
Mazel tov on your recent special section on b'nai mitzvah celebrations (Nov. 17). We are certainly lucky to be part of a community blessed with the resources to host beautiful and joyous affairs. I was particularly struck by Gail Anthony Greenberg's "Ten Ways to Slash the Cost of a Big Party," which demonstrates that a celebration doesn't have to be stratospherically expensive to be meaningful.
One other way to insert meaning into a b'nai mitzvah's special day is to honor those families whose lack of resources renders them unable to enjoy any celebration of their own. Millions of people in this country are forced to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table; including them at the bar or bat mitzvah table by means of a charitable donation is a way to teach our young people that their event is about more than fancy clothes and expensive gifts. The passage to adulthood is paved with responsibility, not just for ourselves but for our larger communities.
Director of Communications and Development
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Davening at Aishhh
As a congregant of Aish HaTorah, I was disappointed in David Suissa's mean-spirited piece about my community and our policies on talking during davening ("Davening at Aishhhhh," Nov. 17). I'm not sure exactly what the point Suissa was trying to make, but were he to call a meeting with this not-yet old-timer, I would tell him we need more achdut and ahavat Yisrael, and less articles filled with backhanded compliments and faint praise. That, I guarantee, would not be shushed at my shul!
Israel and the UN
On Nov. 17, 156 (92 percent) of 169 member nations of the UN General Assembly -- including all European Union members -- called on Israel to cease military operations in Gaza. The international community clearly stated that the right of self-defense, intrinsic to any nation, is denied to Israel (read "Jews").
Since Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in August 2005, Palestinians have launched more than 1,000 Kassam rockets -- intended to murder and cause terror into Israel. There was no UN condemnation of the Palestinian Authority.
The P.A.-Hamas government openly espouses the genocidal mass-murder of every Jew in Israel -- liberal/appeasers, right wing, religious and secular. Yet there is no UN condemnation.
Hezbollah states its goal to be the mass-murder of every Jew on earth! If Israel were just another of the dozens of Muslim countries where internecine war and murder, inequality for women and lack of freedom of speech exists, the world would have no interest.
The American Jewish press must proclaim the reality of growing, worldwide anti-Semitism -- which seeks no compromise and no appeasement. The silence of the 1930s cannot afford to be repeated.
If we do not act in our own best interest and defense, who will?
Three Faiths Tell All
Amy Klein has taken a familiar theme, given clergy and layman equal time, crafting it into first-rate compelling journalism ("Reform, Conservative, Orthodox Leaders Tell All," Nov. 17) .
Jewish World Watch
Rabbi Harold Schulweis wrote eloquently about Jewish responsibility to alleviate suffering ("Loyalty to Jews or to Humanity? There Is No 'Either-Or,'" Oct. 27) We hope and pray that Jewish World Watch will put the same energy into helping the precious Jews of Gush Katif return to their Torah communities and organic farms which were a blessing to Israel and the whole world.
Schulweis quoted a beautiful statement by Rav Kook, who would certainly support the preservation of Yehuda, Shomron and 'Azza ("YESHA"), the biblical lands commonly called the "West Bank." As a Jew who lost family in Treblinka, it didn't feel right to read that place cited, knowing that Jewish World Watch doesn't appear to be addressing the concerns of Jews who work to preserve our sacred lands.
Hopefully, the organization will see the connection between, say, American Indian sacred ground and the importance of YESHA to the people of Israel. It'd be great to see the Jewish world, specifically Israel, more included in Jewish World Watch.
In the Nov. 17 issue, the photo that ran with "Teens, College Students Make Their Presence Known," was taken by Sara Bakhshian.
The opening date for "Wondrous Oblivion," listed as Nov. 24 in the Nov. 17 Journal review, has been changed to Dec. 15. The film will screen at Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills, Town Center 5 in Encino and One Colorado in Pasadena.
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