December 28, 2006
Santa Claus; Uri Geller; Jimmy Carter
I enjoyed reading Larry Miller's article, "I'm Dreaming...of a White...Chri -- Er, Holidays" (Dec. 22).
I was born, raised and live in L.A. County, and I have yet to witness falling snow with white landscapes. Miller mentions telling his son that Santa is "for our Christian friends who celebrate Christmas." As a kid, I saw several Santas in one day, whether at the mall, at the Christmas tree lot or in the school lunch area. He was everywhere at the same time.
I don't recall feeling Santa was only for me or for all my fellow Christian believers. Santa was more of a free-enterprise guy with nonprofit status, who shills for major department stores and apparently still does. Santa Claus promised to bring you what was on your list on the condition you were a good little girl or boy, inclusively.
On hearing the words, "Merry Christmas," I feel like I should be living in Charles Dickens' merry England. A bit anachronistic of a term to be used in evolved American parlance, and one that most likely did not originate from original sacred Christian texts.
I would prefer to have something deeper, more meaningful. But for now, Merry Christmas, Larry Miller.
Although I generally admire The Jewish Journal, I feel compelled to write and say I find it disturbingly irresponsible of you to publish an article that presents Uri Geller's magic tricks as legitimate examples of psychic phenomena ("Can You Bend It Like Geller," Dec. 22).
To describe Geller as "controversial," as the article does, is not going nearly far enough. Geller has been conclusively debunked as a charlatan too many times to count, most notably by James Randi on the PBS program, "NOVA," in an episode originally broadcast on Oct. 19, 1993, titled, "Secrets of the Psychics.".
Geller is controversial only in the same sense that creationism is a controversial scientific theory. The facts remain, creationism is not science, and Geller is not psychic.
David Ian Salter
It is common in journalism when speaking of governmental dialogues to refer to national governments by their capital cities.
In "Regime Change" (Dec. 22), Rob Eshman suggests that "both Tel Aviv and Washington can fund ... broadcasts into Iran" to help bolster the moderate opposition there against the Ahmadinedjad government. My heart almost stopped when I read that sentence.
The capital of the State of Israel is Jerusalem. The seat of government for the Jewish state is in Jerusalem not Tel Aviv. And although the Jewish people will certainly never forget Jerusalem as our spiritual capital, it bears repeating in a Jewish publication that has seemingly gotten its facts a little mixed up (I only hope that the oversight was that benign) that the capital of the State of Israel is Jerusalem.
Being a supportive father of two lesbian daughters, I commend Rabbi Elliott Dorf for moving Conservative Judaism away from treating homosexuals as lesser beings by gaining passage of a ruling that permits same-sex ceremonies and ordination of gays ("Why the Conservative Movement Endorses Gays," Dec. 15).
Nevertheless, I recommend that my daughters look elsewhere to satisfy their religious needs, because they will continue to be subjected to criticism by many within Conservative Judaism.
As far as I am concerned, my daughters are wonderful human beings, and I love them dearly just the way they are. It matters not to me that Rabbi Joel Roth and others find their behavior to be a violation of longstanding Jewish law. Why should any Jew take pride in, or want to stand by, a very long tradition of abominable treatment of homosexuals?
Food for Thought
I enjoyed reading about Bob Goldberg and Paul Lewin in your recent article, "Follow Your Heart to a Vegetarian Chanukah Feast" (Dec. 15).
More and more people are looking for alternatives when planning meals, due to their objections to the animal cruelty rampant on factory farms. In fact, many Jewish religious leaders advocate vegetarian diets.
Confining animals in spaces so small that they can hardly move for their entire lives is simply too inhumane for any caring person to support.
Factory Farming Campaign
Humane Society of the United States
I am normally reluctant to urge people not to give to a charity ("With Friends Like These...," Dec. 15). However, I just replied to a solicitation from the Carter Center (to which I had been a contributor in the past) that I would not contribute to an organization whose leader tells falsehoods about Israel. I also asked them to take me off President Carter's Christmas card list. I urge any like-minded readers to do the same.
Response to Emerson Charges
[Steven] Emerson profits from the industry of fear.