October 5, 2006
The Pearls’ bittersweet symphonies; Who shall die; An evangelical Yom Kippur
...and the continuing saga of Democrats vs. Republicans, plus 'you won't print this one!'
Dear Friends and Family of Daniel Pearl, I wanted to say, how touched and inspired I am by Daniel Pearl and his family: Judea, Ruth and Maryanne ("Bittersweet Symphonies," Sept. 29). His legacy will live on and be a shining light to the world.
Grand Junction, Colo.
And the dove called
Your Yom Kippur issue had many great articles, but the one that moved me to tears was Anne Brener's beautiful description of going back to her flooded hometown to be of service, alongside her poem urging all of us to keep our hearts open to form circles of witness and consolation wherever we might be ("...And the Dove Called," Sept. 29). She is a national treasure and I hope if anyone didn't get a chance to read her poem/prayer "Unatana Tokef," please go back to read it and carry it with you each year. It is one of the finest expressions of Jewish strength and compassion I've ever seen.
West Los Angeles
I have been a member of a conservative synagogue all my life. In the mid-'60s, I lived in the Midwest and was the president of my USY chapter. In my community, my rabbi was the first clergyman to speak against the Vietnam War. In fact, the rabbinate took a lead role in protesting that horrible conflict.
Now I live in the San Fernando Valley. At our High Holiday services this year we heard words about anti-Semitism in the world and genocide in Darfur but, unfortunately, the white elephant in the room was entirely ignored. I believe the white elephant is being ignored as a conscious choice.
The moral issues of our time are not only our country's continuous presence in Iraq but issues emanating from that conflict.
For the most part, synagogues throughout the country (and their leadership) have been silent on these monumental issues.
Why? This disappoints me greatly. If my religion does not speak up now then I question its value altogether.
Martin H. Kodish
Who shall die?
I can't read those Sunday L.A. Times military obits without choking up ("And Who Shall Die," Sept 22). One a few months ago about a good-natured, gentle 19-year-old kid from Huntington Beach who loved to surf Trestles and Swamis with his high school pals stuck with me. Every time I drive down Highway 1 past Swamis in Encinitas and look out at all the wet suited surfers I think "He should still be surfing, not dead in an unjustified war."
If even one more person starts reading those obits because of your column, you'll have done a major mitzvah.
Sharon Rosen Leib
An evangelical Yom Kippur
I write to clarify a quote from last week's article on the Rev. Kevin Dieckilman ("Pastor Stages Yom Kippur Service for Evangelicals," Sept. 29). I find Dieckilman's use of Jewish rituals and symbols on Yom Kippur historically significant insofar as he is not seeking to convert Jews. That would indeed be a novelty. If in fact the goal is conversion, then I fear that we are witnessing an old and unfortunate supersessionist tack.
David N. Myers
UCLA Center for Jewish Studies
Unlike many readers of The Jewish Journal I am pleased to see the ads from the Republican Jewish Coalition. It's high time we Jews aligned ourselves with the party that is actively fighting Islamic extremism and correctly supports Israel's right to defend itself.
I can't help wondering whether those opposed to the ads have bothered to take inventory of the company they keep. More often than not, those against American foreign policy are Pro-Palestinian, left-leaning apologists for Islamo-Fascism. The charge that Republicans are fear-mongering or trading off imagined threats is beyond the pale. Would these same charges be leveled against the Israeli government? Are their fears not justified? Is the terror they face not real?
It's more than a little disappointing that two generations removed fromthe Holocaust there remains an alarming number of Jews who do not recognize the enemy and who will not fight the enemy.
I am not one of them.
Left-wing intolerance and personal attacks continue to characterize the anti-Republicans. They throw mud, and then complain about dirty politics.
The level of hysteria and irrationality expressed in the letters criticizing the recent ads sponsored by Republican Jewish Coalition is really over the top. The ads are factual. The quotes from former President Carter are exactly that -- verbatim quotes.
Whether or not the war in Iraq was a good idea or well-executed is no longer the issue -- at this point in time, an anti-war, isolationist-motivated pullback from the Middle East would be disastrous for the United States and the state of Israel, which is exactly the direction that Democratic Party is headed and is why they tossed Lieberman out. Maybe the future of Israel or whether Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons is less important to some readers than other issues, such as abortion or school choice, but you can't always get everything you want in politics. I know where my priorities are.
Richard A. Horvitz
Mayfield Heights, Ohio
So the Jewish left is upset that the RJC points out how Democrats have broken the bipartisan consensus in support of Israel. Well, they are all just following their leaders. Democratic party chair Howard Dean pronounced moral equivalence as our Middle East policy, and Bill and Hillary Clinton frequently hosted and even embraced Yasser Arafat and his wife.
The truth hurts, Democrats!