December 21, 2000
Last week, a few letter-writers expressed a perception that I had written derogatorily about Teresa Strasser in a recent column published in The Journal. I apologize to her in this public way that my words, for their lack of clarity, led some readers of this newspaper to perceive that I was commenting on her appearance, her music preferences or other superficial matters of form. Such was not my intent at all. As to the substantive matter of interdating and intermarriage, though, I do not care who Strasser or her mom marries. Skin color is not a reference factor in Judaism, and I was appalled many months ago when some letter writers criticized her mother's marriage to a Black man. Color means nothing. My substantive comments on that subject are directed only towards the core values that underlie the primacy of our dating and marrying partners within our covenantal community.
Dov Fischer, Los Angeles
The nefarious Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens & Jerusalem, attacking a very decent human being and an especially caring Jew and Zionist, is reflected in all its virulence, falsehood and distortion in the ad published in the Dec. 8 Jewish Journal.
It is clear that the real issue is not Hawaiian Gardens, where the vast majority of residents appreciate Dr. Irving Moskowitz's kindness and civic responsibility spanning over 30 years. The sole reason for the ad is that its sponsors share a political ideology hostile to Moskowitz's Zionist orientation.
As for the sponsors' self-identification with the majority of American Jews, in a survey of American Jewish opinion conducted by the American Jewish Committee in September 2000, before the eruption of Arab violence, 76 percent of the more liberal respondents oppose relinquishing sovereignty over the Old City. And 69 percent believe the Arabs seek the destruction of Israel.
Yet the post-Zionist sponsors of this campaign to this day -- even after the outbreak of Arab violence -- join the Palestinians in protest over Moskowitz's housing projects. They quiver whenever Moskowitz purchases property for sale in Jerusalem, notwithstanding Israel's sovereignty there. They want to return to an era of restrictive covenants (i.e., no real property sales to Jews in their own city).
What a revolting retreat from democratic and Jewish values. What a catastrophic criterion for maligning the doctor and calling for the revocation of his license to do business in California. And what a shame that a small minority is permitted to publish such a scurrilous ad.
Rabbi Julian M. White, Los Angeles
It is too bad that Rob Eshman has to trash one of the few Arab American writers that certainly seems to be pro-Israel ("Human Sacrifice," Dec. 15). While it is apparent that many of Joseph Farah's views may differ from that of the mainstream community, his articles on the Middle East and the current conflict have been thoughtful and well-written. In fact, he is thought of enough to have an article published in the latest Jerusalem Post International Edition regarding the Palestinians putting their children on the front lines. Rather than give your biased opinion of the guy, why don't you print his article in full and let the readers decide? It would be a nice change of pace from the likes of Leonard Fein and his cronies.
Scott Howard, Woodland Hills
In the early '60s when my children were young, we always had one night of Chanukah when their present was $5 to give to their favorite charity. There were some spirited discussions about who wanted to give to which charity, but all three of them enjoyed being able to pick their favorite. They've grown up to become wonderful adults who realize how fortunate they are and who teach the importance of tzedakah to their own children.
Anne Rubin, Ventura
We proudly recount the story of the Maccabees, who put their lives on the line to fight against assimilation, at this time of year. Subsequently, Jews gave up their possessions and livelihoods to leave the countries of the Inquisition rather than give up their Jewishness.
According to The Journal's interpretation of Jewish history, as mirrored by recent covers, the point of this sacrifice was so that Jews could intermarry and go to church. At a time when our Jewish brothers and sisters are fighting for their lives in Israel, The Journal expends a full page to let a revisionist historian describe how bad it is for the Arabs to lose "ancestral lands" that they never actually owned.
It is time for community leaders, including The Journal's editors, to recognize their real mission: to convey the values of Judaism and Israel to the next generation. This requires emphasizing the positive values of our faith and traditions. There are true Jewish heroes and role models in our community: teachers, rabbis and individuals who devote their lives to helping the sick, the elderly and the handicapped.
If The Journal does not take a positive approach to Judaism and Israel, if all Jews intermarry and go to church, who will be left to recount the Chanukah story, light the chanukiyah and read The Journal?
Robert E. Levine, via e-mail
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