March 8, 2001
Rob Eshman's attack on supposed Jewish hypocrisy is really an attack on Jewish ethics and morals ("Shocked, Shocked," March 2). He confuses the ordinary human frailties of people and organizations with the position of the president of the United States. The president, because of the office he occupies, embodies the highest ideals and aspirations of this country. Fortunately, in the United States those ideals and aspirations coincide with Jewish ethics and morals.
Eshman excuses those who sought a pardon for Marc Rich on the grounds that in his view everyone would have taken Rich's money. Even assuming the dubious proposition that everybody does it does not make it right. The Jews who took tainted money and urged the president to pardon Rich and other Jews with questionable backgrounds taints all Jews. More important, it affects the hard-earned respect and esteem with which Jews are held by our fellow citizens. Those who urged the president to pardon undeserving Jews must beg the pardon of the entire Jewish community.
Ann Hayman Young, Los Angeles
During the last eight years of the Clinton presidency, politically conservative Jews watched helplessly as the organized Jewish community supported and extolled the virtues of a corrupt administration and a morally bankrupt Democratic party.
The Democratic party and the Clinton administration have been characterized by its illegal campaign financing, the sale of the Lincoln bedroom, the sale of citizenship, the highly suspect vanishment of nuclear data to China, China's illegal campaign contributions, and its consistent polarization of American citizens along race and class warfare.
Jewish leaders and many of our rabbis led our community astray. Although the Jewish community touted diversity and tolerance, it failed to tolerate diversity of opinion within its midst. The Jewish community became synonymous with the Democratic party. In the light of current events, we are perceived by many to be a community without a moral foundation.
Shari Goodman, via e-mail
Thank you for the article by Michael Aushenker ("News Machers," March 2). When I started my 41-year career with the Anti-Defamation League in Los Angeles in 1952, Joe Cummins of the B'nai B'rith Messenger, Sam Gach of the California Jewish Voice, and Herb Brin of Heritage were an important part of my work and career. The papers they published and edited were the only vehicles for reaching Jewish readers in Los Angeles with numerous stories about the Jewish communities around the world, as well as Los Angeles, in the 1950s and 1960s.
They were a feisty bunch. Unlike today's corporate publishers and editors, they were crusading "gunslingers" fighting for the Jewish people. Sometimes they enraged some of us in the "Jewish Establishment," but their hearts were always in the right place.
Aushenker mentioned the Valley Jewish News but did not indicate that Jess Nathan was its fiery publisher and editor, and was the first one to really appreciate the importance of Jewish life in the San Fernando Valley, which was on the verge of exploding in numbers and activities. Today's Valley Jewish community is a sight to behold.
Thank you again for an excellent piece of journalistic history.
Harvey B. Schechter, Western States Director Emeritus Anti-Defamation League
Thank you for running the article ("Messianic Experience," March 2). The Jewish Federation in Orlando recently joined forces with Jews for Judaism to combat this problem. Two Jews for Judaism staff members presented a variety of educational programs in Florida and went on an investigative mission to the Holy Land Experience. They concluded that this $16-million theme park in Orlando, Fla., is a virtual training ground to teach Christians how to evangelize Jews using techniques that present the message that a Jew can convert to Christianity and still remain Jewish.
This is part of the new-and-improved methods that evangelicals are employing to evangelize the Jewish community. Missionaries may not be as visible on street corners as they once were, but the problem is more acute then ever. The Holy Land Experience is just the tip of the messianic iceberg.
Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz, Director Jews for Judaism
I am a 15-year-old Presbyterian living on the Westside with a Jewish sister (she converted) and her Jewish family (husband and three children). Between living with my Conservative Jewish family and on the Westside, where there is a large Jewish population, I have learned a lot about Judaism through osmosis. Some people even say that I know more about Judaism than most Jews do. But that is not the point of this letter.
Even though I keep my Protestant faith, I find myself reading The Journal on a regular basis and enjoy it, much to my the amusement of my peers. In short, I'd like to commend you on being able to reach all religions, all ages and all people by presenting universal themes in a Jewish light and vice-versa. Good show!
Chandra R. Howard, via e-mail
My family and I enjoy The Jewish Journal every week; however, upon receiving the March 2 edition, we all felt a bit troubled by the picture on the cover. The "Nordic" Esther juxtaposed against the more realistic Persian representation makes an intriguing image, but since when has The Jewish Journal stood for fuchsia lipstick and necklines so low they can't even fit on the page? The Journal has always been a community and family newspaper, and I hope that more thought is given to what type of images are sent out by the paper to the community in the future.
Lauren Raab, Beverly Hills
Thank you for the article about Sandi Simcha DuBowski's film "Trembling Before G-d" ("Opening the Closet," Jan. 19).
The Jewish Journal has been instrumental and of tremendous help during my ordeal of learning about my son's sexual orientation. Even prior to the time when he broke the news to me, his mother, your articles and letters to the editor on this subject provided tremendous educational material to understand and view this subject with an open mind. I have clipped and saved the articles to help my husband and other relatives when my son decides to come out to them.
The importance of the articles in The Jewish Journal is enhanced since it expresses the opinions of Jewish people, writers, rabbis and lay people. I can relate to them much easier.
Name withheld by request
Letter of Appreciation
I'm writing this letter to show my appreciation to all those people who thought about me and many other people who are sick.
While in the hospital as a cancer patient, I was staring through the window with sadness and disappointment. I didn't eat for days, my morale was down and I didn't want to live. All I did was read from Tehilim (Psalms). The doctor told me if I didn't eat they would have to give me a feeding tube. I was crying, and suddenly I saw Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky from B'nai David-Judea. He spoke to me, told me not to give up and he changed my mind. He told me how a person dear to him was depressed like me and beat the odds.
Rabbi Kanefsky is a tzaddik (righteous person). He came every day to visit me for one hour and to visit other sick people. He made me and all of the others a "Mi Sheberach" (prayer for the sick). He sent in doctors he knew to come and talk to us. On Friday people came to light candles for us for Shabbos. I was in the hospital for a almost a year and now I am feeling, thank Hashem, better, thanks to the support I got from Rabbi Kanefsky. Thank you, rabbi, for your dedication to Hashem and to the Jewish people. You made me proud of being a Jew.
Magi Levin, Los Angeles
I just got home from my writing class and read Teresa Strasser's column ("Cereal Killer," Feb. 16). This is such good writing. It is witty, intelligent, ironic.
Frank Matcha, via e-mail
What is the purpose of publishing this useless, senseless inane column ("Plush Reminders," Feb. 2), or for that matter anything Teresa Strasser writes? Is the information she imparts so fascinating that you think we cannot live without it? Do yourselves and us a favor and publish something more meaningful.
Sydell Sigel, Los Angeles
In the March 2 story, "Purim in the Land of Esther," the events of Purim probably occurred some time in the fifth or sixth century BCE, not the mid-300s BCE.