May 3, 2001
What a tremendous service you are doing by educating people about the rise in cases of children diagnosed with autism and the need for greater support for families with children with special needs in the Jewish community ("Beyond the Wall" and "Chinese Box," April 27). Two years ago, Sinai Temple started a support group for parents of children with special needs. The group, co-sponsored by University Synagogue and Temple Beth Am, provides an outstanding opportunity to meet with other parents who can share experiences, support and resources. For more information, call (323) 761-8800 ext. 1255.
Marilyn Stern, Los Angeles
Welcome to Agoura
Seven years ago, Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School West opened our doors in Agoura. Today, as the Conejo Valley's first Jewish day school, educating nearly 200 students, we wish to welcome the Conejo Jewish Day School with a resounding mazal tov. The Conejo Valley is experiencing a renaissance in Jewish education, tradition and commitment that benefits our entire community. We are delighted that a traditional school is joining our community school in educating Jewish children.
Nikki Schenck, Principal Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School West
Jay Lewitt , President Board of Directors Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School West
As a urologist-mohel for 18 years, I have never had a request for hatafat dam brit in lieu of brit milah ("Circumcision Lite," April 13). Today, however, mohels are often confronted by Jews influenced by secular changes and/or with less religious background and commitment.
If Susanna Crosby Perrin wants to report significant trends, she might consider the increased use of anesthesia with brit milah. Recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, circumcision anesthesia is now the norm. In my experience, most parents request anesthesia, and when offered, all welcome it. Anesthesia allays anxiety regarding pain, and in doing so tears down the most common barrier for parents considering brit milah.
Dr. Samuel A. Kunin, Tarzana
I disagree with Dennis Gura's review of James Carroll's excellent work, "Constantine's Sword" ("Divine Love Diluted," April 27). Gura writes, "[One] gets the impression that for Carroll, Jews are never quite real." Carroll never claims to be an expert on Judaism or Jews. His emphasis is on tracing the long history of persecutions and the anti-Jewish theological underpinnings that caused them. He defines the problem within the context of the organization from which they sprang: the Catholic Church. In this he does an admirable job.
"Constantine's Sword" was inspirational because of the vast, detailed and rigorously honest attempt to document the Catholic Church's history in relation to the Jewish people. Change can only come about when the Christian world starts to confront the anti-Semitism contained in its texts, its theology and its institutions. We should applaud Carroll's efforts heartily. This is an important book for Jews because it describes what we have experienced for so many years living in the Western world. However, it is even more important for Christians to read. If every educated Christian would read this book, the Christian world might find its cure for the disease of anti-Semitism.
David Steinberg, Los Angeles
I enjoyed Jane Ulman's article ("We're Really the People of the Question," April 13), but I take exception to her referring to home schooling as not being a viable or valuable idea. I home schooled my two children for four years and it was most certainly viable and incredibly valuable. It was a great period in our lives, as we slowed down the pace of our lives to spend time and effort to discover ourselves and each other.
Dr. Jennifer Holtzman, Valley Village
In the April 27 article "A Normal Israel, in Agoura," Los Angeles Hebrew High School was incorrectly attributed to the University of Judaism (UJ). The school is operated by the Jewish Academy of Los Angeles and rents space from UJ on Sunday mornings.
An editing mistake led to a factual error in the April 27 article "The Necessary Next Step." Conejo Jewish Day School will be held on the same site as Camp Kinneret, which leases its facilities from Gateway Church.
Next week: More letters and views on the Exodus controversy.