The U.S. State Department has no position on rock-throwing as violence. Tell that to Batsheva and Benny Shoham, whose infant son, Yehuda Chaim, was buried this week, after sustaining a crushing head injury by a terrorist's rock. His tiny body was wrapped in a tallit, to Jews a garment worn in prayer, in celebration of joys that he and his family will not know.
Why? Because Yehuda Chaim (z"l) represented the Jew living in his homeland -- an anathema to an enemy whose religious leaders command them to kill as many Jews as possible. One of his five surviving great-grandparents has a number burned into her flesh, a remembrance of life in another country that said that she did not belong there either. Batsheva's twin brother is married to Leah Boim, whose 17-year-old brother, David, was killed by terror a few years ago.
Yehuda Chaim's grieving great-grandparents, Dr. Morris and Sylvia Harow of Karnei Shomron, formerly of Beverly Hills, are also my machatonim.
Chana Givon, Los Angeles
Editor's Note: Local family members have set up a fund to buy an ambulance for Israel in memory of Yehuda Chaim Shoham. Checks made out to Magen David Adom can be sent to: Shoham Ambulance Fund, c/o Shaarey Zedek Congregation, 12800 Chandler Blvd., Valley Village, CA 91607.
Time for Action
In the current series of provocations and retaliations, the Palestinians are still winning the propaganda battle for the sympathy and support of the world. They are aided and abetted by a more subtle enemy: the so-called even-handed news media in print and on television.
I believe time has come for us to take these dangerous, one-sided newsmakers to task in the only way we can and the only language they understand. It is time for all Jews to call the Los Angeles Times and other publications and threaten to cancel their subscriptions immediately and tell why if asked. It is time for Jews to consider boycotting their advertisers and their clients who tolerate the defamation of Israel and to stop buying products which help subsidize the lies.
It is time to picket the news studios and headquarters which churn out lopsided news, making Israel out as the villain if she simply refuses to fold her tents and silently steal away from the world scene.
Rabbi Jacob Pressman, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Beth Am
No one can argue that Israel is in a bad state, but what are we, as Americans, doing to help out? Sure, President Bush sent CIA Director George Tenet to try to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians. But what have we done?
A little over one month ago, I got back from a two-week trip to Israel that was subsidized by Birthright Israel. While there, I traveled around with 25 chaverim (friends) that I will have for the rest of my life. What we experienced there has most definitely changed my life.
If I could, I would go back to Israel right now to help support my chaverim who are still there. I would go back to support the country and show that we're not afraid of the Palestinians.
When my aunt asked me the other day, however, if she should allow her 15-year-old son to go to Israel with Camp Ramah for six weeks, I didn't have an answer for her then and still don't. As it stands today, he will be leaving in a little less than one month. I support him 100 percent for going in such trying times. I support every group who decides to still go (Ramah, USY, etc.). Do what you can while you're there to protect yourself, your country and all of our chaverim.
Daryn Friedman, Los Angeles
Some of your readers who lack the literary sophistication and insight may not recognize the true character of Teresa Strasser's piece ("Dad Speaks Out," June 8) which she fictionally attributes to her father. Obviously following the example of Jonathan Swift, author of "Gulliver's Travels," this piece is a brilliant allegorical satire on the current state of affairs in Israel.
Her father is, of course, the government of Israel. The possum is the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) in general and Yasser Arafat in particular. (If you ever look a possum in the face, you will notice the resemblance immediately.)
The possum (Arafat) seemed almost dead (although perhaps it was just playing possum) until Mr. Strasser (Israel) nursed it back to health with formula fed by a dropper (the Oslo accords and all the arming of the P.A. by Israel pursuant to its provisions).
One morning Mr. Strasser (Israel) wakes up and finds that the possum (Arafat and the P.A.) is chewing on his ear (the Al-Aqsa Intifada). Finally Mr. Strasser (Israel) comes to the inevitable conclusion that he must send the possum (Arafat and the P.A.) to a possum-rescue person a mile away (any Arab country we can get to take these guys back).
Ralph B. Kostant, Valley Village
Editor's Note: Thank you, but sometimes a possum is just a possum.
Councilman Eric Garcetti
I read your post-election issue with interest. There were numerous articles covering the winners and losers and dissecting the Jewish vote.
In listing the "Jewish candidates," you failed to mention the clear winner in the 13th City Council District, Eric Garcetti. Councilman Garcetti clearly meets the definition of a Jewish councilman. He is the son of former District Attorney Gil Garcetti and Suki Roth Garcetti. Eric Garcetti has attended my synagogue, Congregation Bais Naftoli, and celebrated some of the Jewish holidays with us. I am confident that he will be a great asset to our community.
Andrew Friedman, Los Angeles