September 6, 2001
Back to School
While we are both strong supporters of day schools, your Back to School issue failed to put day school education in the proper context.
The 1997 Los Angeles Jewish Population Survey found that more than half of Jewish married couples with children in Los Angeles did not earn enough to afford the day school tuition for two children, not to mention single-parent families, who are among the least affluent of Jewish families.
Two-thirds of Jewish children in Los Angeles attend public school. Your exclusive focus on day schools did not address the educational concerns of the majority of Jewish parents in Los Angeles. In the future, you might consider informing about magnet schools and neighborhood schools where Jewish children are to be found, as well as highlighting the post-bar mitzvah options for Jewish teens such as Havurat Noar, the BJE Ulpan (and other Israel programs), the Union Hebrew High and the Los Angeles Hebrew High.
Bruce Phillips, Pini Herman Phillips & Herman Demographic Research
I am glad that Jane Ulman is proud of her children's education, but it should be noted that it is not mandatory to spend the $8,000 to $15,000 per child per year for private Jewish education in order raise children with strong Jewish identities ("The Hidden Co$t of Jewish Education," Aug. 24).
The day school option is not for every family. Jewish education takes place in many different places besides the private day school. The most important part of developing a strong Jewish identity for children is how Judaism is practiced and talked about in the home.
Natalie Halbert Stanger, Culver City
We would like to commend The Jewish Journal and writer Beverly Gray for the excellent portrayal of home schooling in Los Angeles ("Kitchen Classroom," Aug. 4). Thanks for making people aware of a wonderful lifestyle choice.
In addition to the resources listed in your article, there are a variety of home school support groups, publications, conferences, Web sites, park days, play groups, as well as dozens of home school classes available on individual topics to aid homeschooling families in the Los Angeles and Valley areas.
Interested readers can contact Los Angeles' new, specifically Jewish home school support/activity group at: LAJewishHomeschoolers@hotmail.com.
Martine Porter-Zasada, Los Angeles
Susan Silver, Los Angeles
Smith and Strasser
After reading your latest issue, I suggest you produce J.D. Smith's columns in liquid form and market them as a cheap alternative to Ipecac. His latest contemptible piece of self-congratulatory drivel certainly had me running for the airsickness bag.
Between Smith's pathetic ramblings and Teresa Strasser's equally self-indulgent, interminable whining about her latest date from hell or stillborn relationship, the back section of The Jewish Journal has quickly become good for nothing more than lining the bottom of a birdcage.
Name withheld by request
A friend of mine shares The Jewish Journal with me, and I wanted to thank you for a very mature publication.
Phil Holland, Burbank
Aug. 24 Cover
Our community doesn't have enough in the mainstream press on a daily basis that breaks our hearts? You have to put Yasser Arafat on the cover of our Journal? Shame on you. You owe all of us an apology.
Ziva Sahl, San Pedro
In the Aug. 24 Back to School article "Kitchen Classroom," the photographs were taken by Ron Batzdorff.