January 10, 2002
We wish to lodge, in the strongest terms, our dismay and protest at the firing of David Lehrer as the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) by Executive Director Abe Foxman out of New York. We know David as a member of Temple Israel of Hollywood, where we both serve. In addition, one of us is a member of the regional board of the ADL. Based on our knowledge of him and his work, we are disturbed on many levels.
We know Lehrer to be among the most prominent and respected leaders of the Los Angeles Jewish community. He has brought distinction and reverence for ADL as one of the preeminent defense and civil rights organization in our region.
We regard Lehrer's firing by Foxman without consultation with anyone in Los Angeles to be contrary to established personnel practices. Foxman's unprofessional behavior has brought disrepute to the ADL and, by extension, to the Jewish community. ADL's stated reasons for dismissal are not only disingenuous but untrue.
This is a sad day for the organized Jewish community. We believe a public apology by Foxman and Lehrer's reinstatement, if he would consider it, to be in order.
Ellen Aprill, President Temple Israel of Hollywood
Rabbi John Rosove, Senior Rabbi Temple Israel of Hollywood
I've known and worked with David Lehrer since he joined the ADL 27 years ago, and I'm appalled that this greatly admired director has been abruptly dismissed. Lehrer has been a superb director of the Western ADL office. However, I'm not surprised that Abe Foxman did not appreciate his work.
I hope that other ADL supporters, who concur with my indignation over Lehrer's sudden and unjustified removal, will also voice their resentment.
Lillian Goldman, Los Angeles
Unless David Lehrer committed some secret reprehensible offenses, Abe Foxman's action, even if it was ratified by the ADL's national lay leaders, is a supremely unconscionable act of tyrannical injustice which cannot be condoned or allowed to stand by the ADL or the Jewish communities who support and identify with the ADL.
If the atrocity is not dealt with honestly and correctly, ADL will lose its most vital asset -- its moral underpinnings, which are its very soul. This is not the case of some complex moral dilemma. It is a very simple case of practicing what you preach.
Ben Kagan, North Hollywood
I have known Dr. Howard Garber for many years. He is a respected member of the Orange County community.
While he is strongly vocal in support of the values he believes in, he is not a man who would ever espouse violence as a vehicle for change. He is not, and would never be a member of an organization such as the Jewish Defense League ("White Power,O.C. Style," Dec. 14), although he supports their strong stance in support of Israel.
He has always been vigorously opposed to civil disobedience for any cause.
When John Terbay accuses Garber of shouting, "All towel heads should be dead," and "Anaheim cops are Communist Nazis," that ignorant, hate-filled rhetoric is totally out of character for Garber. Garber has been an anti-crime, victims-rights advocate for many years.
When Penny Starr writes, "That doctor is Howard Garber, of the Jewish Defense League," she crossed the line. It is one thing to quote Terbay, but another to, without proof, so define a citizen.
Bernice Kraemer, Woodland Hills
Editor's note: Howard Garber is Orange County chapter president of Americans for a Safe Israel. He is not affiliated with the Jewish Defense League. We regret the error.
The Dec. 28 letter from One Family/Walk4Israel's Sharon Evans did not include her e-mail address. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.