June 20, 2002
Congratulations to The Jewish Journal on winning 10 Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism ("No, Thank You," June 14). We read The Journal from cover to cover every week because you include all shades of opinion and are not afraid to tackle controversial issues.
Your "Letters" section proves you manage to get some readers angry every week. That's good journalism.
Middie and Richard Giesberg,Los Angeles
The Christian Right
Bravo to Joel Kotkin for his excellent article, "The Christian Right, Conservatism and the Jews" (June 7).
With candor and eloquence, he has articulated the estrangement that I, along with many other Jews, feel toward the left due to its aggressive condemnations of Israel and championing of the Palestinians, and, correspondingly, how we have been drawn to conservative media and the Christian Right, because of its active and determined support of Israel.
Susan Ehrlich, Beverly Hills
When Jay Became Yaacov
Bob Andrews cannot understand his old friend Jay ("When Jay Became Yaacov," June 7), who was quite a normal fellow through college, and then suddenly changes his name and ideology, and even ends up becoming a settler on a "hard-line settlement" near Nablus. Most interesting of all, is that Bob gets his information about Yaacov from an Arab periodical and the Christian Science Monitor. Instead of living the life he has chosen, Andrews feels his friend would be much better off living the life of comfort in the suburbs of America, and thereby, avoiding the hardship and danger he is encountering. In other words, no one should go to Israel and defend their dream of a Jewish state.
It's because of people like Yaacov and others before him, who had a dream and were willing to not live in comfort and yes, take chances and confront the dangers, that we have a state of Israel today.
Sharlene Balter, Los Angeles
Ed. Note: See page 55 for Yaacov Hayman's response to his friend's letter.
I deeply appreciate your opinion pages in which you consistently offer opposing views on important events and situations. Even for that job alone, you deserve the high recognition and hearty praise you've received. In the June 14 issue I found the discussions by David Newman ("Netanyahu's Tactical Mistake") and Rabbi Dov Fischer ("Taking the West Bank Off the Chopping Block") marvelously portraying diametrically opposing views. This happens gratifyingly often in your pages.
David Rubin, Oxnard
Legacy of Esther's Children
Gina Nahai's review of "Esther's Children," ("The Legacy of Esther's Children," June 7) demands to be challenged, because it leaves readers with the clear impression that life for Jews in Iran was nothing but a long history of oppression, persecution and even death. In fact, Jews prospered in Iran, were often as educated as their Muslim counterparts and had access to the highest levels of society. Today, someone like Homa Sarshar is nearly as known and respected among L.A.'s Iranian Muslims as she is among fellow Jews.
The 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran resulted in the deaths of thousands of Muslims, yet fewer than a hundred Jews ever experienced physical punishment, and the minority population that has experienced the most persecution in Iran are the Bahais, not the Jews.
Nahai's perspective conforms to the "lachrymose" version of history that positions Jews of the Islamic world as impoverished uneducated victims. The more complex truth is that while millions of Jews were killed in Christian Europe, Middle East Jewish populations largely thrived until the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. We would all benefit from exploration of Middle Eastern Jewish history and culture that comes from a perspective of rapprochement and coexistence, rather than this old-school Orientalist approach.
Jordan Elgrably, Los Angeles