July 18, 2002
In his editorial ("Homeland Insecurity," July 12), Rob Eshman suggests that the availability of legal guns in the United States should be seen as a problem when considering Muslim terror.
When the Hutu and Tutsi tribes were slaughtering one another in Rwanda, half a million people were murdered with machetes, yet no one is obtuse enough to suggest that there was a "machete problem" in Africa. It was a function of human evil. During the Cambodian genocide, 1 million souls were murdered using only plastic garbage bags. Cambodia did not have a "garbage bag problem." It was, as it always is, a problem of human evil.
Muslim terrorists will kill with box cutters, with Boeing 707s, with nails and screws and rat poison and with guns, because they are barbarians intent on murder. To suggest, even tangentially, that the Muslim terrorist attack at LAX could have been avoided by gun control is an obscenity.
Robert J. Avrech , Los Angeles
Ed. Note: The editorial intended no such suggestion, tangentially or otherwise.
What in heaven's name does it matter whether the horrendous act is called crime or terror? What matters is that a beautiful young woman, with her whole life ahead of her, and a lovely family man in the prime of life were killed by a man wielding a semiautomatic pistol and a magazine of bullets in his pocket. What matters is that we here in America never know when some idiot will pull out a gun and shoot, whether we are at the airport, the mall, a community center or an office.
I can't recall that The Jewish Journal has ever written about the proliferation of lethal weapons in our country. This is thanks to the powerful National Rifle Association spouting its interpretation of the Second Amendment. If guns where not so easily accessible here, thousands of people would still be alive. That's what matters.
Ruth Prinz, Santa Monica
Happiness Turns to Grief
Some may avoid labeling this a "terrorist act," so as to feel as though America got through Independence Day safely ("Happiness Turns to Grief," July 12). Yet, it is naive to deny that Hesham Mohamed Hadayet was most likely driven by a hatred for Israelis and pro-Israel America; hatred shared with the Egyptians and the Saudis who attacked us on Sept. 11. If the FBI is unable to realize that this was a crime of hate committed by a terrorist, then our intelligence services are in need of far more than a Cabinet reorganization.
Brian Goldenfeld, Woodland Hills
Unwanted: City Breakup
Rabbi Mark Diamond's comments ("Unwanted: City Breakup," July 12) are most insulting. To say that those of us in the Valley who are pro-secession do not care for the poor is, at best, insulting. Does the rabbi think that only anti-secession people donate time and money to charity? This demonization of the pro-secessionists is totally without merit.
However, it is not new to Wendy Madnick's writings: "To the extent that anti-Semitism exists, it doesn't make sense to separate," noted Ruth Galanter. "It's better to be part of one large community and reach across the greater Los Angeles community to build relationships." ("Valley Secession: Better for Jews?," March 29). Why weren't these remarks challenged? I assure you that the Jewish community is not divided in any way shape and or form when it comes to anti-Semitism. I assure you that when our brothers and sisters in Los Angeles are harmed by anti-Semites, Valley Jews will be there, shoulder-to-shoulder, in solidarity with them.
Rabbi Don Goor said, "Don't separate yourself from the community, Al tifrosh min hatzibur." This is a monumental misuse of the Talmudic dictum for his political self-interest. I appreciate the rabbi's point of view on secession, but to misuse Talmud in this way is inappropriate. I can assure the Jewish people of the Valley that a vote for secession will not violate "Al tifrosh min hatzibur," rather, it will bring you closer to the ideal suggested by the sages of our tradition.
To suggest that the people of the Valley who are pro-secession will become morally bankrupt once secession succeeds insults our intelligence.
Larry Ruby, Woodland Hills
Missing in Action
Amram Hassan's opinion piece ("Missing in Action: The Community," July 12) shamed me terribly as it should everyone in our community. Not a peep was heard from most of us, nor did our leadership call for the mass demonstration the occasion demanded. In stark contrast, the African American community imported leadership from across the country and demanded attention for an incident, although important and serious, that was not half so grievous as the hate crime terrorism that we, as a community, endured. Can you imagine what demonstrations would have taken place if it had happened to their community?
It is not too late to come together and memorialize the two who gave their lives for us. Yes, for us. For their deaths should alert us to the hate and dangers that perpetually surround us. We should demonstrate that those who preach hate should be pariahs in this community. This event should not pass unnoticed and unchallenged.
Dr. James Hangman , Los Angeles
Until recently, The Jewish Journal might have been a "Journal about Jews and Israel," but items consistent with a "Jewish" Journal were rare. Recently the content of The Journal and, in particular, Managing Editor Amy Klein's columns (for example "For These Things, I Do Weep," July 5) have a very different character.
The writings draw on the traditional Jewish calendar -- Shabbat, Purim, Passover -- and the classical sources -- the Tanach, the liturgy and the Talmud -- to make fresh arguments and to express deeply held and deeply Jewish reactions and emotions. I do not always agree with the points being made, but the writing is rich, the knowledge of and feel for the sources is profound, and the style is appropriate if this is truly to be a "Jewish" Journal.
Jacob Alex Klerman, Los Angeles
Stroke of Halacha
Since Miranda Pollack ("Stroke of Halacha," July 5) worked in a nursing home and a VA hospital, she should have known better than to blame halacha or Jewish law or the rabbis for her mother's plight. The Jewish Journal is also remiss in not providing perspective. She and her sister (and their mother) were negligent in not providing for a living will and/or advanced directives for an 80-something-year-old woman, and then procrastinating when a Do Not Resuscitate order was proffered by hospital staff.
Based on past experiences as a physician involved in similar cases, Jewish law does not require that ventilatory support be provided in a case where recovery from the offending condition is remote. However, once a patient is on a ventilator and life is dependent on that machine -- one is not permitted to "pull the plug" according to halacha. This is true regardless of one's own or the hospital bioethics committee's interpretation of a "good quality of life."
There are physicians, Jewish and non-Jewish, who recuse themselves from a patient's care where the family or the hospital insists on "pulling the plug." This unfortunate situation was entirely preventable and should serve as a cautionary note to others who care about living a Torah way of life in a modern, technologically advanced society.
Dr. Howard Winter, Beverly Hills
The eulogy for Dr. Pauline Glanzberg Rachlis (Obituary, June 21), should have said she graduated from Vienna Medical School and was survived by her son, Rabbi Arnold Rachlis.