July 25, 2002
Don't Circle the Wagons
In his attempt to critique the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) survey on anti-Semitism in America, our friend and former colleague David Lehrer has misinterpreted ADL's findings in three key ways ("Don't Circle the Wagons," July 5).
First, there is nothing in this latest poll on anti-Semitic beliefs to suggest that ADL believes American Jews are under siege. Yes, there was an increase overall to 17 percent in anti-Semitic beliefs, which we found disappointing. However, that was an increase of 5 percent over the findings in 1998, in which time ADL reported that anti-Semitic beliefs had reached an all-time low at 12 percent. Moreover, other findings in the 2002 poll found, through the same methodology, that there were almost no anti-Semitic beliefs among students and faculty on campus.
Second, Lehrer misreads a statement in which ADL expressed concern that this was the most dangerous period since the 1930s. He suggests that this was a reference to Jewish life in America; in fact, it was a reference to the situation in Europe and the Middle East which, in all its complexities, can legitimately be characterized as the greatest threat to Jews in 60 years.
Third, Lehrer misreads the meaning behind ADL's statistics regarding foreign-born Latino attitudes towards Jews. He suggests that ADL was looking for a target as reflected by our not looking at other recent immigrant attitudes. In fact, we were perplexed by the high degree of anti-Semitic beliefs among Latinos generally, but found hope in the fact that Latinos born in the United States were far less likely to have anti-Semitic beliefs than foreign-born Latinos. This pointed to education and acculturation as a way to improve attitudes. In other words, the interest in focusing on this distinction was to provide hope rather than hype.
The ADL's role is to tell it like it is. The recent surveys live up to that role.
Judge Bruce J. Einhorn, President ADL Pacific Southwest Regional Board
The Reason Why
I read Vic Cohen's "The Reason Why" (July 19) with sadness but also, with some disgust. Cohen writes: "The reasons marriages end are as private, personal and often as baffling as the reasons they begin." Marriages end because spouses either stop loving each other or because they are no longer willing to compromise. There is nothing baffling about that. If either one of these factors still exists, there is no reason a marriage should end.
R. Sharell , Los Angeles
Terrorism Won't Stop HUC-JIR
I was very pleased to read the article on Mark Miller, the rabbinical student, and his friends from the Hebrew Union College who decided to study their first year in Israel in spite of the security issues ("Terrorism Won't Stop HUC-JIR," July 19). Indeed before leaving for Israel about a month ago, we, too, were very concerned about security. But once we got there we found life there quite enjoyable, and felt secure enough to eat in outdoor restaurants of Tel Aviv, which often were quite full, and walked in crowded places like the Tayelet (promenade) of Tel Aviv on Saturday night like many other Israelis. In short, life in Israel is as normal as possible under the circumstances, and our visit in Israel was just great. We are already planning another trip next year, inshallah!
Yona Sabar, UCLA professor of Hebrew and Aramaic Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
'Blanche and Dorothy'
It was with much disgust that I read the latest issue of The Journal. Your article about the two 60-year-old women who left their husbands to become gay lovers ("Not Exactly Blanche and Dorothy," July 12), should not be in what I thought was a Jewish family paper. If someone left their family to become a born-again Christian, I would assume you would not find this praiseworthy. If a person destroys a traditional Jewish family structure, it shows a lack of commitment to family and Jewish values. A shonda like this should either be condemned or omitted from your paper.
J. Solomon Moore, Valley Village
Bill Would Segregate Israelis
In Eric Silver's July 12 article ("Bill Would Segregate Israelis"), he and MKs Sarid and Bishara all dangerously and incorrectly label MK Druckman's bill "racist." Jews are a people and not a race. Anyone can become a Jew by being born to a Jewish mother or by conversion.
Discrimination based on true "racism" is always evil. One can argue that Israel may be unwise in some of its policies that discriminate against a minority population, but this is not "racist." Since so many Jews in Israel are mixtures of Sephardim and Ashkenazim, the "discrimination" that is being alleged is among people of the same race.
With the United Nation's Zionism-equals-racism resolution still fresh in our memories, this is no time for us to be casual about accusing Israeli policies of being racist.
Dr. Robert J. Meth, Marina del Rey
The correct address for Chabad of Greater Los Feliz is 1727 N. Vermont Ave., No. 107 ("Where Religion Meets Bohemia," July 19).
The caption for "A Unique Sound," (July 19) should have listed Howard Parmet as Magen David Adom West's executive director.
The author's name of "Missing in Action" (Letters, July 19) should have read Dr. James Honigman.