November 14, 2002
One People, Two Worlds
As I read with interest Gary Rosenblatt's review of "One People, Two Worlds" ("Closed Chapter," Nov. 8), my gut reaction was one of disappointment and frustration to Rabbi Yosef Reinman's decision to cancel the book tour. But upon reflection, I began to consider what might be behind the decision to discourage his participation and what the dialogue contained in this book represents.
To engage in discussion on an individual basis, in order to stimulate thought, clarify and educate is clearly within the Jewish tradition. But to give credence to a representative of a Jewish theology that denies historical events and questions the divine origins of basic observances is to validate the "man-made" as being genuinely spiritual.
Yehuda Frischman , Los Angeles
Invest in Your Community
In the article "Invest in Your Community," (Nov. 1) Michael Kaminsky states, "After Westside JCC is rebuilt, other JCCs in Los Angeles must renovate their facilities." As a member of the board of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA), Kaminsky must be aware that the Silver Lake-Los Feliz center building is still slated to be sold out from under its current membership, and will thus be unavailable for renovation. The building was built by local Jewish families and deeded to JCCGLA in the 1950s so that it be used for the benefit of the local Jewish community.
The current members of the Silver Lake-Los Feliz Independent JCC have managed, against all odds, to incorporate as a new 501(c)(3) entity, formulate a solid business plan and enroll enough children to cover the costs of operating a preschool. Families have flocked to the center, even though they were told that there could be no commitment for them to remain in the building beyond one year. Their efforts have demonstrated that there is still a viable Jewish community east of La Brea that deserves the opportunity to grow and flourish in its own building. I urge The Jewish Federation and JCCGLA to find a way for this to happen.
Michael R. Goldberg , Los Angeles
I felt great sadness when I read about Irv Rubin's attempted suicide ("JDL's Questionable Future," Nov. 8). I feel that our community let this man down. He had never been convicted of a crime, yet he sat in jail almost a year waiting for a trial and was denied bail. Not a word from the Jewish community. He was not allowed to speak in front of us -- at our synagogues or at our organized protests. Yet he was always there, fighting for his love for Israel and the Jewish people. Yes, maybe he was a little crazy and maybe he did things in a way that was not correct, however, dialogue means hearing all sides of the spectrum, not just the dialogue that stretches from the far left to center right.
Scott Howard, Woodland Hills
It is ironic that Jews moan the loss of Sen. Paul Wellstone and supported Jesse Jackson, yet very few of us will even say a prayer or a good word for Irv Rubin, who exposed Jackson's anti-Semitism.
I only wish that I could have done more to help Irv, and I am dreadfully sorry that I couldn't after all of the good things he did for all of us. The Jewish community should bow its collective head in shame and start asking burning questions. For now, what I can say, is I am proud that he is a friend of mine.
Alan Rockman, Upland
David Klinghoffer reviewed a book that presents Abraham as an imaginary or composite character ("The Feiler Phenomenon," Nov. 8). There is no archaeological evidence that Jesus ever lived, and that supposedly took place only 2,000 years ago. Yet, Christians don't seem to find this to be a problem or a delegitimization of their religion. But, the lack of archaeological evidence for certain people or events in the Bible appears to be used in some quarters as a reason to delegitimize Judaism.
Beverly Adler, Newbury Park
David Klinghoffer has done a full-page hatchet job on both the author, Bruce Feiler, and his book, "Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths."
As author of the recently published biblical novel, "Abraham the Dreamer/An Erotic and Sacred Love Story," I, unlike Klinghoffer, applaud rather than begrudge Feiler's success. He has written a fine and valuable book.
I hope The Jewish Journal will now devote the same amount of space to a more measured, balanced review of Feiler's book.
Rolf Gompertz , North Hollywood
Rabbi Ed Feinstein writes eloquently ("Have You But One Blessing," Nov. 8) that "the Messiah will not arrive ... until Esau's tears are exhausted," until we find "a place for the other brother."
Could this become the basis for a new theology of partition? Is it possible that a secure, reciprocally respectful two-state settlement with Esau's children might be a necessary precondition for our redemption? Perhaps the Messiah will come when all of Abraham's descendants live side by side in peace.
Shawn Landres, Los Angeles
Censoring Mr. Spock
Miriam Farber's letter speaks to Miriam Farber's problem (Letters, Nov. 8). That anyone should "protest" art, especially Jews themselves, is an outrage. If people are so offended by nudity, in whatever context, they should stay away from any art forum. Religion is an art form and to combine the human body with what is near and dear and meaningful to some, is sensually beautiful. Religion is sensual in sounds, tastes and sight and for anyone to so fear what is exquisite and speaks to life is unfortunate. Perhaps the exhibit should only be open to those who are emotionally and culturally mature.
Betty Seidmon, Los Angeles
Jewish War Vets
Regarding your article of Nov. 8 ("Jewish War Vets Remember," Nov. 8). Cpl. Paul Cohen's statement that there are not many Jewish veterans in front-line combat is untrue.
I had five close Jewish friends killed in action in Germany, Italy, France, Attu and Okinawa. I was a platoon leader in the 76th Infantry Division, which crossed the Saar River in Germany under heavy fire. You can see the many Stars of David in the military cemeteries in Normandy and Italy.
My father was in the infantry in France in World War I and was gassed.
Jews carried their share of combat in all of America's wars. Please do not pass on the old canard that Jews did not do their share. At the end of World War II, the Jewish Welfare Board published a large volume with the names of the Jewish servicemen and women who were killed or wounded in the service of the United States.
Irving Elliott Cohen, Sherman Oaks
When Shepherds Desert
One of the most important and praiseworthy contributions that The Jewish Journal makes to our community is the open forum it has maintained in both news and letter columns. We are a diverse and opinionated people. Truth and wisdom more often result from vigorous debate than from ignoring, suppressing, or stigmatizing views with which some of us may disagree.
I mention this because I do not want my comments about Joel Kotkin's silly article "When Shepherds Desert Their Flocks" (Nov. 1) to suggest I think it should not have been printed. My only editorial suggestion is that it should not have been labeled "analysis." Perhaps "propaganda." Or at the very least "opinion."
As the definitive poll, the actual election demonstrated the shepherds and the flock pretty much agreed.
And, since Kotkin cannot accept the fact that our Jewish heritage of social consciousness and social responsibility remains strong and vibrant, that Jews of many national backgrounds and from varying economic levels, continue to support liberal candidates and progressive causes, he forlornly hopes that "flocks learn how to bite a shepherd who has lost his way."
Like a rejected lover, who has failed his suit, he now hurls insults.
Marvin Schachter, Pasadena
Amy Klein patronizingly lectures us to "pay attention" to the upcoming Israeli elections, in case we are "too confused" or disinterested to find them relevant ("Pay Attention," Nov. 8).
Klein needs to understand that Palestinian terror attacks like the one this week at Kibbutz Metzer, which left five Israelis including a mother and her two young sons dead, are not caused by Israeli governments whether of the left or of the right.
Klein bewails the fact that without Labor, a Likud-led government would not be "restrained." She quotes Israeli journalist Tom Segev who claims "there has been no democracy in Israel." The left believes that unless Labor governs Israel, there can be no "democracy"; the wishes of the electorate who might vote for a Likud government are autocratically dismissed.
Left-wingers like Klein need to remember that Labor-led governments under Yitzhak Rabin and then Ehud Barak made a "land for peace" agreement with the PLO, withdrew the army from substantial areas of the West Bank and Gaza and offered a full peace in summer 2000. The Palestinians, claiming to be "frustrated" have returned to full-scale terror against Israeli civilians. That is the problem and no Israeli "peace offer" will change that. The necessary change must be made by the Palestinians, who need a leadership that opposes and fights all Palestinian terror groups and fully accepts Israel's right to exist.
Bob Kirk , Los Angeles