November 28, 2002
Jewish War Vets
I would like it to be known that the reality of my statement regarding Jews in combat was that I spent too much time experiencing WWII to make an insensitive comment that Jews were not on the front lines ("Jewish War Vets Remember," Nov. 8). I removed the dog tags off many of my fallen buddies who never came home. Some of them were imprinted with the word "Hebrew." Yes, I am proud to say that I am a Jewish war veteran. Yes, I am proud to say that I fought along with many other Jews on the front lines.
If this episode has embarrassed any Jewish War Veterans of the United States (JWV) member in any way, I wish to state emphatically that what I recall saying to the reporter and what was printed are two completely different views. I hope in some way that the above article has not diminished the commitment and overall good that the JWV brings to our sick and disabled vets in hospitals all over the United States.
Retired Cpl. Paul Cohen Senior Vice Commander JWV Post No. 603 Woodland Hills
Fuel for the Fire
Rob Eshman and The Jewish Journal are to be lauded on the editorial in favor of reducing our oil dependence ("Fuel for the Fire," Nov. 22). What will happen to Los Angeles when gasoline supplies are reduced, whether tomorrow or in 10 years? There are a host of alternatives which we should be exploring personally, and as a matter of policy: solar panels, greater car fuel efficiency standards, lighter cars, electric cars, hydrogen fuel cells, natural gas, etc. Let's reduce the leverage of Islamic terrorists, support the environment and support Israel.
Robert Bonem, Los Angeles
One Community, Many Voices
I must commend the "One Community, Many Voices" group for putting their money where their mouth is in purchasing a full-page ad in The Jewish Journal (Nov. 22). It is also apparent that they have the best interests of the Jewish people at heart. However, none of this necessarily makes their perspectives accurate or their positions correct. They see "little evidence that anti-Semitism poses a serious danger to Jewish life in America" in arguing for the unfettered exchange of ideas on campus -- presumably as opposed to those who would ban hate speech. One wonders how they would respond to racist or homophobic speech. Would it be acceptable as long as it didn't immediately result in physical assault? How many attacks on Jews would it take for the group to truly consider anti-Semitism a serious danger?
The group also calls for "communal leaders to reopen the channels of free debate," with no evidence that the channels have ever been closed. They apparently mistake rejection of the merit of their positions, as a sign of intolerance. For example, they argue for ending the occupation "which will contribute to fostering peace between Israelis and Palestinians." Been there, done that. The peace process did not die for lack of Israeli effort or concessions. While polls consistently show that most Israelis envision a future Palestinian state on the bulk of the West Bank, they do not trust Palestinians as peace partners at this time.
Rather than lecturing our community, perhaps the "One Community, Many Voices" group's efforts would be better spent convincing Palestinians to "recover the principles of tolerance, responsibility, and empathy" that would give peace a real chance.
Larry Eisenberg, President Orthodox Union-West Coast
One People, Two Worlds
I highly recommend the book "One People, Two Worlds -- A Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Explore the Issues That Divide Them" by Rabbis Ammi Hirsch and Yosef Reinman ("Dear Rabbi Wolpe," Nov. 22; "Spiritual Agoraphobia," Nov. 15; "Closed Chapter," Nov. 8).
Sadly, as illuminating as their discussion is, it isn't a "dialogue" at all. Dialogue requires that the two sides listen and acknowledge the other where possible and then come to new understanding between them. Though Hirsch is open and gives credit to the positions of Orthodoxy, Reinman never reciprocates in kind even though the latter calls Hirsch his "friend." What kind of friendship is this? Happily, there are Orthodox rabbis in our own community who make a far better effort in this regard than has Reinman.
Rabbi John Rosove, Temple Israel of Hollywood Vice President ARZA/World Union for Progressive Judaism Los Angeles
Congratulations to Orthodox Rabbi Daniel Korobkin for indicating that he is in favor of dialogue between the streams of Judaism. We hope and pray that the leadership of the Orthodox rabbinate will someday follow his enlightened reasoning.
Middie and Richard Giesberg, Los Angeles
While one may not dispute its facts, the article, regarding the life and public behavior of Irv Rubin, was tasteless and insensitive in its timing ("The Lure of Extremism," Nov. 15). I have known, admired and supported the work of David Lehrer for years and still do, but I was dismayed when I read his article in The Journal truly days before Irv Rubin was even laid to rest. Is it not true that our tradition encourages a 30-day period of formal grieving for the departed? Even if one wasn't grieving, a respectful interlude should have been observed.
What was the great rush to print Lehrer's article?
Stu Bernstein, Santa Monica
The Battle for Jewish Souls
In the interest of interfaith tolerance, or better, mutual respect, I would like to point out that Jews for Jesus does not represent all Christians by any means ("The Battle for Jewish Souls," Nov. 15). I would like our Jewish friends to know that, just as in Judaism, the various branches of the church differ widely in their interpretation of Scripture and in their doctrines and practices. I regret to say that there are still some Christians who feel an obligation to convert Jews. They are in the minority. Today most would not agree with either the goals or the tactics of Jews for Jesus.
The Rev. Jane C. Turner, St. John's Episcopal Church Los Angeles
I was horrified when I found my name in the Jews For Jesus article. I guess you might call me the "other Susan Pearlman," and I urge you to print this letter so that my relatives, friends and former students will not think I'd converted.
I am proud to say that this Susan Pearlman is not now, nor never has been, a member of Jews for Jesus. Actually, I find them and their tactics totally repugnant, and I want everyone to know this.
While I have your attention, I'd like to add my opinion on some of the recent provocative cover pages. We have enough problems without having The Journal blatantly advertise our shortcomings.
Susan Koslovsky Pearlman, Northridge