December 12, 2002
One American Muslim
Tashbih Sayyed is a true American and a true American hero ("One American Muslim," Dec. 6). We should all support his efforts, as he is able to reach an audience the L.A. Times and The Jewish Journal cannot.
Allyson Rowen Taylor, Valley Glen
Today I received my copy of The Jewish Journal and enjoyed reading the interview of Steven Spielberg ("Tackling the Future," Dec. 6). His Shoah Foundation is a magnificent undertaking and so vital. He is truly God given.
On Dec. 5, 1998, a Shoah crew arrived at our home to interview my husband, Robert Hasen.
On April 4, 1945, Gen. Patton sent my husband to find a prisoner of war camp, because his son-in-law was taken prisoner. Taking two men with him, they became lost in the Black Forest and saw on the map that they were near the little town of Ohrdruf. First Sgt. Robert Hasen came upon black iron gates, that read "ARBEIT MACHT FRIE." He proceeded to open the gates and was confronted by the unthinkable.
There aren't many liberators left, but the Shoah Foundation did interview some. Their stories are the final testament to Hitler's atrocities. This, too, should have been in the interview with Steven Spielberg in today's Jewish Journal.
I lost my beloved husband, Robert, on July 27, 2002.
Miriam Hasen, Camarillo
Jewish Book Festival
Thank you very much for your accolades of our Jewish Book Festival held in the San Gabriel Valley ("Turning a New Page," Nov. 8). In our fourth year, we find that our festival has gotten bigger and better over the years, not because our budget (which we raise ourselves) has increased to almost $15,000, but because we have a completely involved and dedicated committee.
This committee works diligently for six months to attain this success. They are the backbone of the Jewish Book Festival in the San Gabriel Valley, and I salute them.
Mickey Jones, Chair Jewish Book Festival San Gabriel/Pomona Valleys
One People, Two Worlds
Rabbi John Rosove (Letters, Nov. 29) likes "One People, Two Worlds -- A Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Explore the Issues That Divide Them" as a book but finds fault with the role of Orthodox Rabbi Yosef Reinman. Dialogue, he tells us, requires that both sides listen to each other and then "acknowledge the other where possible."
Since Reinman does not "give credit" to the position of his Reform counterpart, Rosove finds both the dialogue wanting and the mutually declared friendship between the co-authors hollow.
What a pity. I am going to have to undo all the relationships I have established over the years with Catholic priests, Protestant ministers, an occasional Muslim sheik and a good number of Rosove's non-Orthodox colleagues.
Never once did any of them demand that I concede points of faith or belief to them. Nor did this prevent the forming of real friendships that all of us value. We all thought that there was value talking to each other respectfully, even when we realized that we would not move each other's positions an inch.
Despite Rosove's closing the door on dialogue with obdurate people like me, we still can agree that reading "One People, Two Worlds" is a good idea. We may disagree on which position emerges more convincingly by the end of the book, but let that decision be left to the reader. We can talk about that later. Or maybe we can't.
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Yeshiva of Los Angeles
Glitz for Gelt
Shame on The Federation. Based on the article "Glitz for Gelt" (Nov. 29), I learned that although I am a young professional who cares deeply about the Jewish community, I am not one of the "new, young supporters" being sought, because I am not one of Tinsletown's young and beautiful.
Admittedly, The Federation disbanded ACCESS because it didn't "generate enough charitable giving." Its new target is the few who can make a $1,000 gift now. When the party is over, will those hipsters who want to "down vodka" and "eat caviar-topped latkes" really be there? If I'm not important enough to engage now, I don't want to be when I can write that $1,000 check.
For an organization that claims it represents Jewish Los Angeles, The Federation is missing the mark. Oy, but what a party! It's time to cultivate mensches and not just machers.
Marc S. Fremed. Beverly Hills
One Community, Many Voices
As a Jewish historian and one of the signatories of "One Community, Many Voices," I would like to respond to your correspondent who criticized the statement (Letters, Dec. 6). Like so many in our community today, Robert Bonem seems fixated on the notion that "there is no moral equivalence" between Palestinian terrorism and Israeli countermeasures.
We made no such claim to the contrary. We do affirm that the loss of innocent human life is no less tragic on one side than on the other, and we believe it is essential to recognize this common humanity in order to begin working our way out of the current morass.
We call for an end to occupation and the dismantling of the settlements, because we, too, are profoundly concerned with the future well-being of the Jewish homeland.
Dr. David E. Kaufman , Los Angeles
It saddens me that rather than help your brethren who are murdered for being Jews, you have chosen to spend your money on a full-page ad (Nov. 22), supporting their very murderers.
The issue is not "occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza, or even East Jerusalem. If it were, then there would be a Palestinian state, as Barak offered Arafat in 2000. The issue is the Arab-Palestinian effort to destroy Israel and build an Arab state on her ruins.
The Arabs are united in their hate against the Jews. Unfortunately, the Jews are not united in helping their own.
Razly Miles , Culver City
As a proud signator of the "One Community, Many Voices" ad, I write in response to the three letters criticizing our effort to bring an alternative perspective on the current situation in the Middle East.
Larry Eisenberg's respectful critique (Nov. 29) misapprehends our view of offensive speech. We are certainly concerned whenever our campuses become host to hateful speech. However, it is rarely productive, and frequently unconstitutional, to prevent it. It is more helpful to confront criticism of Israel by factually refuting erroneous claims.
Eisenberg also claims that the peace process has failed, despite Israel having ended the occupation. In truth, however, the government of Israel has vastly expanded settlement activity and has never recognized that ending the occupation is in Israel's best interest.
Douglas E. Mirell, Los Angeles
The honorees for The Guardians of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging Above and Beyond Hall of Fame gala (Circuit, Dec. 6), should have read as follows: Ira Forest, Calvin Gross, Charles Hershon, Mel Keefer, Gus Oberman, Gene Kravitz and posthumously, Harry Kravitz. In addition, Phyllis Keefer is honoree Mel Keefer's sister and Lynn Brewer is his niece. Keefer's sister, Susan Thacker, was also in attendance.