June 19, 2003
The June 6 report that The Federation has taken a gambit -- re: bringing Rabbi David Woznica to Los Angeles from the 92nd Street Y in the hope his passion for Judaism lectures and teaching will "spark" a flow of dollars to the community's United Jewish Fund campaign -- I hope will work ("Finding a Role for Woznica"). My own experiences as a fundraiser in the Jewish community for close to 40 years suggests otherwise.
Our inability as a community to crash the present barrier -- the stall in the high $40 million -- is because we haven't built a sense of community for the close to 600,000 Jews living in Los Angeles. Nor have we had the success necessary from the growing number of individuals with amazing wealth. It's been going to personal interests over community.
Hyman Haves, Pacific Palisades
It is with sadness that we read Amy Lord's June 13 letter about Jews going to church. Lord tells us in her letter that she just hasn't been welcomed at synagogue the way she has been at church, and she likes all of the classes and services offered on a donation-only basis at church.
Indeed, synagogues need to constantly work at being more welcoming to all people. We would urge her, however, to reconsider her approach to synagogue. As President John F. Kennedy said: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
In other words, we need to think less about what synagogues can do for us and more about what we can do for our synagogues and communities.
Rabbi Zachary Shapiro, University Synagogue
Cantor Ron Galperin , Temple B'nai Emet
Thank you so very much for your article on the tremendous self-sacrifice of the Hatzolah volunteers ("Hatzolah Fulfills Its Role in Plane Crash," June 13). The volunteers deserve a sincere debt of gratitude. Please God, we should never need their help, but if we do, it's great to have them around in the community. In this diverse, multiethnic city, it's heartwarming to know that the first group to organize itself to help relieve the load of the overworked LAPD and LAFD is our own Jewish community.
Manny Saltiel, Los Angeles
Where Leaders Learn
"Where Synagogue Leaders Learn" (June 6) by Julie Gruenbaum Fax in the quote from me about inviting Rabbi Moshe Edelman to teach our board members at Mishkon Tefilo, I failed to give due credit to our immediate past president, Bessie Novos. She had made contact with Edelman a year before and had strongly urged other board officers and members, including then-Vice President Sue Kaplan, to pursue a board leadership seminar with him.
The invitation would also not have been possible without the support of our then-vice president and strategic planning chair, Dr. Billy Frumovitz. So even though the quote says "I invited," as anyone familiar with synagogue boards knows, almost every effort is a team effort.
Carole Stein, Mishkon Tefilo
Explosion in Encino
Michael Berenbaum doesn't get it. There was no "hatred" in the bombing of my beloved temple ("Explosion of Love in Encino Defeats Hatred," May 30).
A sick Jew committed a sinful act. What hatred was defeated?
The self-serving "anger" voiced by public officials -- the media frenzy that took place at the scene (I was there early on) was pathetic. Only the calmness and wisdom of the clergy, staff, temple officers and parents arriving with their children kept the situation under control.
If we are to have a semblance of order in our society, the finger-pointing and rush to judgment until we know the facts must end. Yes, there is justification for concern about security, but our leaders and the media need to end their grandstanding and stop promoting fear to perpetuate their self-interests.
Berenbaum needs to calm down and act like the leader he is known to be.
Bernard Otis, Encino
Michael Berenbaum's article mentioned the arson attacks on churches and synagogues, but he failed to mention that the arsonist that was arrested was a Jew. Why didn't Berenbaum report this information? Isn't it obvious?
Kim Lee, Los Angeles
Michael Berenbaum responds:
What Mr. Otis regards as self-serving, I consider essential. Politicians must speak out, the media must cover the event and people of diverse views must show solidarity. Contrast this response with France, where politicians were mute and the press silent as Jews and their institutions were attacked.
Ms. Lee is correct. Readers should know that the alleged perpetrator was a Jew. I presumed that they learned it elsewhere, and therefore it needed no repetition, as my focus was not on the attack but on the response to it.
In "Hatzolah Fulfills Its Role in Plane Crash" and "Torah, Prayer Then Death From the Air" (June 13), Jessica Kaplan was incorrectly identified as Jennifer Kaplan. We regret the error.