July 3, 2003
Piece of the Pie
Tom Tugend's article led me to fantasize that if I were a secular Jewish millionaire, what would I do to mitigate the present feverish global anti-Semitism ("Why Aren't Jews Giving to Jews?" June 27)? I certainly would not give a dime to organizations that are in existence solely to perpetuate Jews and Jewish causes. This would only confirm what the anti-Semites say: Jews are clannish and self-serving.
Martin J. Weisman, Westlake Village
The Jewish Journal's brilliant cover story, "Why Aren't Jews Giving to Jews?," points out that "mega-rich" Jews give only 6 percent of their donations to Jewish causes.
Just think if the super-rich Jews gave just 10 percent of their donations -- not income, but donations -- to Jewish causes. Next year, for example, David Geffen's $20 million gift would pay for two new loaded Jewish Community Centers, complete with teen services, pool, gym, senior center and retirement community. Eli Broad's $33 million gift would pay for 10 -- count 'em 10 -- new 250-student Jewish day schools, with lower tuition, since parents wouldn't need to pay money into a building fund.
Try to imagine our community after five years of tithing donations -- I know, it's too good to be true.
Nathan D. Wirtschafter, Encino
I wanted to comment on your piece on the painter R.B. Kitaj ("Kitaj the 'Diasporist,'" June 20). I was fortunate to see the retrospective of his work both here and in London and appreciated enormously the text next to many of his paintings. In fact, I remember being so incredibly moved by one of the paintings, "The Orientalist," that I stood in the gallery, I'm not even sure for how long, with tears streaming down my face.
When a painting moves you to that degree, it says a lot about the painter. I wish Kitaj good fortune on his return home and look forward to seeing his exhibition at Venice's LA Louver Gallery.
Jo Ann Burton, Los Angeles
As a former Brunch Davidian (June 20), I applaud [Rob] Eshman's conclusion on the 'Big Idea' Jewish leadership should have: Judaism. Next should be a discussion of why be Jewish in the first place?
I have chosen to take Judaism seriously and have used Dennis Prager's writings and taped lectures to learn about it.
One cannot be a serious Jew by default of birth, eating at a deli or uttering a Yiddish term.
Rabbis need to conduct services that teach as much as provide for worship. Cantors need to find ways and music to get their audience to become engaged and daven as a congregation. Maybe The Jewish Journal could spare a page to teach the basics on a weekly basis?
Chuck Mayper, Camarillo
ADD Fast Lane
Perhaps it is because I am so enmeshed within the community of families with children who have invisible disabilities, that I don't see this abuse of labels happening ("ADD, ADHD -- Life in the Fast Lane," June 20). All of our kids have real and serious issues to contend with and need these opportunities mentioned in her article, such as untimed SATs and Special Needs passes.
Our kids have diagnoses such as Asperger's syndrome, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and, yes, severe ADHD, among others. An article such as [Wendy] Mogel's actually sets us back, because it just fuels the anger of the neurotypical population, who feel that our kids are taking away from their kids in terms of services and by getting certain accommodations. It also makes us sound like a bunch of whiners who will do anything just to get our kids ahead in this world.
I am sure there are people out there who abuse diagnoses in order to receive accommodations, but my guess is that they are not the majority. Please don't ruin it and make it any harder for us parents of children with real special needs. We've been through enough already.
Ellen Jannol, Valley Glen
Are We Sea Turtles?
I have no problem with the Jewish Free Loan Association (JFLA) limiting loans earmarked for fertility treatment to only Jews ("Loans Give Hope to Infertile Couple," June 13). There are only 16 million Jews worldwide in existence. If we were a sea turtle or panda, we would be declared an endangered species.
Furthermore, the origin of the JFLA is that it is a benevolent society for Jews. In many ways, the Jewish community has failed to prioritize its services to Jews, such as Bet Tzedek. There are many Jews that could benefit from the Jewish community if we would focus our efforts on Jews and not the plight of others.
Sydni Bender, Culver City
In "Cancer Crusader, Takes on Oil, School" (June 27), the suit filed by Masry & Vititoe on June 9 is a direct action lawsuit. Additionally, Lori Moss' MRI two months ago "did not look suspicious."