August 14, 2003
Marine in Iraq
After reading Rabbi Mordecai Finley's article about his son in Iraq as a Jewish soldier liberating Arab people ("Jewish Values Guide Marine's Life in Iraq" Aug. 8), I am reminded of some 20 years ago having the honor of serving in the Israeli Army with Rabbi Finley's younger brother, Steve, as Israeli soldiers liberating Lebanon of aggressors. Although the names and places are different, we, too, had the same feelings back then in Beirut.
Tal (Stuart) Goss, Jerusalem
What a beautiful, seamless extension from Bible to the work of one's heart and hands. I was moved to tears at the verbal painting of the essence of Judaism at its best. I wonder, Rabbi Finley, if you feel as I do that this is probably one of the finest sermons that you have ever written.
Betty Brown, Van Nuys
Times' Shalhevet Article
It certainly was a surprise to see so much space given to an internal Jewish matter, specifically a relatively minor issue ("Times' Shalhevet Article Is Not News" Aug. 8). However, the more I read the more I came to appreciate that this is an issue of general interest, whether Jewish or Christian.
The reporter certainly made a great effort to speak favorably of the school and did not slam the Orthodox. I cannot understand Rabbi Dov Fischer's reaction, especially his sarcasm.
I certainly read the article in its entirety and was rather pleased that this Jewish issue was considered so newsworthy. Although there seem to be some left-wing Jews who are pro-Palestinian, it is generally understood that Jews are not nonpartisan on this issue.
Robert Koch, Los Angeles
Whoever is familiar with the Los Angeles Times' commitment to "balanced" reporting takes it for granted that the Times will soon be coming out with another equally long article investigating what is being taught about Jews in Palestinian and other Arab schools. But don't hold your breath.
Frieda Korobkin, Los Angeles
Thank you for your Christopher Reeve cover story ("Reeve Superhero to Israeli Terror Victims," Aug. 1) on the actor/activist's visit to Israel and meeting with doctors involved in research, like Michal Schwartz, as well as with victims of Palestinian terrorism, like 25-year-old paraplegic Elad Wassa and 19-year-old double amputee Idon Cohen.
As an actor, Reeve may have played the role of Superman, but as a person who has fought tirelessly to improve the lives of people suffering from spinal cord injuries, he has shown himself to be a supermensch.
Reeve's visit to Israel -- a country at the forefront of research on the treatment of spinal cord/paralysis injuries even before the intifada -- is an inspiring example of his passion for providing real hope to those in need. As Reeve said, "Hacol efshari -- everything is possible."
Stephen A. Silver, Concord
In the July 18 edition of The Journal ("Educator Retiring to Study In Israel"), you placed Rabbi Yochanan Stepen at the inception of Emek, although he did not arrive there until about 10 years after its beginning in 1960. Much pioneering, dedicated and effective work had been done prior to the Stephen period.
For the record, it is important to mention their contribution, without which that school, and others like it, may never have materialized in the Valley. As rabbi of North Hollywood's Shaarey Zedek Congregation in the early part of 1960, I brought together some members of the shul, as well as parents of prospective students, to incorporate Emek and begin instruction in the fall of that year.
It is good and proper to give recognition and credit for achievement in the community, but it need not be done at the expense of reality.
Rabbi Gilbert L. Shoham, Kansas City, Mo.
I couldn't help but chuckle at the irony of seeing Rabbi Avi Shafran's article ("Seek the Right Motivation for Fetes" Aug. 8) sharing the same page with one advertiser offering sushi-making instruction and the other for a Hollywood theme park.
While it is possible to straddle that very delicate fence between the spiritual and physical worlds, at some juncture you have to sacrifice at least a bit of one for the other.
Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin, Kehillat Yavneh Hancock Park
In "Too Much is Not Enough" (Aug. 8), the cost of the paperback version of "Something Ain't Kosher Here: The Rise of the 'Jewish Sitcom" is $22.