New NPR Standards
I have no reason to believe that Kevin Klose's new standards for fair coverage at NPR means anything ("New Standards for Fair Coverage at NPR," Aug. 15). For so long, NPR has been so biased against Israel and beholden to Arab/Muslim interests that it does not know how to behave otherwise. When I hear people like Steve Emerson and Daniel Pipes on NPR speaking as often as the Arab representatives, and when I hear proper vocabulary such as "terrorists" instead of "militants, etc.," then I believe there is hope.
Rachelle Mand, Torrance
I had to laugh at your article about maahj ("Maahj Cracks Fashionistas," Aug. 15). It sounds like women are rediscovering sliced bread! I started playing maahj in 1958 as a young bride in Winnipeg, Canada, where, I might add, my aunts, cousins and friends never stopped. I began again in Northridge in the '60s, and after many years of hiatus, we are playing again.
S. Kussin, Northridge
Marine in Iraq
I was profoundly moved by Rabbi Mordecai Finley's article about his son Kayitz's service as a Marine in Iraq ("Jewish Values Guide Marine's Life in Iraq," Aug. 8). And I was pleasantly surprised to see you acknowledge that there are actually Jews and even rabbis who support our government's efforts in Iraq, because it is the right thing, the Jewish thing to do.
My family and I had the honor of hosting Rabbi Finley and Kayitz for a Shabbat dinner just before he began his service. Rabbi Finley's praise of his son's character is not just parental pride and hyperbole. Kayitz is an example of what makes America great and what has made the Jewish people great. We are taught to pursue justice, to not stand idly by when our neighbor is in need.
Serving in the military of our great democracy helps to further those ideals and to make tikkun olam (repairing the world) a reality and not just a nice phrase mouthed by Hebrew school students.
I think it is important for this generation to know that our Jewish ideals and vision for a better world, a more just world, a freer world, are not just platitudes said around the seder table while we're rushing to get to the main course.
Rabbi Jay Levy, Or Emet
I was moved by Rabbi Mordecai Finley's description of his son Kayitz's attempts to live out his Jewish values while serving in Iraq as a Marine. As a father, Rabbi Finley has a lot to be proud of.
I was disappointed, however, at the misleading headline on the cover. The answer to the question "Why We're in Iraq" owes more to a complex web of deception on the part of the Bush administration than to any Jewish values. It is obvious now that the president misled the nation about both the presence of weapons of mass destruction and Iraq's imminent nuclear capability. It has also become clear that there were no connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq.
The president and his right-wing minions have dangerously set a precedent for a policy of preemptive attack that need not be backed up by any evidence. As I learned as a soldier serving with the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank, the ethical actions of individual soldiers cannot counteract the immorality of an illegal occupation.
Dr. Aryeh Cohen, Chair Rabbinic Studies, University of Judaism President-elect Progressive Jewish Alliance
Carin Davis laments in her article ("The Friend Zone," Aug. 8) that she can't get guys to ask her out; they just look at her as a friend. There is a simple solution to this problem -- Carin, get up your courage and ask the guys out. I can tell you that from this guy's perspective, I love it when I'm asked out.
I can almost guarantee that you will soon find yourself dating instead of "friending" the guys you like. If you don't believe me, run it by some of your guy friends, or better yet, in the words of Nike: Just Do It. Carin, take the plunge and let us know how it goes in your next column.
Peter Weinberger, Los Angeles
Mitzvah for Ayelet
When Palestinians secrete terrorists and locate bomb factories amid their civilian population, subjecting innocent children to injury and even death from Israeli retaliation, we are appalled ("A Mitzvah for Ayelet" Aug. 8). However, I find Vered Kashani's tragic article about the murder of her cousins while en route to Emmanuel, a settlement in the West Bank, to be similarly disturbing. Although settlers and their visitors may be willing to sacrifice their own lives to ideology, the callousness with which they risk the lives of their offspring is absolutely unconscionable. Whether we believe that Judea and Samaria should belong to Israel or to Palestine, willfully endangering children is wrong.
Barbara Kaplan, Los Angeles
I read Maryann Gray's column and felt like it could have been written by me ("On Being Too Jewish" Aug. 15). Having grown up with the Easter baskets and Christmas trees, I can relate to her experience, both with sadness and pain. As I have matured and opened my heart to embrace my Jewishness, I too have moved from fear of being "too Jewish" to not being Jewish enough.
Allyson Rowen Taylor, Valley Glen