September 25, 2003
PETA Profanes Holocaust?
Dr. Joel Geiderman ("Campaign by PETA Profanes Holocaust," Sept. 19) should read "Eternal Treblinka" by Charles Patterson, a history scholar who devotes much of his book to explaining that it is because the Nazis equated Jews with animals that they were so easily able to murder them.
The Nazis weren't killing other humans, according to their logic. As many people are aware, the first and most necessary thing one has to do to rationalize killing other humans is to dehumanize them by calling them animals. Equating factory farming to the Holocaust does not insult the memory of those who died; it shows us that we can honor and serve their memories by understanding the clear and direct connection between animal slaughter and human slaughter and, by doing so, help build a future where either one would be not only unthinkable but completely rejected by all humans and animals alike.
Sam and Andrea Zollman , Los Angeles
When Adolf Otto Eichmann was captured, he was asked how he could have ordered the torture of children. His answer: "They were only Jews" ("Animal Activists Gone Wild" Sept. 19). As a vegetarian, I often hear, "It's only an animal" to defend cruel practices in the meat industries. As a Jew, these words haunt me. My empathy for one group does not diminish my compassion for another. Cannot the mantra "Never Again" encompass every being?
Jayn Brotman, Cincinnati, Ohio
With the High Holidays so close, I'm surprised that Carin Davis overlooked synagogue dues ("Single Conspiracy," Sept. 19). The dues for singles are almost always more than half the dues for couples or families.
David Wincelberg, Beverly Hills
I appreciate the coverage of the growing Jewish synagogue presence in Pasadena ("Diversity Blooms in the Land of Roses," Sept. 19). I'd like to encourage you and your readers to investigate another treasure of rich historic interest to the earliest roots of Los Angeles' Jewish community -- Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock.
Founded in 1929, Temple Beth Israel has held Shabbat morning services for an amazing 74 years without interruption! Guided by a dedicated group of senior members, including the current president, Henry Leventon of Eagle Rock, the temple has served as a unique Jewish oasis in the demographically rich environment of East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.
Will Not Let You Go
In your Sept. 12, article, "Will Not Let You Go," a father forbade his 15-year-old daughter from studying this year in Israel. "Would you send your kids to Israel right now?" he asked. For our family, the answer is a resounding "yes!"
In 2001, we sent our 14- and 16-year-old sons to the American accredited Pardes Chana Boarding High School in Israel and it was the best gift we ever gave our children. Here in Los Angeles, their life revolved around computer games, television and the refrigerator. In Israel, they experienced a year of authentic childhood and learned the true meaning of friendship.
One son enjoyed Israel so much that he elected to remain another year and completed 11th grade at Kibbutz Beit HaShita's American High School, also under the auspices of the Jewish Agency for Israel Department for Jewish Zionist Education.
Unfortunately, both of these programs have been terminated indefinitely due to insufficient student enrollment and lack of parental support. Our 11th-grade daughter had enthusiastically anticipated studying this year at Beit Ha Shita. What a shame that these unique wonderful, educational programs have been forced to close their doors -- such a loss for our daughter and other high school students!
Linda and Shalom Oferm, Los Angeles
As a 1942 graduate of the USC Law School, and despite of surname conferred on my paternal grandfather by a British immigration inspector, a Jew long active in Jewish community affairs, I have read with great interest Rachel Brand's piece in the Aug. 22 issue of the Journal ("Jewish Trojans -- Oxymoron No More"). While applauding the article, I am compelled to dispel the reported rumor that in the von KleidSmid era at USC there was a Jewish quota of one at the law school.
During the period 1939-1942, when I was enrolled, the percentage of Jews in the law school student body exceeded the percentage of Jews in Southern California. Jewish students were prominent. Art Manella, later one of the leading tax lawyers in the country, was editor-in-chief of Southern California Law Review in 1941. I followed in that office in the 1942 year. Of the four assistants editors in 1942, one was Richard Lavine, later a distinguished Superior Court judge. Indeed no end of prominent Jewish lawyers and judges attended USC Law School in the period discussed in Brand's article.
Robert Thompson, La Jolla
The Whizin Center for the Jewish Future was incorrectly identified in the Sept. 12 interview with Ron Wolfson, "An Experience Worth the Price of Admission."