December 18, 2003
Journal or Times?
Having read your editorial commentary in this week's issue, I was tempted to turn back to the front page to reassure myself that I was not reading the editorial page of the Los Angeles Times ("Accord Allure," Dec. 5). Your alignment with the thinking of such "Jew-loving" stalwarts as Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Jacque Chirac and the other E.U. leaders is disappointing and serious, given your position. The route you have taken will most certainly give Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Arafat et al. their singular objective -- the destruction of Israel.
Harry Finkel, Century City
Ray of Fantasy
Larry Derfner's ray-of-optimism view of the Geneva accord reminds one of the Peter Sellers movie of 1980, "Being There," which, while entertaining, was an allegory for the public being entirely immersed in the perceptual error of seeing and hearing what they want to see and hear, when the facts are entirely different ("Geneva Pact Generates Ray of Optimism," Dec. 12).
Derfner sees an Arab Peace Now movement because a few notables negotiated and signed a document with Yasser Arafat's approval, which includes the provisions of uprooting many thousands of Jews from their homes, Arab sovereignty over the Temple Mount and part of Jerusalem, the Jewish townships of Gaza, 1967 borders, the cutting of Israel in two with an Arab-controlled strip from Hebron to the Mediterranean Sea, prohibition against Israel from either flying over the new Arab sovereignty or the hot pursuit of attackers emanating from there. All the above is topped by the introduction of armed forces into the Jerusalem area to protect the Arabs from Israel's self-defense measures.
If all the above isn't enough, the Arabs are still left with the unsolved refugee problem to make future demands upon Israel. There is, however, a realistic note in this "ray of optimism" article: Even Derfner does not promise a cessation of threats, terrorism and more peace victims, but merely a signed peace treaty.
Bernard Lindner , Los Angeles
Dreams for Ethiopia
As someone who has been in the forefront of the issues of Ethiopian Jews for some 20 years, I was very happy to read John Fishel's article regarding his trip to Ethiopia and his visit to our North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ) compound ("Ethiopian Aliyah Dilemma," Dec. 12). NACOEJ has provided education for children and adults, including Hebrew; daily synagogue services; feeding programs for children and nursing mothers; food distribution to all; pre- and postnatal care, and so much more for so many thousands of our people.
NACOEJ has spent the last 20 years in rescue work, superior after-school education programs in Israel, as well as all that we continue to do in Ethiopia, because we can't desert our own people. It is our hope when the last Ethiopian Jews have made aliyah, that we will be able to spend all our efforts and our funds in Israel making sure that those Israeli Ethiopian children get a fair chance to develop their intellect and their talents.
Peachy Levy, Founding Member North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry
Right or Wrong?
I make no apology for belonging to the emerging Jewish GOP as described in "Republican Redux: Jews Going Right?" (Dec. 12). Indeed, I find in Judaism the foundation for my Conservative positions, especially vis-à-vis the Iraq War, the heterosexual ideal, and respect for the unborn. In the spirit of true liberalism, the Jewish community should make room for those of us who have jumped the political mechitzah. For sure we are far outnumbered -- perhaps even pariahs. Yet, proudly, we stand alongside you in the minyan and for "Hatikva."
Dr. Kenneth Wepman, Studio City
A big "Thank you" for "From Fritos to Freedom" (Nov. 28).
I was taken aback by the tone of Deborah Klein's letter in response to the inspiring article written by Sandy Wolshin Mendlowitz (Letters, Dec. 12). Her story was so helpful and inspirational that I made copies and gave them to several of my patients who have been struggling with food issues for years.
I have witnessed firsthand the pain and suffering of my patients who not only have struggled with being overweight -- or underweight -- but the agony and regret of thousands of dollars wasted on failed diets, including money spent on nutritionists and dietitians. I have found that the only hope for many of these people is a spiritual answer which can never be found in a diet. It sounds like Sandy Wolshin Mendlowitz has had success with weight loss and has found spiritual answers. Maybe Klein should contact her and find out more about her success so that she can truly help the people who seek her out as a dietitian.
Dr. Sarah Rosenblatt , via e-mail