September 2, 2004
Look no further, you've found a Republican who drives a Prius, as well as a Democrat ("The Hardliner," Aug. 6). In fact, there are four Priuses in our family with two more hybrids on order for 2005. We are making a statement, and more to the point, it is an apolitical statement.
Our friends of all political stripes talk with agonizing concern over the dangers we face as Americans, Jews and supporters of Israel. They then talk excitedly of their new gas-guzzling SUV as if there is no connection. The thought of sacrificing their creature comforts or any aspect of their lifestyles in contribution to America's energy independence is either so foreign or frightening to them that the discussion quickly goes nowhere.
Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives -- put your political hats aside. Each of us is responsible for the situation, as it exists today.
Contrary to what you might think, you can do something about it!
Ozzie Goren (Republican), Bruce Goren (Democrat) Los Angeles
I was very offended by the cartoon by Steve Greenberg in the Aug. 27 issue. The way he stereotyped the people that participate at and are influenced by the Kabbalah Centre seemed very superficial and more than a little mean-spirited. If he had experienced the classes and services at the center the way that I have in the last two years he would have realized that they are very challenging, sincere, holy and certainly not at all for "dummies." I suggest that he start by reading "The Secret" by Michael Berg, "Dialing God" edited by Yehuda Berg or any of the dozens of scholarly works written their father, Rav Berg.
Israel Scott Kotzen, Mar Vista
I was disappointed by the consumer mentality of your articles about paying for synagogue membership ("Synagogue Perks Entice Unaffiliated" and "When You Can't Go Home Again," Aug. 27). I would hope that people looking to join a congregation base their decision on which community offers the best fit rather than the best benefit package. Ideally, one would decide to join a community, then the connections they form would lead to greater participation in any number of ways. Perhaps too many congregations have strayed from this crucial underlying theme of community.
Mike Werbow, Shtibl Coordinator Los Angeles
In your article on "Synagogue Perks Entice Unaffiliated" you identified a number of "privileges" that synagogue membership brings to the unaffiliated.
The "Model" attributed to our congregation, Temple Beth Am, was "Come join ... so you can enroll in our day school." New this year to demonstrate our commitment to education, we are offering free synagogue membership for new families enrolling a child in our Sunday morning religious school kindergarten/first-grade program.
We hope our program will speak for itself and this experience will lead to long-term affiliation. In addition, our regular dues structure has always included complimentary first-year membership for Jews-by-Choice, and significantly reduced fees for students, young adults and all who require assistance.
Sheryl Goldman, Executive Director Temple Beth Am Los Angeles
Thank God Dr. Irving Moskowitz got the permanent license at last, letting him run his casino in Hawaiian Gardens without harassment by those nasty "stopmoskowitz.com" antagonists ("Casino Wins License," Aug. 27). Their entire campaign to block Moskowitz was based on his notion that formerly Jewish land in Israel should be redeemed and remain Jewish. It was against his politics that these post-Zionists waged their irrelevant campaign.
Cannot a casino owner buy property with his money whenever and/or wherever it is offered to him? Of course he can. But what has this got to do with Hawaiian Gardens?
One question remains, however. Why did we not hear one word from these self-righteous, political ideologues (including some rabbis) of opposition to the granting of a license to Larry Flynt, the self-proclaimed "porno king" casino owner in Gardena, who received his license in a matter of minutes, not years? Ah, yes, that was a moral, not a political, issue.
Rabbi Julian M. White, Los Angeles
In "Hatzolah Expands Emergency Service" (Aug. 6), the nonemergency phone number for Hatzolah of Los Angeles is (310) 841-2382.
In "Midlife Calling" (Aug. 20), Rabbi Yocheved Mintz was a rabbinic intern and is a member at Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas. She currently works independently with the Jewish community there.