When I picked up The Jewish Journal, I was rather appalled to see a picture of Iran's President Ahmadinejad on the front page ("Between Iran and Hard Place," Dec. 14).
This man is a known Jew-hater, and with his statements about his desire and plan to wipe Israel off the map, he is a danger to the Jewish state and its people. To glorify him and feed into his own sense of grandiosity by allowing his face to grace the front page of your newspaper is disturbing.
Would one not feel the same if Hitler were on the cover of this Jewish newspaper? Since it appeals to Jews, and there are plenty of us who deserve to be recognized and acknowledged in such a positive way, please reach into your treasure chest and pull one of us out for front page recognition.
Danya Ruttenberg, my student and friend, wrote a masterful and penetrating essay on her reflections on the holiday of Chanukah ("Chanukah and Adult Faith," Nov. 30).
It evinced historical scholarship, spiritual sensitivity and challenging analysis.
It was also, to my surprise, controversial. The Jewish Journal published two letters not only condemning the essay but berating the author for imagined improprieties. The second of these letters was as vicious as it was puerile.
I'm shocked that The Journal would publish such an ad hominem screed as came from Benjamin Broitman (Letters, Dec. 14), which neither advances the debate nor presents an alternative perspective. It is only ugly. I hope The Journal publishes more from Ruttenberg.
Rabbi Dan Shevitz
I applaud The Jewish Journal for printing Danya Ruttenberg's thoughtful piece on wrestling with the Chanukah story. I am less impressed, however, with the responses you chose to print. It saddens me that the face of Jewish dialogue we present to the world is so often one of personal attack.
In particular, the call that she should be "pelted with latkes" has a very distasteful overtone of violence and humiliation. Perhaps I am naive and childish in my wish that we could expand our Jewish identity to be secure enough to tolerate different opinions on our traditions, histories, religious practices and philosophies without resorting to finger-pointing, cries of inauthentic and latke pelting.
I quote here the wisdom of my (Welsh) grandmother: "If you can't say anything nice (or at least civil), don't say anything at all."
Assistant to the Director
Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
The one sentence paragraph on the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Co. fire contains two errors ("KCRW's Gift: Five Days of Jewish 'Only in America' History," Nov. 30):
1) 146 young women died, not 164.
2) They were not all Jewish. Many of them were Italian.
From time to time I read your "Singles" column. I was married, then a single woman for 14 years and now married again for the last 14. I've finally decided that someone has to let Carin Davis in on a little truth, and since I've been around the block more than once, why not me? ("Burden of Proof," Dec. 7).
Carin, sweetheart, anyone who starts their paragraph with, "If these caring guys with three decades, six figures and a bris to their name are real, bring 'em on," has got good men running -- in the other direction.
Single men I meet tell me again and again that they're sick and tired of women who see them as dollar signs. Tired of being judged on what restaurant they take you to and what kind of car they drive.
Ever thought of a teacher, a mechanic or a salesman as a husband? What man (or woman, for the men reading this) wants to think you're sizing up the credit report before the first cup of coffee?
It's tough to meet the right person; don't make it even tougher. Go for the gold in someone's heart, not their wallet. I hope you find the right someone very soon.
Mrs. Steve Flatten
Great article about SOVA -- it's a wonderful organization that has improved drastically under the wise guidance of Leslie Friedman and Paul Castro ("Federation Aids Jewish Food Agencies' Hunger Needs," Dec. 14).
I was hoping you would mention their fabulous book program. Now that they feed so many families with children, SOVA also provides free, brand-new children's books to the kids who come in with their parents. A local Eagle Scout built the "reading corner" at the Valley location, and we stock it with over 2,000 books per year as part of our "A Book Just for Me" program.
For more information about our book program, visit http://www.ellafitzgeraldfoundation.org.
Fran Morris Rosman
The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation
Thank you for mentioning Bet Tzedek in your gift registry article ("Get Your Favorite Things Without Losing Your Mind," Dec. 14).
As you noted, there are literally thousands of charities worthy of donations. I appreciate you specifically including us in your short list of highlighted charities.
Bet Tzedek Legal Services
The Federation wages relentless war against us, the L.A. Jewish community ("Wandering Minyan," Dec. 7). David Suissa's column exposes just the latest Federation coup. How many center closings, how many service cutbacks and terminations, how many valuable community losses must we suffer before we fight back?
The latest Federation gem takes the cake. Why does the Federation want to destroy this precious little minyan, Young Israel of Santa Monica? YISM does so much good for the community. YISM asks for nothing in return, other than to beg The Federation to just let it live.
The Federation wouldn't even grant that. The Federation just couldn't leave this valiant little minyan alone.
Let's open our eyes.
We donate money to The Federation. The Federation skims off the top to pay salaries to themselves and their cronies and for administrative expenses. The Federation first takes care of itself and its cronies. The Federation then magnanimously distributes to charities whatever remains from our well-intentioned contributions.
Let's shake this monkey off our back.
Let's give directly to Jewish Family Service, Jewish Home for the Aging, Bet Tzedek, schools, etc. Let's bypass Federation skim. Then, worthwhile charities will receive 100 percent of our donations.
Horns of a Dilemma
The unexpected release of the National Intelligent Estimate's (NIE) whitewash of the Iranian regime is disturbing not only to Israel but to the Bush administration itself ("On the Horns of a Dilemma," Dec. 14). It was drafted by the State Department, which has traditionally been pro-Arab and anti- Israel.
Yet despite the ramifications of the issues at hand, Raphael Sonenshein focuses instead on the hate-filled conspiracy arguments of the left, spewing his rage not at Saddam Hussein, Al Qeada and Iran's new Nazi leader but instead the Bush administration and its motives.
I was surprised that Sonenshein didn't discuss Sept. 11 conspiracy theories, as well.
It is precisely this twisted thinking that spells the inevitable end of Jewish identification with the Democratic Party, which has morphed into a radical, irrational party, certainly not to be trusted with either our national security or Israel's survival, for that matter.
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