September 14, 2006
Letters to the Editor
(Page 2 - Previous Page)His work is highly regarded in the Sept. 11 movement and is not in the least bit anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist. Nowhere in his writings is there the slightest suggestion of Israeli or Jewish involvement. Indeed, he explicitly de-links neocon politics from anything having to do with Jews or Zionism.
Griffin's work represents the consensus of the Sept. 11 movement, a movement that must be distinguished from the claims of Holocaust deniers and those within the Muslim world who use Sept. 11 as an excuse for anti-Semitism. Anyone who believes that critical inquiry is a democratic duty ought to give Griffin's work their attention.
Temple Beth Israel
As one of the "scrappy" members of Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock, I want to express my appreciation to Jane Ulman for her well-written and insightful article on our little shul ("The Little Shul That Could," Sept. 8). Jane is right -- the temple survives by dint of the intense and passionate volunteer commitment of people like Henry Leventon, Pauline Ledeen and Bill Fishman.
One aspect not mentioned is that the temple's unique location in Highland Park places it smack dab on the frontier of a phenomenon only recently recognized by the rest of Jewish Los Angeles -- the presence of messianic Jews, self-proclaimed conversos or hidden Jews, curious mainstream Christians and the not-so-mainstream Christian factions who are actively seeking a Jewish grounding for their beliefs in Jesus and his saviorship.
Hardly a Shabbat goes by without someone gingerly opening the doors to our sanctuary to see if our siddur is printed in Spanish or if the drash for the week will help support their literalist view of the Torah text. They want to know if they can join, since they are certain they are Jews and should be accepted into the temple based on that assertion alone.
Our temple is definitely on the front line of demographic and cultural changes that foreshadow the coming Jewish experience in a diverse, multicultural and multispiritual Los Angeles of a century from now. But, don't worry Jews of L.A. We will continue doing what Temple Beth Israel has done for 75 years -- engaging the community. And we will be sure to keep the rest of Jewish Los Angeles informed on what we are learning. You are going to need this wisdom sooner than you think.
Temple Beth Israel
Congratulations on a really fine column this week -- poignant, incisive, and engagingly written ("His Super Sweet 13," Sept. 8).
But most of all, mazel tov to you all on reaching this milestone in the life of your family! I am pleased for you.
Rabbi David E.S. Stein
Perhaps David Suissa's column was written in good fun, but it just amounts to a lot of lashon hara (bad speech) about the truly wonderful people who live in his new neighborhood ("Welcome to the 'Hood," Sept. 8). His time would have been better spent describing the people in his community who spend an inordinate amount of time cooking meals for the sick (rather than calling them "perfectly coiffed frum supermom"), how neighbors immediately invited him for Shabbat meals to make him feel welcome (rather than being "ecstatic a Jew moved to the neighborhood") and how his new neighbors are always available for help.
If I wanted gossip with real names, there's plenty of that in Hollywood.
As for the gifts of challah he complained about, he needn't worry, there are no more coming his way.
Name withheld by request
My wife and I, who have been married 27 years, enjoy reading the entire Journal each week, including the Singles column. However, for the first time, we were both sad and concerned by what we read in the Sept. 8 column, "The Grand Plan" by Seth Menachem.
First of all, I don't believe he is ready for marriage. A person who is in love does not put down his fiancé. If he doesn't like people asking when he is getting married, he should be man enough to let them know that question bothers him.
And well it should. He shouldn't be living with her without the finality of the wedding. My wife and I did not take each other out for a test drive before we got married.
His joke about smothering her with a pillow is not funny. In fact, I would be concerned that he is a wife beater in embryo.
We have been readers of your paper for at least six years, and we were compelled to let you know about our concern. We can only hope that they will not get married.
Rabbi and Gibson
Rabbi David Baron luxuriates in his Hollywood connections; that's the driver behind this whole episode ("What I Really Asked Mel Gibson," Sept. 1). Not mercy, generosity or second chances but celebrity and Baron's devotion to it. My guess is that Gibson's parting gift for a face-to-face meeting with Baron would be a screenplay and a two-line pitch: "Think 'Gentlemen's Agreement' meets 'Braveheart.' It'll be huge!"
In the article on Steven Spielberg in your Aug. 25 issue ("Spielberg's Donation Could Reignite Hollywood Giving"), John Fishel reports that he gets calls from many talented people who want to "talk and think about how Israel's case could best be presented to the American public."