August 13, 1998
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Thank you for your kind article on behalf of the Jewish Learning Exchange ("Outreach Group Booted from Beverly Blvd. Home," July 24). We hope, with the support of the community at large, to be able to continue to teach and touch Jews of all backgrounds to help them see and feel the beauty, harmony and majesty of Judaism and its relevance in our daily lives.
One correction, however: the founder of the Jewish Learning Exchange was Rabbi Yitzchok Kirzner, of blessed memory, whose brilliance, insight and warmth inspired so many.
May we at the Jewish Learning Exchange be able to continue his holy work.
Rabbi Avrohom Czapnik
Thomas Friedman is hypocritical in his reasoning as to why Israel's "knowledge workers" would choose yerida, emigration ("Mideast Future Shock," July 17). Did those who left Israel during the Labor reign do so because they were stifled by Israel's Bolshevik-like economy and conflicts with the Arabs? No, Israeli high-tech workers are often lured abroad by staggering salaries.
Netanyahu is doing his job to keep Israel strong and secure; and if, despite pressure from "peace-loving" American Jewish tycoons, he does not want to simply give away Judea and Samaria to those who seek to dismantle Israel piece by piece, kol hakovod to Bibi.
Bibi, a U.S.-educated intellectual, capable of earning much more money here, chose to live in Israel. The unresolved conflict with the Palestinians did not scare this "knowledge person" from returning to haaretz; or did he do it to irritate those Jews in the diaspora who know "what is good for Israel" and seek to pressure Israelis into a sham peace by appealing to the president of the United States?
It seems to me that the accomplishments of Israel within the technical world are positive and should be viewed as such. However, Friedman conveys Israel's success, and the possible effects it might have in relation to its not-so-advanced neighbors, as a responsibility burdening the shoulders of Israel. Why should a country or a people hold back in their growth because it has jealous neighbors that will rebel against their thriving economy?
While Friedman's facts are there, he gives a distorted view to his readers that gives a negative connotation to the positive development of Israel.
Corinne R. Hanna
Re: "Facts on the Ground" by David Margolis (July 17):
I am anything but a cold person, but I find it hard to get worked up over the security of a South African, American, or Israeli who chose to settle on disputed lands. Half of the population of Israel and most of the world at large viewed these conquered lands as future bargaining chips for peace and the act of settlement as controversial and confrontational.
The only real security Israel can experience will be borne by negotiation, not through barricaded islands of armed citizens living in fear of their neighbors. Margolis' choice to live in the West Bank is a voluntary move to put himself in the heart of conflict. Two peoples have a physical and emotional attachment to the land. The sole pursuit of one group"s aspirations precludes a safe sustainable future for both peoples. These settlements do not afford security; they offer only constant abrasion and thus are real obstacles to peace.
Marina Del Rey
Single in the Valley
I appreciated Wendy J. Madnick's article on the challenges of being single in the San Fernando Valley ("Geographically Undesirable?", July 10). I certainly can relate to this scenario, and have often felt frustrated by the seeming shortage of singles activities in the Valley.
I did not, however, particularly care for Lewis Weinger's negative, cursory summary of the Valley's "undesirability," dismissing the area as "a place to go to save money" (regarding rent). Weinger also reveals a rather snobbish attitude in his answer to why he doesn't hold his (Stu & Lew Productions) events in the Valley: "There are few adequate locations that meet my criteria of being an upscale nightclub." Why an "upscale nightclub"? Why not a ballroom in a nice Valley hotel? Or perhaps some other venue?
It sounds like Mr. Weinger is more concerned about location than making his events more accessible to Jewish singles on the other side of the hill.
On the other hand, I agree with Ron Cummings, who stated that many people "don't like the atmosphere of something like J.A.S.P., where it's a meat market..." Actually, I've been to a few Stu & Lew parties, and I must say that they, too, seem to fit into the "meat market" category -- where many men tend to eye women as if they were about to order at a deli.
Hadassah Southern California (HSC) members were pleased to read the July 10 cover story "Celebrating Sephardic Life."
HSC's Persian Groups Council was missing from the list of Persian community organizations. The Persian Groups Council, composed of group representatives, coordinates the outreach, membership, fundraising, and programming of HSC's six Persian groups. Through the efforts of these groups, groundbreaking research is funded at Hadassah Medical Organization.
Jewish Journal readers can learn more about the Persian Groups Council by calling (310) 276-0036.
Soraya M. Nazarian
HSC Cabinet Chair
Regarding "The Swordsman as Landsman" by Joshua Schuster (July 24): If the mythical Zorro were indeed Jewish, he would, of course, be Sephardic. That being the case, it would not be proper to refer to him by the Yiddish term, landsman. Better would be the Spanish, paisano, and best yet the Ladino, un de mosotros (one of us).
And the sentence "He is clearly a Marrano" is an insult. Marrano is a derogatory term, meaning "swine." We in the Society For Crypto Judaic Studies refer to those who were forced to convert to Catholicism as Crypto Jews, Conversos or Anousim (forced ones).
Marina Del Rey
Project Chicken Soup has been an essential facet of the Los Angeles Jewish AIDS Services for many years. Volunteers who come to the Hirsch Kosher Kitchen on Fairfax Avenue arrive two Sundays a month to cook kosher meals to be delivered to those of the Jewish faith (and their caregivers) who are victims of HIV or AIDS. The same volunteers arrive at 8 a.m. to begin this activity which is extremely well-organized by volunteer coordinator Rod Bran.
Most of the volunteers are people who work at other jobs and who perform this mitzvah with full and loving hearts. Unfortunately, the project has experienced a serious financial shortfall within the past several months. All the kosher food, packing supplies and other expenditures have been made through funds raised by the volunteers who suddenly found themselves "out of money."
These same volunteers have been attempting to reorganize and raise additional moneys but they now need the help and support of the rest of our community. The AIDS crisis is not yet over and our clients are still very much in need of the services we have rendered to them. To deprive them of the foods that are made with true "Jewish mother" love and care would be an act of cruelty.
As a mother of a wonderful young physician who lost his life to AIDS in 1989, I appeal to the public to help us in our quest and, at the same time, perform a mitzvah of untold proportions. Any donations are tax deductible and may be sent to: Project Chicken Soup, Los Angeles Jewish AIDS Services , 5700 Wilshire Blvd., second floor, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Checks may be made out to "Project Chicken Soup."
We are, indeed, most grateful for any help given to us to continue with this very essential service.
Mollie A. Pier