‘Onward Jewish soldiers’ —

an invitation to bloody hands

The Oct. 10 letter to the editor headlined “How God might reply to an editorial cartoon in j.” made me ill and outraged. Does the writer believe the Jewish relationship to God is so exclusive, and that God is so insecure, that there may be only one name and a few people who are given his love? And a Godly solution to a peoples/land/economic problem is to debase another people, treat them like sub-human?

“Transfer” of a people like that done in Burma, South Africa, the Congo, Germany, the USA and more is not a Godly action and I hope not a Jewish action. In fact, it is the action of cowards, simple minds, ignorance and fear.

I would like to think a Jewish God would be accepting, compassionate and big enough to want his creation to work with intelligence and love.

The Godly challenge to Israel and the Jewish people is to solve this problem through respect and mutuality with creative minds and hearts.

“Onward Jewish soldiers” is not a solution, but an invitation to bloody hands and unnecessary deaths.

Lawrence S. Dorfman | Menlo Park


our oppression

I was absolutely dismayed by Neal Wohlmuth’s Oct. 10 reply to the Sep. 16 editorial cartoon in the j. We, the Jews, should know better than to attack the religious beliefs of others. We, out of all people, should not forget our own oppression under the Nazis, and our relentless prosecutions to convert to Christianity during the Inquisition period.

According to the Koran (at least in the first half), Allah is depicted as the same God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as the same God who gave Moses the Holy Book.

In this world that is full of hate and turmoil, we the Jews should not be stiff-necked. We need to reach out with a conciliatory hand to anyone willing to join us on our relentless march for peace and tolerance.

Henry Mourad | Los Altos

Respecting others

After reading the Oct. 10 letters in j., I was very disheartened. It appears that some of us continue to believe in the “we’re right, they’re idiots” philosophy, better known as “our God is the right god, and everyone who doesn’t agree deserves no respect or consideration.”

Isn’t that why Jews are and have been in the predicament we are in — because that is the same philosophy that fundamentalist/militaristic Christian and Muslims hold?

All fundamentalist thinking is extreme, isolationist, exclusive and ultimately dangerous. That includes Jewish fundamentalists.

Until all of us — Jews as much as gentiles — understand that we all must live together, sharing land, resources and knowledge, the hatred, violence and death will continue.

We can be proud Jews participating in whatever culture we find ourselves in and still respect the lives, beliefs, and rights of others.

Susan J. Hirshfeld | Forestville

Lowering the bar?

I was dismayed to read your Oct. 3 profile of Jewish Marine and Iraq-II veteran Joe Stein. Your matter-of-fact presentation of Stein’s racist portrayal of Iraqis as “lazy and stupid,” and denigration of Islam as “insane,” seems to confer at least tacit approval to these odious beliefs.

Stein is entitled to his opinions, however distasteful. But by including them in your profile, without comment or qualification, you color them as mainstream, not controversial.

Would you so blithely showcase racist stereotypes of blacks, Latinos or just Arab Muslims?

If the real power of the media is to set the bounds of acceptable discourse, your profile lowers the bar to gutter level.

Neal Berger | Cupertino

‘Look beyond

the cover’

I want to congratulate you and the board for the new design of the former Jewish Bulletin of Northern California. The updated publication looks good, like a magazine.

I understand there is controversy among some readers about the name “j.” As a Holocaust survivor, I lived under the Hitler regime and we were given no choice. The letter J was in our identification papers. However, that happened 65 years ago.

I am sure that the name “j.” was not chosen to bring up bad memories.

We need to look beyond the cover and see what the new format is offering.

I understand that the number of new subscribers per week has tripled. That is what is important.

People need to be aware of what is going on in the Jewish community where they live. Your new design is obviously doing the job.

Max Drimmer | Burlingame

‘Just growing pains’?

Well, if the vast majority of readers are honestly thrilled with the new publication and your subscriptions are growing by leaps and bounds, then I’m obviously way off base here. But, if you are encountering some significant dissatisfaction, then I think you could do a great deal to avoid losing your core readership by:

Refocusing your articles to target the larger community. I appreciate the need to attract the younger demographic, but don’t abandon everyone else. I really have to believe the younger crowd in the Bay Area is not all that impressed with articles about books espousing push-up bras for 35-plus-year-old single females in search of a mate, or some rabidly racist Jewish Marine from Walnut Creek.

The new magazine-type layout is terrific, but please try to think more about what kind of publication you are evolving into. I’ll keep my subscription for the time being and hope that these are just growing pains.

Michael A. Roth | San Francisco

‘A breath of fresh air’

No change is easy. Major change is even harder. But without change life is stale. I for one commend the leadership of the Jewish Bulletin for their j. It is a breath of fresh air that I welcome into my home.

Rabbi Brian Lurie | Ross

‘Refreshing changes’

As a native San Franciscan, I have read the Jewish Bulletin since I was a teenager 50 years ago.

After all these many years, I welcome the refreshing changes to the publication.

When highly regarded and traditional publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post and the New Yorker magazine began taking advantage of the newest technology, the face of traditional, outdated style became obsolete. In my opinion, change is refreshing and demonstrates and effort to be on the edge of modern journalism.

While the advertisements can become overwhelming, I recognize that to ensure the survival of a publication they are essential as subscription revenue covers only a fraction of the cost of publication.

Congratulations for taking the opportunity to improve a paper I will continue to enjoy.

Charlene Mencoff Maltzman

San Francisco

‘It’s about real life’

I loved j.’s Oct. 10 cover story on the Orthodox slam poet. I think that kind of coverage is just what’s needed. It’s about real life — what’s going on now, for parents, teens, kids.

The part about being critical of the Jewish establishment, it’s something so many young people, especially, can relate to.

And then the “stupid songs and newspapers that no one wants to read.” Well, you’re certainly doing something about that.

Kudos and congrats.

Lori Hope | Oakland

The wrong way?

Congratulations on your new format. I am 75 years young and can remember clearly when your publication was a mere eight pages.

I have been reading the letters to the editor from some of my contemporaries who abhor change, and I respectfully disagree with them. To them I say: If you are doing things the same way you did them 10 years ago, you are probably doing them the wrong way.

Marvin Greenwald | San Mateo

A ‘refreshing change’

Love the new format — the content is excellent, the look is wonderful, the layout is easy/functional. Kudos to the team that made it happen.  

I’ve been a loyal subscriber for years, but now I’m a proud one, and an actual reader too. It used to be that when the Bulletin came in the mail, more times than not it would end up going directly to the recycle pile (admittedly, I continued to subscribe just to support Jewish journalism). Now when I see j. in the mail, I can’t wait to get started reading it, and I find that I actually take the time to go through it, from cover to cover.  

I enjoy it so much now, that I just ordered gift subscriptions for some of my friends.  

Thanks j., for the refreshing change, for thinking about your readers and for making a good thing even better.

Julie Iskow | Los Altos

‘Awesome format’

I wanted to let you know that the new format for the Jewish Bulletin is awesome. My mother showed it to me the other day and I was floored — from the new layout to the great cover story to a host of great improvements.  

I must tell you, it’s the first time in quite some time that I’ve found myself interested in reading more than a couple of the articles. The idea of Wesley Clark reportedly being the descendant of many generations of rabbis — who’d have thought it?

Marc Hering | Mill Valley

Reflecting the eclectic

Congratulations on the transformation of the Jewish Bulletin to j. The change in graphics, content and upbeat presentation better reflect the eclectic and sophisticated style of the Bay Area.

When reading j., I feel better about being part of the Jewish community, and hope more people will be attracted to connect to our local, national and international Jewish interests.

Jeff Saperstein | Mill Valley


The new publication, j., is sensational.

Barbara Isackson Hillsborough

‘Radical, extremist,

left-wing, liberal


Michael Lerner has the right to espouse his radical, extremist, left-wing, liberal politics in his Sept. 19 j. ad, but it’s wrong to disguise his Tikkun group as anything Jewish when in fact its ideas are totally foreign to Judaism and Jewish laws.

Under the catchy and trendy liberal guise of being for ethics, morality, tolerance, justice for the poor and the oppressed, etc., Lerner’s political cult misguides, manipulates and distorts facts to brainwash and attract the spiritually, emotionally and psychologically vulnerable — just to advance its liberal and anti-Israel agenda.

Lerner and many of his followers may be 100 percent Jewish but they don’t practice Judaism.

Aaron Seruya | San Francisco

Braying for revenge

Weren’t we just here about a year ago? 

Israel killed Saleh Shahideh, a senior Hamas terrorist in Gaza in response to a homicidal attack on a Jerusalem bus that claimed among its victims many children. 

Terrorists bray that there will be revenge, and Israel enters the Palestinian territories in search of wanted terrorists while an impotent Palestinian Authority clucks its disapproval, citing fears of a civil war.

A year ago I was in our business partner’s office in Tel Aviv when I heard of the tragic deaths of scores at the Hebrew University, just as I was about to board a plane for home. Today, I fear what will be next, much the same way that Israelis sat anxiously by waiting for the other shoe to drop last summer.

Bus 32?  Bus 2? Bus 19?  Machaneh Yehudah, Sbarro, Cafe Moment, Dolphinarium, the names run together after a while.

So what are we to do?  How about understanding that Israel has no choice now but to go after the terrorists that perpetrate mayhem against its citizens, apparently because the Palestinians refuse to do so, or worse yet, are unable to do so?

How about praying for the peace of Israel?

Steve Lipman | Foster City

Why negotiate?

Why should Israel negotiate with Arafat and his henchmen? Did George W. Bush negotiate with Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein?

Why is Israel forced to show restraint against Hamas, Al Aksa Brigade and the other terrorist organizations? Did George W. Bush show restraint to the Taliban or al-Qaida?

Why should Israel remove her settlements? Are Israeli Arabs forced to be removed?

Israel is turning into a giant ghetto: Don’t complain, don’t fight back, try to make peace with the bullies and anti-Semites.

Israel is a sovereign state and should defend herself the way any other sovereign state would.

Lawrence M. Weiswasswer Avenal State Prison

Epitomizing the best

What an inspiring and moving recent article about Andrew Nosanchuk of California Closets and the Contra Costa Jewish Day School. We need more Jewish businesses and corporations to follow his lead.

According to a study done in 2000 by United Jewish Communities, two-thirds of Jewish philanthropy flows to causes outside the Jewish community.

Jewish day schools are one of the most effective ways to transmit Jewish values, and ensure that our children remain actively involved as adult members of the Jewish community.

Clearly, Jewish values inform our giving, so why not support these educational institutions which will shape the next generation of Jewish philanthropists?

We have an obligation to perpetuate this fountainhead so there will be Jewish funders in the future.

Jewish philanthropy is not only about giving to the needy but about supporting a vital Jewish community that can enrich the lives of all Jews, rich and poor, Jewishly well-educated and Jewishly ignorant.

Nosanchuk epitomizes the best in Jewish philanthropy — giving from the heart to the right cause for the right reasons. We should all take note.

Karla Smith | Lafayette

president, Contra Costa Jewish Day School