‘Forgotten’ in Israel

I do not believe the passing and legacy of Simon Wiesenthal was “highlighted” enough in the Jewish community, and especially in Israel.

There was perhaps no person who through his work magnified the scope of the Holocaust on a human level. He literally and unconditionally gave his life for there to be remembrance and justice to the Holocaust.

Over 1,000 Nazi war criminals have been brought to justice due to the work of this man — millions of everyday people (non-Jews included) have been positively influenced worldwide by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum.

Not a movie director or athlete or prime minister or politician but a small aging survivor (one of a relatively few who were left) who made a huge difference to the world and especially to the smaller, fragile Jewish world.

I am extremely upset at the decision makers in Israel who felt they had more important things to do than pay their respects to Wiesenthal.

However, I’m sure the next time the Holocaust can be used for political gain by the Israeli government, there will be no hesitation to do so.

“We shall never forget,” but unfortunately in this instance we have.

Gabriel Khorramian | San Francisco

Aid to Gulf Coast

There is so much that so many have done, and continue to do, for the people of the Gulf Coast. While the national media is focused on some of the larger issues, it is important to note that people we know and love are among those we see on TV.

Here at home, the relationships we all have are a part of what moves us all to help. In Baton Rouge, Rabbi Martha Bergadine, executive director of the Jewish Community Federation, and Rabbi Stanton Zamek of Beth Shalom Synagogue are shouldering tremendous leadership responsibility on the front lines. Rabbis Martin Wiener and Lawrence Raphael of San Francisco’s Congregation Sherith Israel were instrumental in helping us to help the Jewish community in Louisiana.

Thank you j. for reminding us that we are all in this together for the long term.

Rabbi Eric Weiss | San Francisco
executive director, Bay Area Jewish Healing Center

Analogy ‘not apt’

With all due respect to Rabbi George Gittleman (“How many more sons must we sacrifice,” Sept. 23 opinion), it was not “thanks in large part to Cindy Sheehan” that most Americans woke up to the fact that we are at war. It was due to 19 terrorists who killed over 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001.

Further, his analogy between the deaths of Americans in Iraq and the sacrifice of Isaac is not apt. Isaac had no idea what his father had planned. American soldiers’ parents don’t deliver them up for slaughter: The soldiers deliberately and proudly choose to serve and defend their country.

A better analogy for American Jews is that with Freedom Riders Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney. Like American soldiers in Iraq today, they went to a distant land to fight for the democratic rights of an ethnic group oppressed by another group. The former oppressors used intimidation, terror and murder to try to hang onto their position in society, and the intervention of outside forces helped turn the tide against them. If the deaths of some of those outsiders were a sacrifice, they were a noble one, given for the best of reasons.

Stuart Creque | Moraga

‘Fringe opinion’

What if the San Francisco Chronicle published an opinion piece accusing Jews of controlling the media to advance our agenda and suppress negative news about criminal acts committed by Jews? Many j. readers would react with outrage.

We would also point out the absurdity of suggesting that we control the media when we have been unable to prevent the Holocaust, assimilation and anti-Semitism. We would question why the Chronicle would publish such an easily refuted fringe opinion in place of mature dialogue about important issues.

This sums up my feelings about Howard Greyber’s nonsensical anti-gay accusations in “Is the Jewish left right for us?” (Sept. 30).

Legislation restricting gay rights is passing easily in many parts of the United States. Our governor vetoed legislation expanding gay rights in the same week that Greyber’s ramble appeared. Gays are so feared by some that they are tossed out of our military forces even as they strain for new recruits.

One wonders how Greyber envisions a country in which gays didn’t control the media. Sheesh.

Eric Stone | Mill Valley

Letters policy

j. the Jewish news weekly welcomes letters to the editor, preferably typewritten. Letters must not exceed 200 words and must be dated and signed with current address and daytime telephone number. j. also reserves the right to edit letters. The deadline is noon Monday for any given week’s publication. Letters should be sent by e-mail to [email protected] or by mail to j., 225 Bush St., Suite 1480, San Francisco, CA 94104.