Laughing at us?

The Osher Marin Jewish Community Center sponsored a lecture/book preview by Cindy Sheehan. I think it is outrageous for a Jewish organization to do so.

I will give the JCC the benefit of the doubt that they were not aware that her financial backing comes from a virulent anti-Semitic, anti-Israel Palestinian organization. Even our anti-war elected officials such as Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Hilary Clinton, Charles Schumer, John Kerry, etc. have stayed far away from her.

She and her backers must be laughing at us (the Jewish community) for giving her a forum.

Ruth Pheffer | Greenbrae

‘Blind adulation’

Self-anointed Michael Lerner is no master, owner or spokesman of Jewish values.

Nobody elected him as such. I for sure didn’t. Nothing surprises me any more about the left’s complete and totally blind adulation of its talking heads who represent the so-called politically correct crowd.

In the Feb. 24 review of Lerner’s book, critic Tracy Salkowitz employs fancy and bombastic words and phrases that the political left has hijacked from political discourse and made into its own domain. In her review, she makes the distinction between the political right’s “religious and family values” versus the left’s “spirituality,” “spiritual growth,” “spiritual activism” and “social justice.”

I would like to know who made Salkowitz by way of writing this article and Lerner by way of his book “The Left Hand Of God” the ultimate arbitrators in delegating, relegating or promoting such supreme values?

As always, the left takes what’s not theirs to take and gives what’s not theirs to give. As usual the left is big with words but zero with true deeds.

Zevika Salles | San Francisco

What’s the point?

One can dislike Michael Lerner and his new book (I’m not a fan of his and I haven’t read it), but I think having a conservative Republican — as the reviewer certainly is — review a book by a far-left figure is rather pointless (Feb. 24, “Lerner’s ‘Left Hand of God’ doesn’t deserve a ‘high five'”). Why bother?

Mike Bromberg | San Jose
EDITOR’S NOTE: The reviewer is not a “conservative Republican.” To the contrary, she is well-known in Jewish circles as a leftist.

Positive tradition

What an angry, mean-spirited letter (Feb. 24) criticizing the new Berkeley eruv.

The eruv is not creating a ghetto. The congregation is not closing itself off from outsiders, a ridiculous thought to anyone who has worshiped with that most dynamic, most highly educated congregation.

To the contrary, the knee-jerk reaction that the installation of an eruv automatically isolates a Jewish community from outsiders is itself close-minded Orthodox-bashing.

We often celebrate the religious diversity in the Bay Area. We must learn to appreciate not only the new and different but also the old and familiar, and to understand how traditions like the eruv can serve very positive purposes.

Alan Titus | Mill Valley

Knowing the facts

I would like to respond to Alison Weir’s Feb. 24 letter, “No ‘Jewish lobby.'”

Having a pro-Palestinian opinion is Weir’s right. However, lying to persuade others about the righteousness of her cause is not the best way to win over people who are well-versed in the facts.

The Israeli Defense Force never commits intentionally atrocities. The IDF, however, does commit mistakes. This is in vast contrast to the so-called moderate Fatah wing of the Palestinian Authority that has the Tanzim and the al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, which exclusively targets women and children. And we cannot forget Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Weir would have the IDF take no action to intercept terrorists, even when senior IDF officers must weigh whether to take action against terrorists — who are not freedom fighters — who surround themselves with women and children, just like bin Laden and his like.

Mordechai Pelta | San Francisco

The same meeting?

I was at the meeting in Fairfax put on by 14 Friends of Palestine that Cindy Ross attended. When I read her Feb. 17 opinion, I thought, “Were we at the same meeting?”

I sat near her and could see that her face was getting redder and redder. I thought tomyself, “She is either very warm or very angry.”

I was offended by her comments in j., one especially about how the people who came were not people of faith. How can somebody make a statement like that when she knew nothing about us?

The other statement about comparing the meeting to a neo-Nazi rally was disturbing. I am British and remember the war as a young child, so I take real offense with that.

I felt the lecturer, Alison Weir, was a very gentle person getting information across. I know that she does her homework, and I felt that she answered questions very well. After all, it was an informational evening, attended by all sorts of people.

Having the talk at the Fairfax meditation room was right for the price — it cost nothing. We were able to make money to help people whose country is occupied.

Sybil Skinner | San Rafael

Friedan’s earlier stands

Blu Greenberg’s Feb. 10 tribute to the late Betty Friedan reminds us how much courage it took for her to stand up against the mistreatment of women in the early 1960s. Twenty years earlier, Friedan spoke out for another unpopular cause — bringing German Jewish refugees to the United States.

Friedan was a freshman at Smith College in 1938 when Hitler unleashed the Kristallnacht pogrom. Smith President William Allen Neilson urged the students to sign a petition asking President Roosevelt to let German Jewish girls enter the United States outside the immigration quotas in order to enroll at Smith.

Each student house debated whether to sign the petition. “A number of girls spoke against it, about not wanting any more Jews at Smith,” Friedan later wrote. The Jewish girls in the house were “the type that did not want to be known as Jews,” and remained silent.

“Finally, despite being only a freshman from Peoria, I spoke, urging that we open our doors to those girls fleeing persecution.”

Sadly, the petition was rejected by a large margin. But it is to Friedan’s credit that she stood up for what was right, even when it was unpopular to do so.

Rafael Medoff | Melrose Park, Pa.
director, David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

Orwellian talk

I love the statements about Palestinian moderation as reported in the Feb. 3 article “Bay Area conference ponders fate of peace process.”

In the same period that there was a so-called “truce” on Israeli targets for 2005 as declared by Fatah’s al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, Islamic Jihad and others, the Israeli Shin Bet security service reported that Israelis were subjected to the following moderation: 2,990 terror attacks, 377 Kassam rocket attacks, 684 terror alerts, 54 people killed and 406 seriously wounded.

Too bad George Orwell isn’t around to relish all the talk of moderation.

Meanwhile, your readers can put faces to the names of those who have felt the effects of Palestinian moderation by visiting www.onefamilyfund.org, a worthy organization that provides Israeli terror victims and their families the support they so desperately need to help rebuild their lives.

George Medovoy | Davis

No bashing, please

I am appalled and disappointed to see that j. still feels that it is important to print letters that bash other Jews (“An abomination,” Feb. 17 letters).

Last August, my husband and I were attacked in j.’s letters section for announcing our same-sex Jewish wedding at Congregation Beth Am. Over the next several weeks, a number of friends and strangers came to our defense and finally in an editor’s note (Sept. 23, 2005) j. apologetically claimed “to be very supportive of the LGBT community.”

Yet six months later j. prints another bigoted, homophobic, reactionary letter that calls gays an abomination and questions their Jewish faith. I don’t understand why j. believes that giving a forum to gay-bashers is a benefit to the community. Would you print similar letters that attacked and questioned the spiritual legitimacy of African American Jews or Asian American Jews or even Jewish women based on racist xenophobia or misogynistic interpretation of the Torah?

I expect a higher standard of j. than pandering to controversy for controversy’s sake.

Edwin Jones | Palo Alto

Destroy Hamas

Let’s talk about President Vladimir Putin, who invited Hamas to Moscow.

It’s a big mistake. I don’t think Putin supports Israel. He is very happy that Hamas won the election, but let me tell you this: Hamas, it’s a Nazi regime.

How was it possible that Hamas won the election? I can’t understand that. My friends, I’m for strong democracy in the Middle East. Everyone has the right for that. But Hamas has no right to come to power because Hamas seeks the destruction the state of Israel and the United States.

So in my opinion, Putin supports the Hamas Nazi machine. Hamas reminds me of Hitler. Hitler was seeking to destroy the whole world, besides killing 6 million Jews. And Hamas wants to finish his job.

Hamas has no right to kill people in our beloved Israel. Hamas has no right to be in power.

And, if Hamas wants to be in power, that group of people must recognize Israel and accept Israel as a Jewish state. Let’s tell Putin not to invite Hamas to Moscow. Instead, Hamas should be destroyed by Israel and the United States.

Paul Shkuratov | San Francisco

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.