Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

‘Times change’

Regarding Dan Pine’s Dec. 8 column (“Candy cane bagels? Sounds twisted”), I don’t think I could have said it better myself, and by the way, thanks for the personal compliments.

The truth is we could not, and did not, mandate that the Noah’s stores keep their Jewish persona intact after our departure. During my tenure as chairman of the company, however, being “unapologetically” Jewish was certainly a central part of our mission. I also believe it was an important component of the success of the business.

Times change and most good things come to an end at some point, but I believe that the Jewish people are eternal. Where the original Noah’s Bagels management left off vis-à-vis the work of fostering Jewish pride, some other proud Jews will continue in the future.

Chanukah someach.

Noah Alper | Berkeley
founder, Noah’s Bagels

‘Not the same’

Reading Dan Pine’s Dec. 8 column on the changes in Noah’s Bagels reminded me that a few years ago I went into the Potrero Hill Noah’s in San Francisco and asked if they carried the Jewish Bulletin (now j.). The clerk picked up the New York Times and innocently asked, “Is this it?”

I couldn’t believe I heard that. It sounded like an old joke, but he really did say it. That, the treif and the banana-walnut bagels made me realize it was not the same store anymore.

Kevin Levine | San Francisco

Thinking questioned

I’d lay dollars to (kosher) donuts that the Dec. 8 column by Dan Pine will draw an overwhelming response from your readers. I was in the Westfield Mall last night and found a holiday gingerbread house covered with blue stars of David, frosting chanukiot, and gold foiled gelt.

What are they thinking?

Joyce Schriebman | San Francisco

No Jewishness

Why are you disappointed in Noah’s Christmas ad? Ever since Noah Alper sold, the chain has definitely changed.

As a Jew I felt proud of them for closing on Passover and not allowing meat into the store. Noah’s now has nothing to do with Jewishness.

Big deal — so they have shmears. I see those everywhere, and bagels are everywhere.

The Noah’s on Chestnut was, I believe, the first one opened in the city. I stopped going in there when it became so non-Jewish. Also, you don’t see lines there anymore.

Janet Maslow | San Francisco

Lies, lies, lies

Klansmen, Nazis and Islamic leaders all gather to lie about history. How long have these murderers been doing this to Jews? Go backwards in history — the Durban anti-Zionist conference; Neo-Nazis and white supremacists; Saudis blaming 9/11 on Jews; Father Coughlin, Henry Ford and Lindbergh lying about Jews daily; the Holocaust — the ultimate lie; the Dreyfus affair; the pogroms and blood libels (Jews drink Christian children’s blood, oy); book burnings in France, Germany, etc.; the Spanish Inquisition, the Roman conquest changing the name of Judea to Palestine; and back to biblical liars Amalek, Laban and Esau.

And now this disgusting conference of utter fabrication in Iran.

How many days, years go by where we have to listen to the lies of terrorists like Zarqawi, Assad, Saddam, Nasrallah, Sadr, Arafat, the imams and muftis spewing daily in their mosques and palaces, and worse, they always end their diatribes with a call to action, to murder and destroy all Jewish women and children, like Haman in the Book of Esther, in old Persia/Iran.

These lies are actually a cover-up for the thievery, murder and dishonesty that the liars themselves practice daily.

Robert Harris | Chicago

‘More accepting’

While I commend j. for writing a generally intelligent, positive and balanced Dec. 8 editorial on the Conservative movement’s recent decision to ordain openly homosexual rabbis, I must raise an important point.

Your editorial acknowledges the Jewish Theological Seminary but fails to even mention the University of Judaism’s Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, the other Conservative rabbinic school in the United States.

The Ziegler School has always been an easier, more progressive, and more accepting place than JTS for closeted gays and lesbians to become rabbis. This is due to the deeply human and menschlich attitudes of the school’s dean, Rabbi Bradley Artson, and the U.J.’s rector and author of the teshuvah allowing the ordination of gays and lesbians, Rabbi Elliot Dorff.

The U.J. is also already accepting openly homosexual applicants for rabbinical school, and instituted that policy as soon as the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards passed a teshuvah allowing them to do so. JTS has yet to decide what to do.

Though only 400 miles to the south, j. seems to have neglected the Ziegler School’s contribution of a progressive voice and a great many first-rate rabbis to the Jewish world.

Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman | San Francisco

A gift to all

Thank you for such a lovely cover story on the three centenarians (Nov. 17 j.). These women, and others like them, are the real “survivors” — who needs reality television when you have Greta, Erna and Rose?

They have navigated through the calm and rough seas of life and have arrived at 100 with their generous and gracious spirits intact. They have so much to teach us.

May we always remember these elders whose own strength, hope and gratitude is a gift to all of us.

Dr. David Werdegar | San Francisco
president/CEO, Institute on Aging

Not a Jewish value?

The Jewish Orthodox community is growing by leaps and bounds because it’s the “real thing.” Teaching, promoting and accepting any form of homosexuality (Dec. 8 j) in the synagogues is wrong, in my opinion, because that’s what it says in the Torah.

I believe “political correctness” and the “disease” of liberalism, which tolerates almost everything “so long as it feels good,” isn’t a Jewish value.

All Jews have the right to choose their behaviors, like eating pork, stealing, intermarrying, desecrating Shabbat and homosexuality, etc., whether they are inborn and natural urges or not. Nevertheless, I believe they’re still not Jewish values, and saying otherwise is misrepresenting Judaism.

Proper Jewish education can easily prove the Torah was given by God at Sinai, which millions witnessed. No Jew is 100 percent observant (not even Moses, or yours truly) or should be offended by the “truth” of God’s Torah or feel that it’s “racist,” homophobic, sexist, hateful, divisive of Jews, or feel like they are being “bashed,” etc.

We’re commanded to love our fellow Jew as ourselves … and in God’s eyes each Jew is like a precious diamond and the Torah is what polishes us to shine and connect us to God.

Aaron Seruya | San Francisco