Inadequate response

General Motors’ Dec. 22 response to JTA correspondent Edwin Black’s expose about GM’s complicity with the Nazi regime is woefully inadequate.

While GM asserts that it “deeply regrets any role the company or its vehicles played in the Nazi era,” it studiously refuses to acknowledge that it in fact played any such role.

Yet what other than assisting the Nazis was GM doing when it continued to own and operate its Adam Opel A.G. subsidiary in Germany (a) in 1935, when it (and the world) knew of the Nuremberg laws eliminating Jewish rights, (b) in 1938, when Germany annexed Austria and the Sudetenland, and Kristallnacht destroyed Jewish life and property across Germany, and (c) in 1939, when Germany invaded Poland? And what, other than assisting the Nazis, was GM doing when (d) throughout the entire war, it was the sole stockholder of Opel?

There’s nothing inconsistent with GM coming clean on past practices and also asserting, as it does in its response, that today it “is firmly committed to basic human rights.”

Indeed, in this era of increased concern about corporate responsibility, one would think GM would realize that coming clean makes the best business sense.

Adam M. Cole | San Francisco

Another source

I read your Dec. 15 article about the closing of Bob and Bob and wish to point out that there is another very important source of Jewish merchandise — the synagogue Judaica shop.

At Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame we have an absolutely “spectacular” (the term used most often by our visitors) shop. We stock a large selection of Judaica for the home, all lifecycle events and gifts for every occasion. We carry the work of many wonderful artists, both Israeli and American. We even gift-wrap.

We have plenty of parking, no rent and salaries since we are all volunteers. All funds go directly to Sholom Women to support our scholarships, camperships, Israel trip for our confirmands, programs and events for both our congregation, the community and women of the Reform movement.

Our clientele is mostly young, our merchandise is eclectic, and our business is booming. We are providing a real need and service to our temple and our community.

Bernadine Starr, co-chair
Shari Carruthers, president

Sholom Women

Don’t replace them

I read with dismay about the closing of bob & bob in Palo Alto (Dec. 15 j.), but am buoyed by a sense of hope that they will relocate and, along with Afikomen, Alef Bet, and Dayenu, will continue a fine tradition.

Along with Ellen & Shirley Bob, the owners of the other Judaica stores (Jerry Derblich, Nurit Sabadosh and Hiroko Nogami-Rosen) are wonderful people who put their heart and soul into serving the Jewish community.

Do not abandon them.

There is a dangerous trend away from small, independently owned stores in our neighborhoods. If we neglect these businesses, we will only be left with huge, impersonal mega-stores and the Internet.

The Internet is a wonderful resource and a great tool, but it should not replace the warmth, service and knowledge provided by these wonderful people. Please support your local Judaica stores all year long.

Mickie & Eran Caspi | Newton, Mass.
artist and manager, Caspi Cards & Art

More challahs, please

I am reading the recent letters sent to j. about Dan Pine’s Dec. 8 column, and I just want to add this: I very often need to bring a loaf of challah to the temple on Saturday morning and Noah’s is the only place around that has challahs (that I know of). The only problem is that I need to order the challahs 2-3 days ahead of time and if I forget, there just won’t be any challahs.

I realize that they may not sell a whole lot of them but they could at least bake a few for the Jewish crowd — it would be good business.

Michelle Finton | Rocklin

Hostility, naïveté

The praise for President Carter with which both Allen Dershowitz and Michael Lerner begin their diametrically opposed reviews of his recent book (Dec. 8 j.) suggests the need for another look at the Carter presidency.

Carter is rightfully remembered for negotiating a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. However, this effort was a reversal of his original October 1979 policy calling for a multilateral peace conference including Israel, her Arab antagonists and the Soviets.

President Anwar Sadat’s dramatic trip to Jerusalem the following month was an attempt to prevent this dangerous exercise in Arab and Soviet rejectionism.

While Carter’s willingness to change direction is to his credit, his presidency must also be remembered for the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran by the Iranian radicals (including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , who is still with us) and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, milestones on the road to 9/11.

After the invasion Carter stated remarkably that he had learned more about the Soviet Union in the previous two weeks than in the first three years of his administration (which would include the time of his inviting their participation in a conference involving the future of Israel).

Carter’s hostility and naïveté are nothing new.

Steve Astrachan | Pleasant Hill

Let’s remember …

For those who believe Jimmy Carter that the obstacle preventing peace is the so-called “occupation” by Israel, let’s remember:

• Hamas, Hezbollah and the PLO/Fatah maintain charters which call for Israel’s destruction.

• Hamas has repeatedly said they’ll never recognize Israel’s right to exist; in fact, this very issue has prevented the Palestinians from forming a unity government.

• Hamas and Hezbollah are fundamentalist Muslim groups. As such they adhere to teachings from the Koran, which states that the Muslim judgment day will only come after the Jews and Christians are killed. These are non-negotiable beliefs.

So, if I lived in Concord (as an example), and there was a group committed to my destruction, who would never negotiate with me, would never accept my existence, would continue to send suicide bombers and rockets to murder me, would accept the cutoff of international aid and suffer terrible financial hardships rather than accept my right to exist, would never sign a peace treaty with me, why would I want them to live without restriction next door, say in Walnut Creek?

That’s exactly what Carter suggests Israel should do.

Let him live in “Concord” for a while and see if he feels the same way.

Dan Calic | Menlo Park

Long, long ago

Please allow me one correction of your recent j. article about me and the concert of music from my opera, “Pagiel & Bathsheva.” I feel it’s important to clarify that I became a ba’al tshuvah in 1968, not “recently” as stated in the article.

Aaron Blumenfeld | Richmond