Honoring Israel

I wish to commend the staff of j. for the excellent supplement honoring the 60th birthday of the state of Israel.

The recognition of the six Bay Area residents who participated in helping the state of Israel during its formative period is most appropriate.

For the information of the readership of j., I am proud to call Dr. Bernard Kaufman, Jr., Jacques Torczyner and Rabbi Jack Frankel not only as personal friends but members of the Board of Directors of the Northern California Chapter of the Zionist Organization of America.

As you know, the Zionist organization of America is the only national Jewish organization that has been committed to the return to Zion of the Jewish people beginning in 1897.

I will not be around for the 100th birthday of the state of Israel but hope that j. will devote a special issue to Israel on the attainment of its century of existence.

Michael J. Franzblau, MD Larkspur

National Zionist Organization of America

U.C.’s Jewish leaders

We are excited that 
Mark Yudof has been named University of California president. Last week’s j. story mentioned Gene Block, the new Jewish chancellor at UCLA. Closer to home, U.C. Santa Cruz also appointed a new Jewish chancellor last year, George Blumenthal.

Blumenthal is a member of Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos and has attended Shabbat dinners at Santa Cruz Hillel. We look forward to working with President Yudof and Chancellor Blumenthal to support a proud and active Jewish campus life.

Rick Zinman | Santa Cruz

Executive Director, Santa Cruz Hillel

Proud sponsors

I am happy for the opportunity to correct the report by j. of the visit of Gershon Baskin and Hanna Siniora of IPCRI (Can we talk?: Parleys with Hamas arn’t unusual for activists,” March 21). The 10-city U.S. tour of Baskin and Siniora was co-sponsored by Brit Tzedek V’Shalom. In the S.F. Bay Area, indeed, the Dialogue Group was also a co-sponsor. The S.F. Bay Area chapter of Brit Tzedek convened a dinner and a presentation at Kehilla Synagogue in Piedmont for the two journalists and peace activists on March 12.

Baskin and Siniora are testimony to the strong working relationships among Israelis and Palestinians that Brit Tzedek, the Dialogue Group, other organizations and many individuals in the Jewish community salute and wish to promote.

Molly Freeman | San Francisco

SF Bay Area Chapter, Brit Tzedek V’Shalom

‘Brave, articulate voice’

We enjoyed reading your article, “Lady in Red” about Gina Waldman’s traditional garb that created a stir during her testimony before the UN Human Rights Council.

Gina is a brave, articulate voice for the over 850,000 Jewish refugees that were forced to leave Arab countries because they were Jewish.

We encourage your readers to visit the JIMENA.org Web site to learn more about this very important topic. They should support HR 185, which is up for consideration in the U.S. Congress.

Morey and Barbara Schapira Sunnyvale

Editor’s note: HR 185 passed in the House on April 1.

Reliving a nightmare

The more the world changes, the more things stay the same.

The worst memories of the nightmare of my childhood growing up Jewish in then the Soviet Union was the time when the Passover celebration took place each spring with the Russian hoods following me on my one mile walk home from my elementary school, yelling loudly and clearly remarks such as: “You Jews are stealing small Russian children to drain their blood by rolling their bodies in the barrels with sharp nails so you can make the Passover matzo bread with their blood.”

Each year I went through this fear of hell. As you can imagine, the Passover holiday was not one of my favorite times in Vilnius, the capital of the Lithuanian Republic of the Soviet Union.

I was shocked to see that nothing has changed for the past 40 years in Novosibirsk. And my deja vu nightmares just hit me again as I was reading the “Blood libel hits Siberian city” article in the March 28 j., about the continued and well established tradition of the anti-Semitism in Russia.

Lina Broydo | Los Altos Hills

Bad taste?

We found the March 21 Purim editorial cartoon in such poor taste we kept the j. away from our children. To make light of anyone’s misfortune is contemptible, to even suggest that all Palestinians take pleasure from murder is slanderous and heinous.

It is extremely important to support peace. To do otherwise is just shameful. Does your paper stand for tikkun olam or divisiveness?

Please use better judgment.

Amy Zimmer | Sebastopol

Giving to girls

Kudos and thanks to Stacey Palevsky for revisiting Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing!, a program of Moving Traditions, one year into the program’s Bay Area launch (“No boys allowed — it’s a ‘girl thing,'”March 14). Ms. Palevsky wrote about the program last January when it was just a visionary dream, and now over 100 local girls are meeting monthly to celebrate, learn, share and grow — joining more than 4,000 girls who have participated in the program nationally.

We are poised to double our growth in 2008, and this success has been, in part, because of the attention we’ve received in the Jewish press. I also want to thank the visionary and dedicated staff, lay leaders, group leaders, parents and girls who have pioneered this innovative program at their institutions.

Lastly, I would like to correct one important omission concerning our funding. In 2006, an anonymous donor provided the seed money to bring Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! to the Bay Area, and this generous donor continues to support our efforts to keep girls in grades 6-12 healthy and Jewish. Donors, clergy, school directors, group leaders, parents and girls are encouraged to learn more about the program at www.roshhodesh.org.

Corinne Taylor-Cyngiser

San Francisco Bay Area Coordinator, Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing!

No more restraint

The sham of Israel-Palestinian peace talks continues to be all about “the process”of talking, while the PA concurrently stockpiles weapons to escalate attacks. Palestinians now launch 50 rockets daily into the Israeli town of Sderot. Israel has showed “restraint” in the face of more than 1,200 missile attacks since its 2005 withdrawal from Gaza.

On 3/1, Israel’s patience was finally exhausted and self-defense attacks against Gaza began. Senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat told the AFP news agency: “The negotiations are buried under the houses that were destroyed in Gaza. The peace process has been destroyed because of the aggression and the crimes that have been committed.”(While never mentioning Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel!)

Palestinian belligerence against Israel is part of the openly stated dogma: glorify suicide bombers; destroy Israel; all land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean is “Palestine”(as shown on all school maps authorized by “moderate”Fatah terrorists).

The longer the Palestinian Authority continues its duplicitous peace talks, with no defensive response from Israel, the more Jews the Palestinians kill — with no objection from the “international community.”

Fred Korr | Oakland

Stand up for Israel

I don’t live in Sderot, and few of us, from the comfort of our living rooms in the Bay Area, can imagine how awful life must be for those enduring the daily Qassam barrages. This past week, two children were seriously injured by Qassam fire in Sderot.

Yet, I was heartened to read that Prime Minister Olmert appears to have learned one of the central lessons of the Winnograd report, when he stated that “there is no way to put an absolute end to the terrorism in a single blow,” and that “rage is not a plan.”

I have no doubt that the IDF will need to step up its military pressure on the Hamas regime in Gaza, including strikes on the terrorist leadership. As difficult as it is for us to be patient and as angry as we might be, the best thing we in the Bay Area can do for Israel now is to show resolve and encouragement for Israel’s government and military leaders as they consider their next moves.

Our community owes Israel nothing less.

Steve Lipman | Foster City

‘Justice can wait’

People around the world are jumping up and down about the findings of the Winograd Commission, skewering the performance of the IDF in the 2006 Lebanon War, and swiping at the Israeli government.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were such a thing as any kind of public commission in any Arab country, examining the actions of their leaders and their military for anything?

That the notion of having a rational, orderly public inquiry in an Arab country is so unthinkable is a scathing indictment of governments throughout the Arab world. It therefore pains me to hear and read about Jews calling for justice for Palestinians and ignoring the vicious attacks on Jewish civilians everywhere. Worse, when these attacks occur, Arabs rejoice.

Clearly two wrongs don’t make a right, but when one side screams for both justice and Jewish blood, it’s obvious to me that justice can wait until the death threats are eliminated, one way or another.

Desmond Tuck | Menlo Park