Proud of Maccabi Games

Congratulations to the JCC volunteer community and the athletes on a fabulous Jewish experience. The Maccabi Games did much more than create sporting competition. It was a coming together of people and organizations in a collaborative effort. Most touching was the Opening Ceremony with Richard Goldman and his granddaughter lighting the torch, a poignant reminder of continuing the generations of tzedakah. 

So often we amass for emergency situations; we gather to be silent, or to raise our voices. Instead, just being at any aspect of the games was a celebration of Jewish activism at its best.

At Trader Joe’s I saw many people, all buying snacks for arriving athletes. I mingled with host families who don’t have kids at home any longer, or don’t even have kids yet. Everyone was happy to make a statement of volunteering in some way. A young child waiting at the JCC on arrival day said, “Dad, when are our athletes coming?” Emphasis on the word “our.”

Because of the work of the JCC, the donors and the entire volunteer community, clearly the Maccabi Games did just that: They became our own.

Sherri W. Morr   |   San Francisco


‘Rachel’ was overblown

I had the pleasure  of attending a majority of the films offered by this year’s San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, mostly attending in Berkeley. While quality inevitably varied, the overall range was an invigorating contribution to Jewish cultural experience. I never would have seen most of these films, including some wonderful ones from Israel.

It is with this in mind it seems to me that the controversy over the film Rachel has been overblown. Having had the good fortune (it seems) to watch the film in Berkeley, without the controversial speakers, I can say that it struck me as a fair and even-handed documentary. Rachel’s death clearly comes across as an accident. While her ISM colleagues are clearly anti-Israel, the film is not.

It seems to me that it is best to have forums for vigorous debates about Jewish politics that expose the true breadth of opinion that exists and has always existed within the Jewish community; this is part of a vibrant and engaging culture, and is certainly a wonderful part of Israeli Jewish culture. The Jewish Film Festival should be lauded for creating an opportunity for these discussions here in the Bay Area.

Ron H. Feldman   |   Berkeley


‘Incredible’ PJ Library

Last Sunday, at the Corte Madera Barnes and Noble, I attended a wonderful storytime sponsored by the PJ Library (“Jewish Bedtime Stories and Songs for Families”). To my great surprise, the program was way more than just a “storytime.” Led by the popular children’s entertainer Mimi Greisman, the storytime included a PJ Library story, songs, puppets, parachute games, a craft and kosher snacks. There were about 65 adults and children enjoying a Sunday morning infused with Jewish pride and children’s laughter.

I am a proud member of the PJ Library and, though we have never been asked for anything in return, I realized how much my children and I gain from their programs. What a generous organization to be a member of. If you are not yet a member and have or know a young child who would enjoy getting a surprise book in the mail each month — without any fees or obligations — go to www.pjlibrary.org and sign up today.

Thank you to the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Federations of the Greater Bay Area for funding such an incredible organization.

Gittel Rice   |   San Rafael


Only part of the story

The Associated Press news clip on evictions in East Jerusalem (“Families evicted from E. Jerusalem home,” Aug. 7) included only part of the story. Yes, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the houses were Jewish-owned. The article does not mention, however, that the evicted families were removed because they refused to pay their rent. Other Arab families, who were abiding by their leases, continue to live peacefully in the houses.

Even in the United States (and probably in most parts of the world), you can get evicted if you don’t live up to the terms of your lease. For the United Nations and the U.S. State Department to get involved in this problem is completely inappropriate.

Dan Fendel   |   Piedmont


Ignoring history

Alfred Lerner’s letter (Aug. 14) is not an “opposite political spectrum” view, but the epitome of a derogatory anti-Israel statement, which is so common to some elements of the Bay Area community who are eager to blame Israel for the Mideast conflict and ignore history.

It never stops to amaze me how some of our brethren can become so virulently anti-Israel. What causes them to think that they are morally superior, and thus entitled to tell Israel how to conduct its business, and talk down to Israelis? Why are they putting down the ADL, whose struggle through the years enables all Jews to enjoy many of the privileges that this country can offer?

The same people have ignored Israel’s fight for survival for over 100 years. Yes, the Jewish-Arab conflict did not start in 1947 or ’67 like the Palestinians would want you to believe. Read John Rothmann’s book “Icon of Evil” — it will give you a factual history lesson, and may change your myopic views. In addition, the Palestinians’ declaration for “a two-state solution” is a Johnny-Come-Lately and lip service for the Western world’s consumption. Do not fall for it, like ex-President Clinton did, just to be disappointed when Camp David negotiations collapse.

Sam Liron   |   Foster City


Heart and soul

The idea of giving up Judea/Samaria [West Bank] and Jerusalem is tantamount to surgically removing the heart and soul of the Jewish homeland.

The notion of turning it over to people whose leader has flatly stated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and continues to demand the right of return is the equivalent of committing national suicide.

Apologetic Jews who are desperate to appease those who relish Israel’s destruction believe reciprocal gestures will come if Israel acts unilaterally, yet not a single public statement has emanated from the leadership of the PA or Hamas, which suggests anything other than the elimination of Israel. The only difference between them is tactical. One promotes terror, the other promotes ‘diplomacy.’ A simple examination of their charters, actions and public statements confirms there is no interest in peaceful coexistence with a Jewish state. Quite the opposite in fact.

Jews are acceptable, but only as a minority in an Arab dominated state. If we do not speak for ourselves, who will speak for us?

Dan Calic   |   San Ramon


Cause and effect

Benjamin Netanyahu made a major mistake when he failed to assert that the land of Israel is the rightful possession of the Jews and of no other people, and when he accepted the principle of a Palestinian state, regardless of how many conditions he attached to it.

What the scoffers don’t understand is that it’s precisely because of Israel’s rejection of its religious heritage and its denial of any relationship with the Almighty that the Arabs are aroused to contempt and hatred against us, see themselves as more deserving of the land than we are, and are convinced that they will eventually drive us out.

Martin Wasserman   |   Sunnyvale