Important lesson easily learned

I would like to commend Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi for his Torah commentary (“Without our laws, we are fish out of water,” April 20). To me, as a high school student, his points on kashrut stand out.

His column is focused on high-minded Jewish content that unites and educates, rather than commentary that’s divisive.

In his piece, Rabbi Zarchi equates the Jewish people to the fins and scales of a fish. His clear-cut and informative read is easy to comprehend for people of all branches of Judaism and of all different backgrounds.

We cannot be sustained as a people without the attachment to the roots of our culture. I liked that his piece reminds the Jewish community about our heritage, and about the laws we were given from God on how to be in the world — kashrut being one of them: turning the mundane act of eating into something sacred.

Thank you, Rabbi Zarchi, for using j. as a vehicle to promote Jewish learning; for making the effort to uplift and unite all Jews by bringing a greater understanding and literacy to ideas like kashrut — which is vital in times like these.

Katie Koyfman   |   San Francisco


An unhappy happy customer

Oakmont Produce Market in Cupertino — as mentioned in the April 20 j. article “Little Herzliya: Israeli ex-pats reshape South Bay Jewish life” — is Israeli not only in the products it stocks, but also in its customer service chutzpah.

My recent attempt to return a package of truly inedible cheese was rebuffed, since the package was “already opened.” I then recounted how my family simultaneously spit the cheese out after taking a bite, to which the clerk replied that the particular item was “very popular with other shoppers.”

Alas, my toddler is currently hooked on Bamba, Milky pudding, Pesek Zman candy and other hard-to-find Israeli snacks, so we’ll continue to shop there, with or without a store credit.

Doron Ohel   |   Alameda


Pay homage to Jews who fought for U.S.

Memorial Day will be here May 28, and it would be fitting if all Jewish institutions in the Bay Area paid tribute to those American Jews who fought in all our country’s wars.

Many gave their lives for their efforts, and few returned unscarred in some manner. Approximately 60 Jewish men and women have already been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, few Jews seem to know much about them or their predecessors.

I suggest that people contact their local institutions and urge them to commemorate these outstanding people. I have communicated with the JCCSF, but so far have received no reply. It is a perfect place for speakers and exhibits on the history of Jewish involvement in the armed forces.

The Jewish War Veterans of the USA, headquartered in Washington, D.C., not only assists Jews currently serving and returning, but provides informative traveling historical exhibits priced as low as $200. It also houses a library and small museum.

Unfortunately, it lacks the high profile and money of most other national Jewish organizations. All are welcome to join, and it is worth doing so if only to get their informative quarterly newspaper and beautifully produced annual calendar.  

Stephen Karetzky   |   San Francisco


Arab-Jewish school gives hope

I am an Israeli high school student responding to the article “Arab, Jewish students at bilingual school agree to disagree on Independence Day” (April 27).

Throughout Israel’s history, there has been increasing tension between the Israelis and their Palestinian neighbors. However, I was inspired by the concept of having a school where both Israeli Jewish and Arab students can attend and are taught two differing cultures and languages.

Just because the Jews and Arabs do not agree on many topics — such as the meaning of Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut — doesn’t mean that increasing the dialogue between the two can do any harm. In fact, if anything, it can be positive steps toward achieving peace. After all, finding peace depends foremost on our ability to respect and accept our differences, and this is precisely what this school is on the path to doing.

Emily Mendelson   |   Santa Cruz


‘If not now, when?’

This seems like a good time to pose four new questions to follow those we answered at Passover.

1. Does anyone believe that Israel and the Palestinian Authority each have the capacity to make the compromises necessary for a two-state solution?

2. Does anyone believe that Israel can maintain a Jewish majority without a two-state solution?

3. Is there anyone other than the United States that has sufficient leverage with both parties to make a two-state solution happen?

4. And as Hillel would have said:  “If not now, when?”

Mel Mogulof   |   Berkeley