PJ Library in own backyard

Thank you for the great article on the national PJ Library program (“3 million books and counting, PJ Library eyes expansion,” June 15). It truly captured the impact of this free Jewish book and music program for families with young children.

However, it didn’t mention that we have this program right here in the Bay Area! We have over 8,000 subscribed children in the San Francisco, East Bay and Silicon Valley regions. Any Bay Area family with kids under 7 can sign up for the free monthly books at our website, www.pjlibrary.org.

It’s an amazing resource funded by our local federations and the Jim Joseph Foundation that shouldn’t be missed!

Vivien Braly   |   San Francisco

PJ Library Program Coordinator


Two weddings, one anniversary

Bravo to the Conservative movement for allowing same-sex marriage ceremonies to be performed (“Conservative rabbis OK rituals for same-sex weddings,” June 8).

My husband and I were married almost 13 years ago under the Reform movement by a rabbi in a Reform synagogue. It was the best day of our lives!

During the short period that California issued licenses for same sex-couples, we went to City Hall to be “legally” married. Although a great day, it does not come close to the magical day when we were married in a synagogue by a rabbi. We only celebrate the date of the Jewish marriage as the more important and beautiful of the two. By the way, we have been together for over 18 years now.

Alan Ferrara   |   San Francisco


Damaging to Jewish values

Rabbi Donniel Hartman says it’s OK to prevent illegal African infiltrators from entering Israel, but once they’ve entered, even if illegally, Jewish values require Israel to welcome them, protect them and provide for them (“Jewish values must guide moral response to Israel’s migrant issue,” op-ed June 8).

Although hospitality is indeed a Jewish value, what Hartman is talking about is not Judaism but a very different ideology which defines people not by their merits but by their needs.

To Hartman, the character of the infiltrators and whether they have anything positive to offer is irrelevant. The only thing that matters to him is that they have needs, and when people have needs, Jews are obliged to fill those needs no matter who the people are or where they’re from.

Although Judaism recognizes the ultimate humanity of all people, Israel is not required to absorb or assimilate people who have nothing in common with Jews or Judaism, who come from cultures that are deeply antagonistic to Judaism, and who enter Israel illegally just to take advantage of Jewish generosity. Trying to absorb such people weakens Jewish identity, detracts from Israel’s historic purpose and damages Jewish values rather than fulfilling them.

Martin Wasserman   |   Sunnyvale


Gardens party marred

I don’t know about you, and I don’t agree with everything the government of Israel does, but when I attend a celebration of Israel such as Israel in the Gardens, I don’t expect to hear the lead singer of the featured band shout out “End the Occupation” and various slogans against the government of Israel.

Joel Ackerman   |    Richmond


J. is not a tabloid

It disturbed me to read the article about Mark Zuckerberg not being a big tipper (“Honeymooning Zuckerberg reportedly not a big tipper,” June 1), which ran right next to his wedding photo.

J. is not the National Enquirer. This small article was not news — it was sensationalism and not fit for j.

Nina Weil   |   Burlingame


JVP ‘cherry-picks’

The Jewish Voice for Peace claims to “support the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination.”

The website, however, documents Jews voicing support only for Palestinians. JVP, a self-declared human rights group, partners with the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which advocates one Palestinian state and no Israel.

People may disagree with yet respect and even learn from fair-minded critiques. But JVP/BDS omits information that could promote better understanding of the two conflicting narratives. For example, JVP/BDS:

• Condemns Israel’s “separation barrier” without mentioning the reasons why or the dramatic decrease in Palestinian terrorist attacks.

• Blames Israel for the 2009 Gaza incursion without mentioning the reasons why — the years and rockets (7,000-plus) fired into Israel from Gaza.

• Provides poster slogans like “Another Jew opposed to Israeli attacks on civilians” but none of Palestinians opposing attacks on restaurants, buses and schools.

• Claims the conflict “is about territory not religion,” discounting “Allah is great” cheers after killing Israelis, chants of Christians as “infidels,” and heavenly rewards for Palestinian religious martyr-murderers.

• Labels as “Palestinian land” the to-be-negotiated territories the U.N. considers “disputed.”

JVP can cherry-pick references to Jewish tradition, but it cannot conceal its animosity toward Israel.

June Brott  |  Oakland