Does J. think traif is OK?

Since when does J. condone traif recipes in its food section?

Josie A.G. Shapiro’s column in the March 21 edition, “A last hurrah before hametz goes in hiding,” concerns some rules of ridding the house of hametz before Pesach. But there the tribute to kashrut ends. Her first recipe for risotto calls for, among other ingredients, “simmering chicken stock” and “freshly grated Parmesan” cheese. Maybe this recipe was just lazy gourmet editing. In any case, it’s traif.

Jewish food writers for Jewish periodicals ought to know the tenets of kashrut, such as the prohibition of mixing dairy and meat — even in an area like ours where many Jews dine on pulled pork and lobster tails. So if last week’s recipe for Caramelized Tomato Risotto with Peas had called for “simmering vegetable stock,” I wouldn’t have written this letter.

Karen Pliskin   |   Oakland

Editor’s note: Josie A.G. Shapiro realized her error too late and J.’s ordinarily meticulous editors missed this one. J. does not condone traif.


Does J. think censorship is OK?

I am disgusted by the action of the “Brooklyn-based Jewish newspaper” in firing its “Israel-based online editor” for denouncing the haredi Jews’ protests against the new Israeli law requiring some of them to serve in the Israeli military as other Israeli Jews have been required to do (“Jewish paper fires N.Y. columnist for blasting haredim,” March 14). And I am equally disgusted by your paper’s implicit endorsement of the contemptible action of the Brooklyn paper.

Yori Yanover wrote what cannot be denied — that the haredi Jews, in all their self-righteousness, exploit the resources of Israel and Israel’s citizens while offering nothing back to the society that has given them hospitality and, in some cases, refuge.

There is nothing erroneous, false or libelous in his true statement that these people insist that others put their lives on the line to defend them while they hide behind the shield of their religiosity. Maybe I won’t bother reading your newspaper anymore.

Richard M. Abrams   |   Berkeley


Does J. think repeating lies is OK?

It’s not surprising that Arab propaganda states that Benjamin Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister who made the signing of a peace agreement contingent on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. It’s not surprising that anti-Israel media (like the New York Times) repeats this lie. But it’s quite surprising that J. does it, too (in the JTA article “Arab League rejects Israel as Jewish state,” March 14).

Years before Netanyahu raised the “Jewish state” issue, the administration of Ariel Sharon publicly and prominently insisted that Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is a requirement for peace. The same demand was made under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2007.

Much earlier than that, in November of 1947, U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 called for the creation of independent Jewish and Arab states.

There is nothing new in the requirement of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Anastasia Glikshtern   |   San Francisco


Equating questions with blackmail?

I was intrigued by Sam Liron’s letter (“Misguided about AIPAC’s role,” March 21) in which he censures U.S. Jews who criticize Israeli government policies. He states: “one must differentiate between ‘support’ and ‘conditional support.’ While the first provides a helpful hand, the second is nothing short of veiled blackmail.”

I see a difference between the people and the current government of Israel. The right-wing parties control 65 out of 120 seats, barely a majority. Would Sam see Israeli Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog’s criticisms as “veiled blackmail”?

I believe that one must differentiate between “unquestioning support” and “questioning support.” Sam, I ask you, when have Jews ever been unquestioning?

Paul Drexler   |   San Francisco


J Street is no AIPAC

AIPAC and J Street have absolutely nothing in common and do not speak the same language. For Arthur Slepian, who is clearly pro-J Street, to suggest otherwise is dishonest and disingenuous (“J Street and AIPAC speak the same language on Israel,” March 21). His goal, in my view, is to diminish AIPAC and to foster the agenda of J Street. J Street may be pro-peace, but they are certainly not pro-Israel.

J Street has distinguished itself by: regularly defaming Israel, employing double standards when judging Israel policy, drawing moral equivalencies between Jewish defenders of Israel and terror groups like Hamas, promoting one-sided narratives that demonize and delegitimize Israel, excluding historical context, and promoting speakers, programs and groups who are blatantly anti-Israel.

J Street refused to condemn the U.N. Goldstone report, praised Jimmy Carter’s book accusing Israel of apartheid, and accused Israel of acting against America’s strategic interests, code for Israel-bashers.

Most importantly, J Street believes that the main obstacle to peace is “settlements and occupation” rather than the Palestinians’ perennial rejection of Israel’s right to exist and their continued commitment to Israel’s destruction. Accordingly, J Street regularly blames Israel for Palestinian aggression, and insists that if Israel make more concessions, peace will follow.

J Street’s attacks on mainstream American Jewish organizations are designed to neutralize these organizations in order to foster their anti-Israel agenda. And now, we have a new J Street tactic, as evidenced by Slepian’s op-ed, that should aptly be called “divide and conquer.”

Barry E. Gustin   |   Berkeley


Big thumbs up for ‘Wrestling’

Dan Pine’s “What do you think of Israel? One-man play offers perspectives” (March 14) inspired us to attend Aaron Davidman’s “Wrestling Jerusalem.” Davidman’s theatrical expression of the vast spectrum of Jewish and Palestinian narratives about the Middle East was the most informative, powerful, inclusive and fair we’ve ever heard from one person’s mouth.

Equally impressive is how Davidman has lived his life — discovering people’s parallel but different life experiences and worldviews not by reading textbooks or editorial opinions but by meeting the people face-to-face, here and overseas.

Seeing this distinctive performance would be a boon to families, students, educators and policymakers seriously interested in understanding and humanizing all the people conflicted about the Israeli-Palestinian relationship — the entry point to a new life together, beyond one-sided blame, beyond war.

Aaron Davidman takes Jewish theater to a new level of practical relevance, urging us all to become better listeners in the spirit of the Shema, listening to everyone, excluding no one, living as if we truly are neighbors forever — echad, one.

Libby and Len Traubman   |   San Mateo