Bay Area, sadly, lacks kosher restaurants

I read, with a deep sense of disappointment accompanied by a long sigh, your article regarding Bay Area restaurants serving Passover meals (“Local restaurants put own spin on Passover,” April 11). Surely I wasn’t the only one to notice that not one of these restaurants actually serves kosher food. I’m not talking crazy “glatter-than-thou” kosher, but just the fact that we don’t have any kosher restaurants, pop-up or otherwise, open during Passover. It’s all “kosher style” with a nod to people who probably could care less about Passover or Jewish dietary laws when they eat out.

Every restaurant in your article is serving non-kosher meat as part of their Passover presentation, and I highly doubt that any of them are cleaning the hametz out of the kitchen or the dining room.

I would posit that the Bay Area has fewer kosher restaurants per Jewish resident than any city of size in America. After all, in the same issue we learn that Amba, the East Bay restaurant, will soon be the only kosher meat restaurant in the East Bay. San Francisco proper has only the Sabra Grill, and San Mateo, Marin, Sonoma, Contra Costa and Solano counties have no kosher meat restaurants at all.

I apologize if I overlooked anyone. Not being a restaurateur, I have no idea what it takes to have a profitable eating establishment that also is kosher, but clearly it’s not happening much at all around here.

Howard Schwartz   |   San Rafael


Volunteer will help with German paperwork

As one of the subjects in Alexandra Wall’s cover article on German Jews’ regaining German citizenship (“German Again,” April 4), I cannot profess neutrality. But I think she did a masterful job of integrating a variety of experiences into a coherent narrative on a topic that I feel is of great importance.

I would like J. readers to know that if they have a direct ancestor (parents or grandparents; it takes only one) who lost their German citizenship between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945, then they may be eligible for repatriation. They do not need to hire an immigration lawyer who will charge a lot of money to provide the same information available from the website of the German consulate. They can begin at this link: www.tinyurl.com/germancitizen.

The needed document gathering can be daunting. Thus, I would like to volunteer my services as someone who has shepherded my own children, and now grandchildren, and other family and friends through this process. Thank you for running this story.

Miriam Zimmerman   |    San Mateo


Berlin visits connect present to past

Regarding your cover story on Jews reclaiming German citizenship, after deliberating for several years, I applied for myself and my children. We received our German citizenship and passports last year.

I made my first trip to Berlin, from where my father came, in 2010. His family actually came from Breslau, but had migrated with many Jews for supposed safety to Berlin.

I have now been visiting Berlin every spring to study German, my actual mother language that I never really spoke, but heard daily as a child. I have also reconnected with people who live in the building where my family had lived.

Many thanks for your story about this phenomenon, perhaps our latest attempt at normalization within the context of past experience.

Ernie Weir   |   Napa


BDS should be seen for what it is

Steve Zipperstein treats BDS as if it were slight disagreement over Israeli policy (“Agree to disagree on Israel, then agree to keep talking,” April 4). BDS is a hateful dagger aimed at destroying Israel. It is either based on ignorance or a hateful disparagement of Israel’s right to exist and for the Jews’ right to a sovereign state.

Arthur Cohn   |   Portola Valley


PJ Library finessed LGBT issue

The article on the alleged “rancor” over PJ Library’s opt-in policy regarding one of its titles on the subject of the LGBT community requires a more balanced response (“PJ Library draws heat for policy on book with two dads,” April 4). The reporter obviously has a point of view that casts blame on PJ Library for not hewing to a position apparently espoused by only a small percentage of its customers. According to your story, only 2,800 subscribers (nationwide) out of a total of 130,000 have “opted in” to receive the book in question. Not surprisingly, 2,500 of those subscribers are Bay Area residents.

We have the curious complaints of four or five Bay Area residents who are offended at having to opt in, and demand that those parents who prefer not to receive this particular title abandon their own principles and accept the more enlightened opinion of these politically correct mavens. One even asked for an apology from PJ Library!

The library’s spokesperson was subjected to irrelevant questions by your reporter, but managed to gracefully explain their well-thought-out and elegant decision to be sensitive to a wide range of family opinions. I think they did the right thing. I am not homophobic, but do take strong issue with those who are not respectful of the rights of others.

Allan Altman   |   Larkspur

Common ground on Israel

Regarding J Street and AIPAC, I’ve come to believe that both have many commonalities with regards to Israel (as mentioned in Arthur Slepian’s March 21 op-ed and Michael Cooper’s April 4 letter) and that both groups’ supporters want peace. And, although I identify as neither a supporter nor a detractor of either group, I’ll never forget the defense of Israel made by J Street’s Gordon Gladstone, at a sadly, blatantly, anti-Israel event at a church.

Celia Menczel   |   Walnut Creek