‘We owe Israel our support’

Like most in our community, I was utterly shocked and devastated to learn the sad news that Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel were found murdered near Hebron. Words fail me. Yet, somehow, words are all I have.

In the coming days there will be an outpouring of grief for the families and their friends by all who rightfully condemn this senseless act of brutality. In due course, Israel will react and hopefully those that carried out this heinous act will be found and appropriately punished, and those that supported this calamity will face vengeance as well.

Despite predictable calls for restraint, it is the measured, systematic uprooting of this evil by Israel’s security services that will have the longest-lasting effect.

We should be measured, only in the sense that this is what civilized people do, and while predictable calls for “restraint” vex and annoy many of us, punishing those who supported, condoned and carried out this barbaric act is what civilized people do.

We owe Israel our support in these tragic times. May the families find comfort among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Klal Yisrael stands with you in this tragic time.

Steve Lipman   |   Foster City


Courage, faith of victim’s mother

From what I’ve read, seen and heard about Rachel Frenkel, mother of Naftali, I feel so fortunate to belong to the same faith as her. Her courage, her faith, her hope and her eloquence, in light of what she is going through, fills me with confidence the Jewish people will survive and prosper with people like her in our midst.

I wish her and all the families of the three boys, and all of am Yisrael, a long life.

Jeremy Smith   |   Berkeley


Why was Obama silent?

For the 18 days following the kidnapping of the Jewish boys in Israel (one an American citizen), President Obama did not publicly utter one peep of protest about the heinous crime. Not only that, but his administration will continue to fund the regime of Hamas, the perpetrators of the murders. Why?

Scott Abramson   |   San Mateo


No solidarity for Israel

On July 7 in front of the Israeli Consulate there was a demonstration of 300 Arab thugs and 30 Jews (see story, 2).  Where were the Jewish organizations, the big machers, the rabbis (who marched, by the way, in the Pride parade) and the rest of the Jews from San Francisco and the Bay Area? How sad; shame on you. The only representative who attended was from the ZOA. Thank you, Sam.

Lea Orwitz   |   Hillsborough


Stop cycle of violence

If the awful events of recent weeks tell us anything, it is that the cycle of violence must stop, and that the initiative must be wrested from the extremists and fanatics on both sides. Israel can live in peace and realize its dream only when there is a definitive resolution of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, a solution that ends the nearly half-century-long occupation and affirms the sovereignty, dignity and humanity of both peoples. In our hearts, we all know this is true. If you agree, I urge you to join with us at J Street, which represents pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans, and speak out for peace.

Sam Zuckerman   |   Berkeley


Horrific murders of youth

The horrific murder of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel was only the latest Palestinian attack targeting young Israelis. Palestinian terrorists massacred 22 Israeli children at a Ma’alot elementary school in 1974, and 13 Israeli children near Tel Aviv in 1978. After the Palestinian Authority rejected peace in 2000, Palestinians kidnapped Koby Mandell and Yosef Ish-Ran, ages 13 and 14, crushed their skulls and smeared their blood throughout the cave where they dumped their bodies. A Palestinian sniper killed 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass in her stroller. Palestinians shot Danielle Shefi, 5, in her parents’ bedroom, and Noam and Matan Ohayon, 4 and 5, cradled in their mother Revital’s arms in their kibbutz nursery, with Matan clutching his pacifiers. Palestinians knifed Yoav, Elad and Hadas Fogel, 11, 4 and 3 months, in their beds and crib. Palestinian bombers killed Hodaya Asraf, 13, a girl who “loved to draw leaves”; Shani Avi-Tzedek, a precocious teen; Galila Bugala, 11, an Ethiopian immigrant; and Gadi Iskov, whose father, a rescue worker, recognized his son’s severed hand in the rubble, wristwatch still attached.

The murder by Israelis of a young Palestinian, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, is equally abominable. Palestinian barbarism doesn’t justify Jewish barbarism.

Stephen A. Silver   |   San Francisco


Pessimism easier than action

I attended the J Street National Summit a month ago — what an amazing opportunity right here in the Bay Area to listen and learn from Middle East experts.

Despite all the discouraging news in the region, I came away with a renewed commitment to work actively with J Street in support of a two-state solution and peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The recent kidnapping and killing of Israeli teens in the West Bank underscore the urgency of establishing peace.

Here are some things we can all do: Continue to call on the United States to release a detailed peace plan; step up our opposition to Israeli settlement activity; oppose short-sighted attempts by Congress to cut off aid to the Palestinians, which would ultimately undermine Israel’s national security; and support an agreement with Iran that dismantles the most dangerous elements of the Iranian nuclear program.

It’s easy right now to feel pessimistic — but these battles are worth fighting and winning.

Carol J. Friedman   |   Point Reyes Station


Summit recalls era of anti-Zionism

The recent “national summit” of J Street in San Francisco produced statements, rhetoric and opinions reminiscent of an earlier era in San Francisco, which featured anti-Zionist stridency and opposition to a Jewish state. I refer to the American Council of Judaism, long gone and not missed. J Street simply represents the reincarnation of the American Council of Judaism, replete with use of Congregation Emanu-El’s glorious sanctuary and bimah. Could there be any closer correlation? I think not.

Quentin Kopp   |   San Francisco


Ministers’ timely op-ed

On behalf of the Jewish Community Relations Council and the organized Jewish community, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the Revs. Doug Huneke and Paul Watermulder for their timely, thoughtful and much-needed response piece “Presbyterian vote against Israel goes down wrong path” (June 27). Doug and Paul have time and again proven themselves to be true friends of the Jewish community, and their partnership and courage to speak out against their denomination’s harmful resolution are invaluable to us.

We echo their sentiments of dismay and outrage; the choice to divest from Israel comes at the expense of investing in peace and in the Presbyterian Church’s longstanding relationship with the mainstream American Jewish community. Despite this decades-long relationship, and despite entreaties from over 1,700 Jewish religious leaders from all 50 states, the church’s General Assembly rejected reason and instead empowered extremists. This will only hinder prospects for peace and a two-state solution.

This biased resolution is an offense to Israel and a blow to our community. We hope that Doug and Paul’s moderate voices will empower other Presbyterian clergy to come forward in support of Israel, our community and our everlasting commitment to peace.

Rabbi Doug Kahn   |   San Francisco


‘Ill-advised decision’

The opinion piece by Revs. Doug Huneke and Paul Watermulder was a welcome reminder that not all Presbyterians — indeed, perhaps not anywhere near a majority — supported the ill-advised decision by their General Assembly.

While the leadership of the Presbyterian Church USA has chosen a path that has damaged its relationships with the Jewish community, I expect that more of their own congregational leaders will continue to speak out against that choice — not only on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, but on behalf of their own moral values.

This sorry episode also reinforces the need for Jewish organizations around the country to follow the lead of the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation and refuse to provide institutional representation or funding for any groups that support BDS. It must be made unquestionably clear that such extremist groups are marginal, and do not represent the Jewish community, which is united, from A (Ameinu) to Z (ZOA) in opposition to BDS.

Michael Harris   |   San Rafael


Thanks for honoring rebbetzins

I’m honored to be the daughter of the “pioneers” of Chabad leadership of the Bay, Rabbi Yosef and Rebbetzin Hinda Langer. Growing up I often heard my father fielding some of the rabbinic questions saying, “Ask my wife.” I have always seen him give my mother public honor, love and recognition. I was happy to see the Chabad rebbetzins quoted in the article.

As a proud student myself, in a master’s program in expressive arts therapy at John F. Kennedy University, I always looked up to my father for receiving both a secular and Jewish education. So, please make one correction in the June 20 cover story: My father is not a college “drop-out.” He graduated from San Jose State and then continued with his rabbinical degree in Crown Heights at Hadar HaTorah Yeshiva — the first yeshiva in the world for men who were coming back to their Jewish roots in the ’60s and ’70s. Overall great article!

Nechama Shaina Langer-Levin   |   San Francisco


Thank you, Chabad

As a Reform Jew, I felt that, except for the strong connection of being a Jew, I had little in common with the Orthodox practices of Chabad. Until …

I received an email from my grandson, a child of interfaith parents, who was in his senior year at college in Washington, D.C., that he had connected with the Chabad rabbi near his school. He raved about the feeling of oneness with others at Shabbat dinners and the beauty of the young rebbetzin. He thanked me for having kept Judaism alive in our family. Furthermore, when he gets married, it will be to a Jewish woman and the children will be brought up as Jews.

What more could a Jewish grandmother want? Thank you, Chabad.

Miriam Goodley   |   Oakland


Proud of Jewish soccer player

As an avid soccer fan, I’m delighted with our World Cup team. I wonder how many of J.’s readers know that Kyle Beckerman, one of our better players, is Jewish?

Celia Menczel   |   Walnut Creek