When will Obama offer haven to Jews?

The brutal murder of four Jews in a Paris kosher supermarket in January is mentioned by Rabbi Doug Kahn in his opinion column (“Ebbing memory, rising anti-Semitism,” Feb. 13). Kahn refers to the “loss of a moral compass.” Having a moral compass is important.

In November, President Barack Obama proposed giving legal status and work permits to 5 million immigrants living in the United States illegally. If the president has a plan for 5 million illegal immigrants, he can amend it.

Where is your offer, Mr. President, to allow persecuted French Jews a chance to live in America?

Richard S. Colman   |   Orinda


Comfort in time of loss

The wonderful essay by Rabbi Joshua Fenton emphasized the serious concern in our community for tragic birth loss (“Open mouth, insert foot — or take time to think before speaking,” Feb. 20). I encourage the J. readership to view NechamaComfort.com, the website of an East Coast organization dedicated to offering counseling and comfort to families that experience such a tragedy.

Family and community members experience a large variety of feeling at that time and react in many different ways. I am assisting NechamaComfort in developing a West Coast branch and will welcome inquiries from interested parties. I can be reached at [email protected]

Rabbi Simcha A. Green   |   San Francisco


Fear is a good reason for aliyah

In your Feb. 20 editorial, you fault Benjamin Netanyahu for his offer to West European Jews to immigrate to Israel. According to your opinion, the offer undercuts an “ardent” effort by European governments to be good to their Jewish citizens.

There are at least two problems with the editorial. One is the rejection of fear as a reason for aliyah. Oh, yes, I can assure you, fear is the strongest motivation for a Jew to drop everything and run. Most Jewish migrations were caused as much by fear of persecutions as by persecutions. Where are Jews to go if they are afraid and want to leave their country? Netanyahu’s offer is the reassurance that each and every Jew can find a home in Israel. It is home for the Jews who think they are “Danish, not Jews with Danish citizenship” and for the Jews who know that they are “Jews who happen to be Danish citizens.”

Another problem is the idea that aliyah to Israel prevents European governments from protecting their Jewish citizens. Are you suggesting that French or Danish Jews should stay put so these countries can pat themselves on the back and brag about “Jewish communities” in their midst?

Jews who don’t want to make aliyah can say “Thank you, Mr. Netanyahu” and stay where they are. However, for Jews who are ready to leave their countries for a safer place, Netanyahu’s offer is most welcome.

Sofia Shtil   |   Fremont


Netanyahu offer was exactly right

Your editorial “Pitch for aliyah should not be based on fear” (Feb. 20) scolds Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for urging Europe’s Jews to live in Israel, and doing so at a “raw moment” — restating the invitation once again after Jews have been killed in Europe. You also cite the exemplary security and safety of Jews in America as an example for Europe to follow.

Netanyahu did exactly the right thing at this tragic moment, reminding Jews everywhere that there is a Jewish homeland. It would be highly irresponsible for an Israeli prime minister to say anything else, let alone to remain silent (as J. suggests).

Your editorial is neither independent nor helpful, and does not reflect the interests of Jews whose lives are at risk. The certainty of Jewish existence remains to live in a hostile world, as anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not to disappear.

Insofar as your hosannas to the philo-Semitism in the USA, in historical terms it is a recent phenomena and is based on uniquely American conditions: open-mindedness, our legal system, Jewish power, contributions Jews made to our country, Zionist Christians and public opinion on Israel. To expect those to be emulated elsewhere takes lots of chutzpah, is naive and misguided.

After European Jews have been killed, for a Jewish newspaper to deny that fear is a proper reason for aliyah is highly irresponsible.

Mikhail Drabkin   |   San Mateo