A few of the strains of herb on offer at Oakland's Magnolia Dispensary (Photo/Michael Fox)
A few of the strains of herb on offer at Oakland's Magnolia Dispensary (Photo/Michael Fox)

Our reporting is full of ‘intentional’ bias; weed is bad for you; and other letters

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Even though it’s legal, cannabis is still a drug

“Jews and cannabis, a love story” was a jarring reminder that although now legalized, a love story it is not. I was surprised to see the J.’s all-out support and front page pictorial melding of the matzah ball and weed. While there are many positive uses for marijuana, including much needed medical applications, I hardly think the front page of a family magazine is the place for it. It makes me wonder about the sponsorship of the J. and what your motives are in this cover and article.

Further, as a high school counselor, it is highly concerning that any publication would so blatantly label it a “love story.” The dangers are quite real for both adults and youth. Innocent people will be killed as an outcome of its unwitting use.

Although cannabis is now legal, it is only as safe as the use of it, and it is a highly potent drug. It is offensive that you both are glamorizing it and creating an illusionary link between being a Jew and embracing drug use. Please consider the power of your message, and use it for the betterment of the Jewish people.

Heather Concoff,

Trump is acknowledging reality of last 3,000 years

Marvin Goodman writes that he has “always considered and will always consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel” (Letters, Dec.). Then he continues: “Any blood that is shed as a result of this poorly timed and poorly delivered decision will be on the president’s hands.”

Why is it OK, and maybe even commendable, for an American citizen to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but it is unacceptable for our president to acknowledge the reality of 3,000 years of history and 70 years of the modern State of Israel and do the same?

Sadly, violence against Israel has always been a part of its life, and it will continue, whatever our president says, until those who oppose Israel accept its existence and commit to living together in peace.

Charles Taubman,

Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish people

I am dismayed by the angst and resentment of most liberal and Reform Jewish communities to the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Please take to heart Rabbi Hillel’s adage: If not now, when? If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

Fact: Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish people. It is mentioned 637 times in the Bible and our daily prayers, and not even once in the Quran.

Fact: Yerushalayim is Israel’s capital and the seat of its government and political center, despite the absence of formal recognition by most states and the U.N.

Fact: Over 2,000 years, the Middle East was ruled by invading foreign empires; there were no separate states, only tribal communities. The 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement created these artificial states for the convenience of the new rulers, England and France—including the British Palestine Mandate, whose sparse inhabitants were simply Arabs, Jews, and a few nomad Bedouin clans.

Last, why does the U.S. Jewish community, in particular those Reform and liberal factions, believe that it is their duty, moral or otherwise, to tell the State of Israel and its 8 million citizens what is good for them? Most Jews living outside Israel, with all due respect, are not in harm’s way. Perhaps if they were they would feel differently about Israel’s policies and actions.

Sam Liron,
Foster City

Other presidents promised, but only Trump acted

The United States has had some very good presidents that made an occasional horrible decision (Franklin Roosevelt’s refusal to admit Jewish refugees during World War II) and some “not so good in the long run” presidents that do one good thing (Nixon and China).

In 1995, the United States verified the Jerusalem Embassy Act as a matter of U.S. policy, stating, “We recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and our embassy should be located there.” President Trump is merely correcting an historical wrong.

The question remains: Why, despite their promises to move the embassy, did Trump’s predecessors not act upon it?

R.G. Schlecker,
South San Francisco

Reporter’s bias oozes through his account

I attended the interesting, passionate and important Prager-Elsner debate at Congregation Emanuel-El, so I was interested in Dan Pine’s article. As usual, it’s hard to call what appears in the J. “journalism” because the bias is apparent and intentional.

Pine made derogatory descriptions only of Mr. Prager, included his own opinions and omitted some pretty egregious personal attacks made by Mr. Elsner against Mr. Prager. For example, the article said, “Somehow the off-topic subject of … the Trump-Russia connection came up,” leaving out that it was Elsner who brought it up, and continued the personal attacks throughout the debate, including accusing Prager of supporting pedophilia.

In the justification for J Street’s arguments against moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the article misquoted Elsner as praising Jared Kushner’s work on the Middle East peace process, which would be a ridiculous statement from someone on the right and an unbelievable one from someone on the left.

On the issue of Democrats and Israel, it noted that Prager “offered no evidence to support [his] claim” while requiring no justification from Elsner about his claim. The reporter also injected his own opinions about “liberal heroes … in America” that “Prager omitted, and Elsner failed to point out…”

I keep holding out hope that the J. will eventually become an unbiased paper for all Bay Area Jews across political and ideological spectrums, but after 30 years I’m still waiting.

Bob Zeidman,

Dan Pine responds: Alan Elsner did not accuse Dennis Prager of “supporting pedophilia,” but rather criticized his support of former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who is accused of pedophilia. The article did not “misquote” Elsner on the topic of Jared Kushner’s Middle East efforts but rather paraphrased him. Further, Prager did state — without backing up the claim — that half of registered Democrats are hostile or indifferent to Israel. Finally, it is not bias to call JFK and FDR “liberal heroes.” Much like Ronald Reagan is a hero to conservatives, JFK and FDR are heroes to liberals.

Who knew that Cinderella wore a kippah?

This was a remarkable year for Jews in sports, especially Jews with Bay Area ties.

In Super Bowl LI, Patriots receiver Julian Edelman, a Bay Area native, made a circus catch of a Tom Brady pass as New England rallied from down 28-3 to win in overtime, 34-28. Both Super Bowl team owners, New England’s Robert Kraft and Atlanta’s Arthur Blank, were Jewish.

In the World Baseball Classic, Bay Area native Gabe Cramer; former Oakland A’s players Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman and Ike Davis; journeyman pitcher Jason Marquis; and the team’s mascot — an oversize “Mensch on a Bench” doll named Moshe — spurred Team Israel to an unexpected trip to the second round. Who knew that Cinderella wore a kippah?

In the World Series, Houston’s Alex Bregman became the first Jewish player to win a World Series game with a walk-off hit, helping the Astros win their first world championship. Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson (whose great-great-grandfather Leopold Cahn, great-grandmother Zelda Sugarman and great-great-grandmother Fannie Morris were all born in San Francisco) hit three home runs in the World Series. Meanwhile, Sandy Koufax threw out the ceremonial opening pitch before Game 7, and Gabe Kapler was subsequently named the Philadelphia Phillies’ new manager.

In ice hockey, David Warsofsky played part of the year with the eventual NHL Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins (his name was not engraved on the Cup, however). The last Jewish player on a Stanley Cup championship team was Mathieu Schneider, with the Montreal Canadiens in 1993.

Finally, in basketball, the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors signed Israeli star Omri Casspi. In college hoops, Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner was the Atlantic Coast Conference’s coach of the year, and highly ranked Duke has a Jewish assistant coach, Jon Scheyer.

Stephen A. Silver,
San Francisco

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