Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in the Capitol, Jan. 20, 2015. (Photo/JTA-Bill Clark-CQ Roll Call-Getty Images)
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in the Capitol, Jan. 20, 2015. (Photo/JTA-Bill Clark-CQ Roll Call-Getty Images)

Don’t call them ‘concentration camps’; Closer look at Props. 15-17; RBG’s legacy; best bagels in the Bay

Change this Holocaust term

I am writing regarding your Sept. 22 article “A recent survey found young adults ignorant about the Holocaust — or did it?

When teaching high school, I encountered the same issue. But one solution might be in changing some wording. We’ve used the name “concentration camps” — a euphemism for something so horrible, it couldn’t be uttered. But English, like all languages spoken, has evolved. The U.S. border detainment camps where undocumented immigrants are being held are now often referred to as “concentration camps” to call attention to injustices there.

So perhaps this is an opportunity for those who want others to understand the Shoah to accurately identify the camps that held Jews during the Holocaust. To convey the difference, the Nazi-run camps could be called either “extermination camps” or “work and death camps.”

I’ve been using these terms, and I think it has made an impact.

Alan Barsky
Mill Valley

Looking closer at 3 props

California Propositions 15, 16 and 17 (“Equity, justice and fairness — state propositions that address all three,” Oct. 6) are carefully worded to appeal to the sensibilities and values of just about any fair-minded person, but tragically most California voters do not take the time to examine what the text actually says or implies.

Prop. 15 actually destroys Prop. 13’s property tax protections for anyone who owns a house, small business or family farm, raises costs of living for everyone, and has no accountability — all for the good-sounding objective of increasing funding sources for public schools, community colleges and local government services.

Prop. 16, instead of “allowing diversity,” actually increases discrimination in public employment, education and contract decisions by repealing Prop. 209, which for 24 years has guaranteed non-discrimination based on race, color, sex, ethnicity or national origin.

Prop. 17, instead of adding “justice,” increases injustice by allowing convicted murderers, rapists, pedophiles, kidnappers, gang-bangers and human traffickers to vote before completing their sentences or parole.

All voters need to take the time to actually read the propositions, rather than the spin, to make an intelligent decision.

Dave Harris

I love Berkeley Bagels

Looking at the list of places that sell the best bagels in the Bay Area (“Readers’ Choice 2020: Bakery/Bagel,” Oct. 1), I was very surprised that Berkeley Bagels, on Gilman Street in Berkeley, was not at the top of the list. We have been buying our bagels there for many years, and their bagels are authentic, New York style! And my husband and I grew up in New York, so we feel that we can decide which bagels are truly like the ones made in New York City!

Barbara Segal

RBG’s proud Jewish legacy

With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (“How Ruth Bader Ginsburg went from the Notorious RBG to Ruth the Tzadik”, Sept. 23), the Supreme Court has lost one of its most renowned and respected jurists, and America has lost a pioneer and icon of the movement for equal rights for women.

This is an especially painful loss for the Jewish American community. Ginsburg, who died on Erev Rosh Hashanah, was one of eight Jewish justices, and the first female Jewish justice, to have served on the nation’s highest court.

In a 2004 speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, she connected her heritage with her passion for justice:

“I had the good fortune to be a Jew born and raised in the U.S.A.. What is the difference between a bookkeeper in New York’s garment district and a Supreme Court Justice? Just one generation, my mother’s life and mine bear witness. Where else but America could that happen? My heritage as a Jew and my occupation as a judge fit together symmetrically. The demand for justice runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition.

“I take pride in and draw strength from my heritage, as signs in my chambers attest: a large silver mezuzah on my door post [and] artists’ renditions of Hebrew letters, the command from Deuteronomy: ‘Zedek, zedek, tirdof” — “Justice, justice shall you pursue.’ Those words are ever-present reminders of what judges must do.“

Ginsburg was a feminist, a Zionist, a proud Jew, a lawyer, a judge, and a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She will be remembered as someone who fought injustice and left the world a better place for her having been here.May we all find inspiration in the example she set, the values she embodied, and the legacy she leaves us.

Stephen A. Silver
San Francisco

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