Protesters interact with Capitol Police inside the U.S. Capitol building, Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo/JTA-Win McNamee-Getty Images)
Protesters interact with Capitol Police inside the U.S. Capitol building, Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo/JTA-Win McNamee-Getty Images)

Jewish and Black; What would MLK think?; Our misleading cover story; BDS isn’t antisemitic; etc.

Jewish, Black and Jan. 6

I want to thank Tova Ricardo for her extremely thoughtful, reflective and beautifully articulated article on being Black and Jewish (“Being a Black Jewish woman in America on Jan. 6”).

I would encourage anyone who hasn’t read this piece to do so.

Tova, although I don’t know you, I can’t begin to express my appreciation for your words, which were not only sane and rational, but validating to many of us who have felt invisible in our quests for social justice. Thank you!

Sheila Levin
Palo Alto

What would MLK think?

In 1965 my mother of blessed memory and others from what was then the Southern California Democratic Club went to Selma, Alabama, to join hand-in-hand with Reverend King, Rabbi Heschel, and John Lewis. I was in high school, but the lessons my mother taught me were indelibly imprinted. The alliance of Jews and African Americans was natural as we shared a history of oppression. Today, I feel overwhelming sadness that the unified bond seems broken and the memory of that march and what it meant for our two peoples has been forgotten. What would Martin Luther King Jr.think today when all around is increased racism and antisemitism, when the Dream has turned into a hazy wish?

Linda Diamond
Menlo Park

Misleading cover story

The cover story “Why some right-leaning Jews are leaving California for redder pastures” (Jan. 8) implied that this is a trend, but careful reading indicates that this article is merely anecdotal reporting, not based on any objective survey nor backed by any statistical data on the Jewish population.

What these isolated case histories show is that some conservative Jews, most of whom are Trump supporters, feel uncomfortable living among liberals, and that is their main impetus for moving out of state.

“It’s comforting not to feel like a Martian. Living in California felt like living on a different planet,” says Wendy Feldman, seen here with her husband, Lance. The couple moved to Idaho in August. (Photo/Mary Slater Hicks)
“It’s comforting not to feel like a Martian. Living in California felt like living on a different planet,” says Wendy Feldman, seen here with her husband, Lance. The couple moved to Idaho in August. (Photo/Mary Slater Hicks)

Worth noting is that over the past five years, California has attracted, from other states, more adults with at least a bachelor’s degree than it has lost, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. For more detailed information, read the Cal Matters’ 2019 piece “California migration: The story of 40 million.

It is ironic that J. chose this misleading cover during a week when a majority of the population, including both Democrats and Republican, were turned off by the authoritarianism, lies and incitement to insurrection by the president.

Ernest Newbrun

Good riddance, I say

Thank you for interviewing wealthy Jews leaving California (“Why some right-leaning Jews are leaving California for redder pastures,” Jan. 8) for states with lower taxes, fewer government regulations and less contact with those pesky minorities who “tend to hang out with their own kind.” Coincidentally, these are states that many of the rabidly antisemitic Jan. 6 rioters call home.

Sheila Himmel

Local twist on Vashti book

I noticed that your article on the One Bay One Book selection — “The Book of V.” — missed the local angle (“What Became of Queen Vashti? One Bay One Book program tackles ‘The Book of V.,’” Oct. 19).

The book ends with the main character directing a Purim spiel, “The Purim of Love,” which is about the Summer of Love in San Francisco.

In July 2019, Congregation Beth Ami in Santa Rosa received an unusual email: “I’m a novelist with a third book coming out next year, called ‘The Book of V.,’ which is about Purim, among other things. Online, I found the wonderful program that Beth Ami put together for its 2018 spiel …”

Anna Solomon is the author of this year's One Bay One Book pick, "The Book of V."
Anna Solomon is the author of this year’s One Bay One Book pick, “The Book of V.”

We were happy to send author Anna Solomon our “Purim of Love” script, which we wrote to honor Sonoma County, from Jewish chicken ranchers to fire survivors (not to mention all our old hippies).

So the “script from a California synagogue” in the book is real.

Ms. Solomon wrote a lovely acknowledgement, which we appreciate. You can duplicate her original discovery by watching our 2018 Purim spiel on YouTube.

Leanne Schy
Santa Rosa

Look beyond the hype

The breach of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 underscores the sheer lunacy of the Democrat-driven drumbeat to defund and disband the police. It also highlights the wisdom of President Trump’s June 2020 executive order authorizing a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for the “willful injury” of federal property.

The liberal mob wasted no time in acting on Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s incendiary words: “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

First came another Kangaroo-court impeachment process. These proceedings neglected to include any investigation, witness testimony or opportunity for the accused to defend himself. What might have come out of an honest investigation into the breach of the Capitol?

A review of the president’s speech would reveal that President Trump said absolutely nothing about storming the Capitol building. Rather, he called for his listeners to “peacefully and patriotically make their voices heard at the Capitol.”

Legitimate hearings into the Capitol breach may have shed light into why Democrat District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser repeatedly refused any federal law enforcement help before the protest began. Depositions from Black Lives Matter activist and Capitol building infiltrator, John Sullivan, may have illuminated any role hard-left organizations played in the takeover of the Capitol. After all, Antifa occupied and destroyed government buildings and assaulted law enforcement officers around the nation for months.

Without a credible investigation, we will never know if the Capitol breach was another Democrat-orchestrated power grab.

Maybe books favored by Republicans have not yet been burned in the streets, but the modern-day equivalent is taking place with alarming breadth and fury. Millions of Republican voices were muzzled when Amazon shut down Parler, whose CEO is now in hiding. Leading conservative thinkers have been demonetized on YouTube and deplatformed on Twitter and Facebook.

American Jews across the political spectrum should unite in opposing the direction Democrats are driving our nation.

David Wanetick
Formerly of Concord

Don’t paint BDS as antisemitic

In her recent letter to J. (“BDS is not ‘morally right,’” Jan. 7), June Brott opined that because BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti is anti-Zionist, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement itself is “hate-inciting and antisemitic.”

Firstly, Brott misquoted Barghouti when she wrote “[he] said that if the BDS movement’s goals were achieved, then ‘Israel would cease to exist’” on a Gaza Voice podcast last May. Readers can check his actual words on the Jewish Virtual Library.

The main argument that Brott made in her letter has been repeated by many anti-BDS Jewish leaders: Because some BDS supporters are antisemitic (and anti-Zionist), the movement itself is antisemitic.

However, we know that some Republican supporters are racists, and some Democratic supporters are socialists. Does that make the Republican Party racist and the Democratic Party socialist? Obviously not.

BDS has three simple demands: ending the occupation, equal rights for Israeli Arab citizens and refugee return. If you oppose any of these demands (as I do), then make your argument.

But to argue that the goals, or the organization itself, are antisemitic, you must do more than misquote Barghouti. I recommend that interested readers visit to judge for themselves.

Todd Silverstein
Salem, Oregon

J. Readers

J. welcomes letters and comments from our readers. To submit a letter, email it to [email protected].