Demonstrators at the "Make a Holy Noise for Climate Change" demonstration on Aug. 25 in San Jose as they march to the federal building. (Photo/George Barahona)
Demonstrators at the "Make a Holy Noise for Climate Change" demonstration on Aug. 25 in San Jose as they march to the federal building. (Photo/George Barahona)

Jewish climate activists are ‘misguided’; Jewish retirement homes are expensive; etc.


Dayenu is ‘misguided’

Dayenu is to be commended for taking a stand for the environment to prevent a possible climate calamity (“Jewish climate protesters challenge Bay Area financial institutions,” April 21).

However, its call for the immediate cessation of investments in fossil energy is misguided. The world runs on energy; people need it to lead healthy, productive lives. Currently 80 percent of our energy is obtained from fossil sources. Given that 3.5 billion people, or nearly half the world’s population, live under energy-poor conditions, there is a clear need to increase energy production, which will require investments. Over time, we must also replace the current sources of energy with clean, emissions-free sources.

It is unfortunate that environmental activists promote wind and solar as the only desirable sources and exclude nuclear power. It is a myth that renewable sources are clean and cheap. They place an enormous burden on the environment. There is ample evidence from countries and states around the world that electricity prices have risen with increasing share of wind and solar power.

I wish Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action mobilized people to stop the closure of functioning nuclear plants, like the ones at Indian Point (New York) and Diablo Canyon (San Luis Obispo County) instead of protesting against investments in fossil energy.

Nuclear plants are safe, cause the fewest fatalities, and have the smallest environmental footprint and produce copious quantities of clean electricity. Our unfounded fear of radiation, reinforced by decades of fear mongering, has prevented us from building any new plants in the U.S. for decades and has exacerbated the climate challenge.

As the disaster at Fukushima illustrates, our response to the fear of radiation is much worse than radiation itself. Forced evacuation of over 100,000 people resulted in 1,500 fatalities from mental anguish and disrupted medical care. No one died from radiation exposure.

Ripudaman Malhotra
Lake Oswego, Oregon


My own Holocaust Torah

Like Rabbi Charles Familant, I am a “freelance” rabbi who serves many families that are not connected with synagogues (“‘Survivor’ Torah scroll will journey from Palo Alto to Israel this summer,” May 12).

I work with Jewish and interfaith families for their weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, funerals and baby namings.

I also have a Holocaust Torah. Mine was buried during the war, and a former resident of the village went back and dug it up. It is warped on the outside of the spring parashas, which is the time of year it was first buried. I have loaned it on many occasions to help groups who needed a Torah for different occasions.

I have worked with mystics, including the late Rabbi Steven Fisdel z”l, who told me that the souls of those who had loved and prayed with this Torah wanted its life teaching children to go on. And so it found its way to me. Rabbi Steve also said the writer of my scroll had such a sweet, loving energy. It has been used for hundreds of b’nai mitzvahs, and it is one of the great honors of my life that this Torah found its way to me.

Rabbi Sara Shendelman
Berkeley


High costs in golden years

Every week I see beautiful ads for retirement communities and long-term care facilities. I check the prices. And I wonder where those who don’t have $800,000 and more will end up. It is a scary thought as I approach my 72nd birthday and pray I will be able to live in my own home until my death.

Jill Maleson
Fremont


‘We didn’t know about this!’

I read your recent article with great interest, unaware that Jewish refugees were admitted to the U.S. via Angel Island (“Jewish immigrant story part of new museum on Angel Island, ‘Ellis Island of the West,”’ May 18).

I did know about Asian immigrants quarantined or imprisoned there. But having accomplished a great deal of research for my memoir regarding my mother, who was part of the Jewish Shanghai community of refugees, I was astonished to learn that someone entered the United States in 1940 via China.

Rose Klein was a lucky and daring young woman. The account proves there is ever a new story, and I commend Heather Klein (Rose’s granddaughter).

Heather Klein in front of the display about her grandmother, Rose Klein, at the Angel Island Immigration Museum. (Photo/Courtesy Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation)
Heather Klein in front of the display about her grandmother, Rose Klein, at the Angel Island Immigration Museum. (Photo/Courtesy Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation)

One suggestion to individuals who organize local exhibits is to announce their plans to the community.

In this case, my mother’s saga does not belong in the display, but often my siblings and I have missed programs due to lack of communication.

If second- and third-generation survivors coordinated, the unusual and relevant stories of persistent refugees would pack a more powerful punch.

The Angel Island program is an example. I have observed the problem elsewhere.

Often, my sister and I have said, “We didn’t know about this!”

Karen Levi
Potomac, Md.


You can’t ignore the facts

Marsha Rosenbaum’s letter that critiqued Quentin Kopp’s and my response to Chesa Boudin’s commentary on the meaning of Passover, while moving and sincere, mistakenly centered only on the most personal aspects of his childhood experience growing up without his parents who were in prison (“Missing the point on Boudin,” May 12).

Mr. Boudin’s account, however, went far beyond the personal. By including the impact of what he considers to have been their overly harsh sentences on his work as San Francisco district attorney, where he is facing a recall vote on June 7, he made his parents’ criminal past a legitimate subject for commentary.

Chesa Boudin with his dad, David Gilbert, in an undated photo. (Photo/San Francisco District Attorney's Office)
Chesa Boudin with his dad, David Gilbert, in an undated photo. (Photo/San Francisco District Attorney’s Office)

He twice emphasized that his parents had never intended for anyone to get hurt in their misadventure. However, the facts of their case indicate otherwise. His mother was a driver for heavily armed members of the Black Liberation Army who committed the armored car robbery and murdered a security guard and two police officers. The violent outcome should have been foreseeable.

Furthermore, their crime was not a one-off, but rather the culmination a 12-year history of domestic terrorism in the Weather Underground. Kathy Boudin had become a fugitive in 1970 when a bomb detonated prematurely in her Greenwich Village apartment. These relevant facts were neither mentioned nor implied in Mr. Boudin’s piece  (“How Passover themes I learned as a child guide me as San Francisco DA today,” April 8).

The murder of police officers is an especially reprehensible crime in a society that believes in the rule of law. FBI Director Christopher Wray recently pointed out that more officers were killed in 2021 than in any year since the 9/11 terrorist attack. Such crimes cannot be passed over as Mr. Boudin has done.

Gratitude and concern should be in order for American law enforcement that has done so much to protect the Jewish community during these recent threatening years.

Steve Astrachan
Pleasant Hill


Homa’s joke a double bogey

A recent J. article about a Jewish golfer famous for his “goofy tweets” relayed one of his jokes for our enjoyment: “The most Jewish I’ve ever felt came after looking at a home with extravagant Christmas lights and immediately thinking ‘that electric bill must be brutal’” (“Jewish golfer Max Homa, Berkeley alum, enters world top 30 after tourney win,” May 9).

It’s funny because Jews are always thinking about money!

A joke like this has no place in polite society, let alone the pages of J. You can do better than this.

Andy Cohen
Berkeley

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