Lucia da Silva (center) prays with Women of the Wall during her bat mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall. (Photo/Forward-Tal Kfir Schurr)
Lucia da Silva (center) prays with Women of the Wall during her bat mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall. (Photo/Forward-Tal Kfir Schurr)

Sorry situation at Western Wall; SFUSD wrong on Muslim holidays; etc.

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Boudin deserved to go

The Chesa Boudin drumbeat in J. bespeaks a bias unbecoming the Jewish newspaper of Northern California (“Ousted San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin will not run this year, citing family needs,” online, Aug. 4).

Boudin’s brief office-holding emanated from ranked-choice voting, which should next year be repealed by San Francisco voters.

He’s a product of billionaire George Soros’ putsch to elect district attorneys who abhor bail, imprisonment and police. (Virginia-based Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund reported in June that Soros spent more than $40 million from 2014 to 2021 supporting Boudin and other so-called “progressive” such candidates.)

Even in liberal San Francisco, 55 percent of primary election voters on June 7 ousted criminal defense attorney Boudin. Can’t he understand the voters’ point? And why not mention recall backers who are Jewish, such as campaign manager Lilly Rapson and campaign consultant Rich Schlackman, and donors David Sacks and  Shorenstein Realty Services (CEO Brandon Shorenstein)?

Judge Quentin L. Kopp (Ret.)
San Francisco

Don’t forget Stalin, Ms. Gumbo

Judy Gumbo’s apparent failure to show any understanding of the underside of the movement that she so fondly remembers should be challenged (“‘Yippie Girl’: In memoir, Judy Gumbo writes about 1960s Jewish activists, the Chicago 7 and defeating the FBI,” July 22).

Julius Rosenberg, whom she “revered,” was the longtime head of a Soviet spy network in the United States. He and others stole nuclear secrets and turned them over to a very hostile foreign power. While Julius and Ethel Rosenberg should not have been executed, there can be no doubt of their culpability in this extraordinary compromise of national security.

Judy Gumbo (center) at a women's protest in Miami 1972 in 1972.
Judy Gumbo (center) at a women’s protest in Miami 1972 in 1972.

The Soviet propaganda films that Ms. Gumbo affectionately remembers came from the regime of Joseph Stalin, the man whose penchant for violence and mass murder rivaled that of Hitler. The facts of history are plain. In 1932-1933 there was the Holodomor, the forced starvation in Ukraine. Later that decade came the Great Terror. Each of these events took millions of innocent lives. Millions more perished in gulags. Our own community should never forget the antisemitic Doctors’ Plot arrests and trials that went on from 1951 to 1953. One can but imagine the fate that would have befallen Russian Jews had Stain’s death not intervened.

We should always seek to have a greater understanding of history. Hopefully Ms. Gumbo’s failure to do so is not shared by many.

Steve Astrachan
Pleasant Hill

Desperately seeking cookies

I had to miss the L’Chaim Jewish Food and Wine Festival on Aug. 7, so I’m wondering if there might be another chance to try some of Nina Safdie’s amazing-looking cookies? (“Sephardic cookies at L’Chaim food and wine fest,” July 18)

Your article said she doesn’t usually bake, but I had to ask. I was so disappointed to miss them.

Alison Doniger

SFUSD actions ‘laughable’

Ashamed to be a San Franciscan by birth — what gives? Time off for Muslim holidays but not Jewish? (“San Francisco school board votes to close schools on two Muslim holidays,” online, Aug. 10)

The board of the San Francisco Unified School District bends backwards so far that it blatantly demonstrates discrimination — so obvious it is laughable.

A view of San Francisco Unified School District's Mission High School from Dolores Park. (Photo/Flickr-Don Barrett CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
A view of San Francisco Unified School District’s Mission High School from Dolores Park. (Photo/Flickr-Don Barrett CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Fairness and equality out the window? Come now, SFUSD board, you can do better.

If a school system closes for one religion’s holidays, it must shut down for the holidays of other minority religions. I have long been a proponent of minimizing our country’s celebration of the Christian holidays. I am certain there are more worthwhile projects, such as teaching the children of recent arrivals’ solid English language skills, so they can flourish and succeed. Public schools rely on diversity to maintain their relevance and importance.

Karen Levi
Potomac, Maryland

‘Liberated’ co-founder’s true record

J. is to be commended for reporting that Theresa Montaño, co-founder of Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium, equivocated when asked if the movement supported the antisemitic genocidal BDS movement. (“Hayward school district defends use of offshoot ‘liberated’ ethnic studies group,” Aug. 2).

In fact, Montaño has a long antisemitic track record. In a 2021 webinar, she called out by name the Anti-Defamation League as one of several “white supremacist, right-wing conservative organizations.”

She has also signed on to the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, the only Jewish country on Earth.

Richard Sherman
Margate, Florida

End harassment at Kotel

This is a sorry situation. Every month, Women of the Wall tries to hold services at the main Western Wall plaza and is still facing harassment (“I went to Israel for my bat mitzvah at the Western Wall — but an angry ultra-Orthodox mob tried to stop it,” online, Aug. 1).

Meanwhile, people who don’t approve of egalitarian prayer services (or women’s minyanim) are disrupting the services at the Ezrat Yisrael, the area that has been set aside for egalitarian prayer.

It is time for the Israeli government to assert its authority, stating that violence will not be tolerated in holy places and demanding that the police enforce the non-harassment policy.

Anyone wishing to pray in the Haredi controlled portion of the Kotel must follow the rules of the Orthodox Rabbinate, and anyone attempting to disrupt mixed prayers or women’s minyanim should be barred from the Ezrat Yisrael.

Toby F. Block

J. Readers

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