a plate of weed nuggets next to three joints
(File photo)

Put public health before cannabis cafés; Wake-up call for liberal Jews; etc.

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Anonymity is a cop-out

I read that “an anonymous group of anti-Zionist Jewish activists” wants to take credit for defacing a billboard that touted the message that anti-Zionism is antisemitism (“Anti-Zionist Jewish activists claim credit for latest billboard defacement,” Feb. 1). Credit? Maybe. Responsibility? No.

By refusing to identify themselves, these activists are refusing to accept responsibility for their actions.

It is the antithesis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolent resistance, which posits that the nonviolent resister should be prepared to suffer for his efforts.

This billboard at 52nd St. and Telegraph Ave. in Oakland paid for by JewBelong originally said, "You don't need to go to law school to know anti-Zionism is antisemitism," but was vandalized by an anonymous group of Jewish activists to read, "You don't need to go to law school to know anti-Zionism is anti-racism."  (Photo/Gabe Stutman)
This billboard at 52nd St. and Telegraph Ave. in Oakland paid for by JewBelong originally said, “You don’t need to go to law school to know anti-Zionism is antisemitism,” but was vandalized by an anonymous group of Jewish activists to read, “You don’t need to go to law school to know anti-Zionism is anti-racism.” (Photo/Gabe Stutman)

Here, the activists seem to evade any negative consequences for their actions.

Ironically, Jewish Voice for Peace praised “those who bravely wrote the truth in the dead of night.”

Brave? Hardly.

Sandy Margolin
Piedmont


Public health before cannabis profits

I have great respect for both Assemblymember Matt Haney and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, but how maddening to see them introducing legislation that will expose more people to deadly secondhand smoke (“New bills sponsored by Jewish pols could legalize noshing at cannabis cafés,” Feb. 8).

Secondhand smoke from smoked cannabis is toxic.

Just one example from the Journal of the American Heart Association in August 2016: “One minute of marijuana secondhand smoke exposure substantially impairs vascular endothelial function.”

In the past, both the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association opposed similar legislation. In the spirit of tikkun olam, let’s prioritize public health over cannabis industry profits.

Bob Gordon
San Francisco


Mucky review of ‘You People’

Regarding the Netflix rom-com “You People” (“‘You People’ is an unfunny step back for Black-Jewish relations,” Jan. 31), wake up! The experiences of Jews and Black people in the U.S. are separate. I commend and bring to your attention the piece “Lives; Black Like Her” by Debra Dickerson, published in 2000 in the New York Times Magazine.

Ms. Dickerson pointed out that for the overwhelming majority, to be Black is to “fear arbitrary oppression and sudden abuse. Blacks live with an unrelenting societal insecurity, a knowledge that the ground beneath their feet could crumble at any policeman’s whim or boss’s power trip.”

Jonah HIll (left) as Ezra and Lauren London as Amira in "You People." (Photo/Parrish Lewis-Netflix)
Jonah HIll (left) as Ezra and Lauren London as Amira in “You People.” (Photo/Parrish Lewis-Netflix)

She goes on to say that transcending race is “that thing that only nonwhites are required to do.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

As far as the movie, it was funny. It didn’t have to be deep. The fact that the woman is perfect and the white guy is kind of a shnook says it all.

Karen Katz
Oakland


Parallels in Ukraine and Iraq

I am writing this on Feb. 24, a sad anniversary (“One year after Russian invasion of Ukraine, the pain is still fresh for local emigres,” Feb. 23).

As I read and listen to coverage and commentary of the one-year commemoration of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I can’t help but think of the parallels with our own invasion of Iraq. The 20-year anniversary of that outrage is coming on March 20.

This is not what-aboutism.

I am appalled and horrified by Putin’s willful and devastating violations of international law and human morality.

At the same time, I cannot get the parallels out of my mind or heart. If Putin is a war criminal (as he undoubtedly is), so are George Bush, Dick Cheney and the rest of the swine who lied and led us into the worst outrage of this century (so far).

It may be easier to relate to the suffering of the Ukrainians because many of us have roots in the region, and maybe we have less sympathy for the suffering of Muslims.

However, our grandchildren and their children will live with the repercussions of our still unexplained invasion of Iraq.

Danny Yanow
San Francisco


Handyman not needed

I’m writing to let you know how much my husband and I enjoyed Janet Silver Ghent’s Feb. 3 column “Home repair project? I never nix it now that I’ve got Mr. Fix-It.”

I can certainly identify with her experience.

My first husband, a respected attorney, died at age 41 and left me with four children to bring up and a large house to manage. Although he was an excellent attorney, he was not a Mr. Fix-It. To keep up the house, I learned how to repair things with dental tape, scotch tape and rubber bands.

Janet Silver Ghent's very own Mr. Fix-It
Janet Silver Ghent’s very own Mr. Fix-It

After 16 years of being single, I met the man who would be my second husband. On about our third date, he noticed that the doors to the bathroom cupboard were being held together by rubber bands. When he asked me why, I told him they wouldn’t stay closed otherwise. It took him a few seconds to look at the problem and within 30 seconds it was fixed.

We have been married over 30 years and he is always happy to take care of my honey-dos, and we are happy to engage in home projects together.

Aren’t Janet and I lucky?

I look forward to more of her columns in J.

Adele Salle
Saratoga


History — get it right!

Thank you for publishing “Novel about Chinese rescuer of Jews raises questions of fact vs. fiction in Holocaust stories” on Feb. 14.

I wrote a memoir about the Jews in Shanghai, since my mother and grandmother were survivors of this often dangerous city of refuge during World War II.

It is upsetting when authors distort history in fiction. It is one thing to imagine a conversation or observation of a historical figure in a novel, and yet another to distort a situation to fit a story.

I know the story of Ho Feng Shan and included it in my book “Love and Luck: A Young Woman’s Journey from Berlin to Shanghai to San Francisco.”

Karen Levi
Potomac, MD


Wake-up call for liberal Jews?

The recent story about the antisemitic attack at the Schneerson Center in San Francisco properly referred to the “certain gulf within the Jewish community — between the enclave of Russian Jews and the American born, overwhelmingly liberal Jews who make up the majority of San Francisco’s Jewish population” (“‘We thought we were safe’: Fallout from Schneerson Center gun scare,” Feb. 16).

In this case, the follow-up by the Jewish community, local officials and law enforcement has been exemplary.

Yasher koach to all!

Perhaps, however, the noted “gulf” is deeper and more damaging than we normally realize.

Schneerson Center in San Francisco. (Photo/Gabe Stutman)
Schneerson Center in San Francisco. (Photo/Gabe Stutman)

Perhaps the increase in antisemitic incidents is integrally related to the overall increase in crime and a general deterioration of public safety and order.

Taking this notion one step further, we should recognize that these problems have largely resulted from the unwise and unwarranted attacks on urban policing that have come from the liberal/left side of the political spectrum. Unfortunately, a noticeable segment of our own community has played a significant role in the anti-police movement.

Support for such policies has wreaked havoc in the nation’s urban areas and beyond. Poorer urban communities like, but not limited to, the one featured in the cited article have and will continue to bear the brunt of these policy failures.

Hopefully the harm that has been done can be reversed.

Whatever our past differences, the entire Jewish community must now come together and support the reinvigoration of law enforcement and the restoration of the rule of law that lies at the heart of civil society.

Steve Astrachan
Pleasant Hill

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