Judy Blume in the new documentary "Judy Blume Forever." (Photo/Courtesy Prime Video)
Judy Blume in the new documentary "Judy Blume Forever." (Photo/Courtesy Prime Video)

Judy Blume, force for good; Congress’ foul Israel decree; Religion doesn’t belong on census

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‘A powerful force for good’

I just read Janet Silver Ghent’s column and wanted to thank you and her for the writeup about the recently released documentary (“‘Judy Blume Forever’: New doc proves iconic author has always been a mensch,” April 27).

I appreciated her taking the time to share a bit of Judy’s story with your readers.

The support Judy Blume offered me through my correspondence with her saved my life, and she has impacted the lives of thousands of other readers over the course of more than a half century.

Thank you for highlighting her fascinating story. Judy Blume is a true American icon and a powerful force for good in this world.

Karen Chilstrom
Austin, Texas

Congress’ foul Israel decree

It is a shame that the congressional resolution celebrating Israel at 75 departed from U.S. policy that was bipartisan before the Trump administration — that is, the policy of firmly supporting Israel’s security, coupled with the goal of a two-state solution The resolution posed an unfair dilemma for strong supporters of Israel, such as Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (“Two Bay Area reps vote no on resolution congratulating Israel on 75 years of independence,” May 3).

As a resident of Contra Costa County, I am grateful to my congressman for his efforts on behalf of both security and peace for all of the peoples of the Middle East.

Cyndi Berck

Local reps’ no votes were principled

J.’s headline about the House of Representatives resolution on Israel’s 75th anniversary, “Two Bay Area reps vote no on resolution congratulating Israel on 75 years of independence” (May 3), left out important context.

All Democratic representatives who either voted against or abstained from voting on this resolution are strong defenders of Israel. Many of them have been to Israel, as well as to the West Bank. The reasons they gave for their votes resonate with many in the Bay Area Jewish community.

A better headline, which reflects the content of the article, could have been “Why Democratic representatives who support Israel voted no on Republican resolution for Israel’s 75th anniversary.”

The Republican House majority formulated this resolution. It touts the Abraham Accords but ignores the long-standing bipartisan support for peace with the Palestinians and the two-state solution, which have been part of previous resolutions passed by Congress. This resolution also failed to acknowledge that the current Israeli government is working to destroy its own democratic institutions.

Thankfully, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier and Jared Huffman, whose no votes on the resolution are mentioned in the article, and Representatives Lee and Swalwell, who abstained, are nuanced thinkers who are pro-Israel, pro-peace and pro-democracy — as is J Street.

Karen Pliskin and Jon Kaufman, Oakland
J Street Bay Area Steering Committee members

Religions are not germane

As a retired sociology professor at Skyline College, I want to say the U.S. census is not supposed to gather any information about religion (“Are Jews white? Proposed census change wades into issue,” May 4).

What races Israeli-born Jews in the U.S. are depends totally how they choose to depict themselves with the racial categories available on the census.

And they can choose more than one category if they wish.

It’s not up to the U.S. government to decide what race Jews may be.

Anyway, race is a construct that has no truly objective reality, and it changes with culture changes.

Are Jews white, you ask in your headline. The census is not wading into the issue; it merely provides categories for people to identify with, and their religion(s) are not germane.

Kay Barchas
Los Altos Hills

‘Yet another confused take’

The April 26 letter by Bruce Farrell Rosen (“Wrecking judicial sanctity”) in regard to my original letter on March 29 (“Israel needs judicial reform”) underscores yet another confused take on the judicial reform controversy.

The proposed reform is not, as Mr. Rosen writes, a “naked attempt to undermine the sanctity of an independent judiciary.” Rather, it’s an effort to effect a real balance of power between the Knesset (the legislature) and a currently rogue, one-sided and unchecked judiciary.

The existing Israeli Supreme Court appointment committee overwhelmingly favors sitting judges and does not include effective input from the legislative or executive branches.

Would Mr. Rosen be so troubled and outraged if a left-leaning “authoritarian” cobbled together a coalition bent on “seizing power” and “attempting to undermine democracy and justice” by promoting the same judicial reform?

The point of the proposed reform is to correct over 20 years of one-sided judicial activism and bring a realistic balance to the Israeli Supreme Court, as well as effecting a workable balance of power in the government.

What is truly astounding is how many people, both in Israel and elsewhere, have been deliberately misled on this issue.

Fortunately, there has recently been much larger pro-reform protests in Israel.

Dave Harris

J. Readers

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