Rabbi Mona Alfi and Cantor Julie Steinberg saying the blessing over bread at a Shabbat dinner their synagogue hosted for members and migrants sent to Sacramento by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. (Photo/Courtesy B'nai Israel)
Rabbi Mona Alfi and Cantor Julie Steinberg saying the blessing over bread at a Shabbat dinner their synagogue hosted for members and migrants sent to Sacramento by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. (Photo/Courtesy B'nai Israel)

Sacramento Jews are ‘the helpers’; You’re never too old for Zumba; Etc.

Rabbi Alfi and B’nai Israel are ‘the helpers’

I opened my July 7 issue of J. and saw the article “Sacramento synagogue aids migrants ‘dumped’ in political gambit.” What an uplifting, heartwarming account of a community coming together to make a difference in the lives of 36 migrants who were confused and in dire need of assistance.

Mister Rogers was quoted as saying, “When the news is scary, look for the helpers.” Indeed, immediately upon hearing the news that migrants had been flown into and dropped in Sacramento due to a political stunt orchestrated by Florida Gov. DeSantis, Rabbi Mona Alfi of Congregation B’nai Israel went full throttle in organizing the helpers. These community members provided meals, clothing, temporary housing and transportation to these people who had otherwise been treated as political pawns.

This rabbi and a community of volunteers not only met the basic needs of these arrivals to our country from Central and South America, they also gave them comfort in knowing that they were valued and welcomed!

Gov. DeSantis has committed other similar acts of indecency in recent months, at the expense of people already dealing with monumental challenges. Hopefully, karma or the law or the wrath of the voters will catch up with him.

Sharon Brown
Walnut Creek

An Adirondack haven

Reading about “The Catskills” movie (“‘The Catskills’ reveals lost world more marvelous than Mrs. Maisel ever knew,” July 7) reminded me of my hometown. I grew up in Schroon Lake, New York, in the Adirondacks. Schroon Lake was the only town in the area that welcomed Jews before the end of WWII. Most had signs: “No Hebrews.” My hometown had been a haven for Jews since the late 1800s. Every summer the town of 1,300 would become 5,000. After the war we were blessed with an incredible doctor. He and his wife were Holocaust survivors. I will always be proud of my hometown.

Jill Maleson

No present-day ‘war of vengeance’

Rabbi Amy Eilberg (“The Torah cannot justify revenge attacks in the West Bank,” July 13) asks, “How are we to respond to such a dreadfully violent and morally indefensible story” as Moses’ “war of vengeance” on the Midianites?

She worries that present-day Israeli settlers will be religiously inspired to sack Arab villages from where Palestinian terrorists carry out attacks on Israeli citizens. The rabbi should not worry. The Israeli government has arrested its own people responsible for the sacking of Arab villages, and justice will be done.

There is no comparison between the Moses regime, if one can refer to it that way, and present-day Israel where revenge attacks are treated as a crime. Contrast this to the reaction of Palestinian society to attacks on Israelis by Palestinian fighters. Horns are honked. Candy is dispensed to celebrate the sweet occasion. Killers are made into heroes. Community centers, schools and summer camps are named after them, and the Palestinian Authority rewards them or their families with monthly pensions.

Larry Shapiro
Calgary, Canada

Climate change virtue signaling

Young Jews are clamoring for U.S. action on climate policy (“Hot and bothered: Young Jews are demanding action on climate change,” July 14). Apparently, they do not know or do not care that China is, by far, the greatest emitter of greenhouse gases and is building coal-fired power plants at a rapid rate. Thus, in a few years even if the U.S. goes to zero emissions and nationwide impoverishment, there will be no change in the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Is that a desired end for virtue-signaling young Jews?

Robert H. Kantor
Palo Alto

You aren’t too old for Zumba

In response to Janet Silver Ghent’s article “True confessions of a lifelong klutz now hooked on Zumba” (June 23).

I began teaching Zumba at age 50. Now, several years later, while I have slowed down a bit, I’m still kicking.

Whenever someone would come to me and say, “I can’t do Zumba, I’m too old,” I would retort, “How old do you think I am?”

In reality, finding fun in Zumba is not about age. It’s about having an open mind and finding the right instructor. A 20-something with super high energy and kicks is probably not going to be the right fit. After all, jumping jacks are not appropriate for every age group. Zumba is also about just having fun, moving and getting a release of endorphins.

One thing that many Zumba instructors don’t tell you is that flexibility and strength are also pieces of the puzzle.

So stretching and a bit of strength training all support the quest to be able to move with ease.

Since the pandemic, I began teaching on Zoom and haven’t stopped.

In order to find a suitable Zumba instructor, go to Zumba.com, click on “find an instructor” and then enter your ZIP code.

To join my free Zoom Zumba class at 9:30 a.m. Fridays, email me at [email protected].

Janice Schooler Litvin
Walnut Creek

Kit and caboodle

A casual mention in Steven Silver’s story about Jewish lightning (“Hulu’s ‘The Bear’ brought up ‘Jewish lightning’: What does it mean, and is it antisemitic?,” July 3) of superhero erotica author Kitty Knish reminds me that her name includes not just one oblique reference to female genitalia, but two. I learned that “knish” is one of those from a movie. Don’t ask me which one.

Thought I’d pass it along. Thanks.

Suzan Lowitz
Los Angeles

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