Embrace Ethics Reform Has our communal leadership lost its collective mind (“Jewish Groups To Challenge Ethics Reform,” December 1)? Congressional trips to Israel and worthy community projects do not have to be endangered by ethics reform; they should continue under the basic operations of Congress — not as payoffs for lobbyists whose raison d’etre is the “pay to play” political culture which has poisoned our democratic process for far too long.
Lego Project Builds Understanding of Shoah As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I was appalled by the headline to a November 17 article on the Warsaw Ghetto program using Lego building blocks (“Lego My Ghetto: Sparks Fly Again as Kids Craft Shoah Model”). Web log editor Dan Sieradski, who apparently lacks any direct knowledge of this project, is quoted as criticizing the project for supposedly trivializing the Shoah. Yet the Forward perpetuates that trivialization by choosing such a headline and by cluttering the article with references to the 2002 Jewish Museum exhibit, with which this project has nothing in common.
Levi’s World Was Complex An October 27 Shmooze item refers to Primo Levi’s “death by suicide” (“Primo Voted Number One”). The cause of Levi’s death was a fall into a deep stairwell. Whether that fall was intentional or, as is more likely, accidental, has never (and cannot) be determined.
Borat Is No Mensch, Glod Deserves Better We in the Jewish community shouldn’t be too quick to laud Sacha Baron Cohen, aka, Borat (“Forward 50,” November 10). My husband and I saw the film “Borat,” and while one can’t deny Baron Cohen’s skills as a comic, his talent was overshadowed by the unethical business practices he used in recruiting the “actors” for his film.
Study Exposes the Real Denominational Divide The study conducted by Steven M. Cohen described in your October 27 article “Orthodox See ‘Youth Advantage’” sharply defines the differences among the three major Jewish “denominations.” Its findings demonstrate that American Judaism does not consist of distinct religious streams among the laity as is true of Christianity and Islam.
Student Mag Doesn’t Shy From Tough Issues
I am writing to express my disappointment at the Solelim Fund’s decision to reduce funding to New Voices magazine (“Student Magazine’s Funding Cut,” October 20).
I applaud your October 20 editorial, “Human Rights in Wartime.” You correctly emphasized the greatest concern about the Military Commissions Act of 2006 — its permanence. This war can only end when a future president declares victory and says it’s over, since there can never be a surrender or some other point of closure to the war. In addition, it’s reasonable to assume the act will not be repealed until such a declaration of victory occurs. Therefore, the act gives President Bush and future presidents unchecked power, in essence, forever. That should be a sobering thought for anyone who seriously contemplates this act that was rushed into law during this election season. Sobering and troubling.
In the Beginning… BOOM!
Howard Smith’s interesting article “In the Beginning, 13.73 Billion Years Ago” (Forward, October 13) argues that science and religion should be partners rather than adversaries. Some decades ago, I heard of a group of professionals who put this into ritual practice. At the Simchat Torah readings of the Creation, after the completion of each day, they called out “BOOM!” in honor of the Big Bang. I would be curious to know if this custom has spread.
Scholar No Amateur In a September 22 arts article, Gal Beckerman pays lip service to my book, “Roosevelt and the Holocaust: A Rooseveltian Examines the Policies and Remembers the Times,” casually mentioning it in a few sentences and essentially quoting an article from Publishers Weekly (“Reassessing FDR’s Legacy”). At least the reviewer at Publishers Weekly had the diligence and professionalism to read my book.
What Does Allen Teach Us? The Forward editorializes, “We’ve seen a steady stream of public figures — Madeleine Albright, John Kerry, Tom Stoppard — confronted as adults with the hidden truth of their origins, and forced to absorb it in the glare of public attention. Most respond with thoughtfulness and grace. [George] Allen responded with bluster and lies. That surely teaches us something” (“Curious, George,” September 22).
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