As the immediate past president of Temple Beth Israel, I found Mark Arax's description of the politics of the Fresno Jewish community overreaching and flawed ("The Valley's Not So Civil War," Feb. 5). The article laments that Temple Beth Israel has exhibited "its own kind of madness" post-9/11, and that pro-Israel advocates have cozied up with "Christian Zionists" to support Israel and the war in Iraq while abandoning the temple's history of advancing "liberal causes."
Our synagogue has had a long history of supporting Israel. Many of our members remain "liberal," and our congregation, like the rest of the country, is divided on the war in Iraq. It is true that a small number of individuals have established a branch of the Republican Jewish Coalition and attempted to build a coalition with pro-Israel Christians. However, this approach, which I personally find divisive in our small community, neither dominates Temple Beth Israel nor has it morphed us into something we are not.
Jerry H. Mann
Via the Internet
I hope this heralds a return to the truthful and courageous reportage that longtime readers have come to expect. But I must disagree with one of Arax's observations. When he acquiesces in his subject's conclusion that "there isn't one clean answer" to the war in Iraq, I cannot help but think he is being overly generous. In fact, the answers to why we have gone into this war are abundantly clear, profoundly evident and grotesquely unacceptable to those of sound mind who have bothered to do the research.
How can Jeff Hubbard not see that there is indeed "one clean answer"? His son Jared died for something he believed in. It may not suit his parents, but it was his life and he chose how to use it. There are only two things parents should give their children: roots and wings. Jared's parents did their job admirably.
Pike Road, Ala.
From Fox to Fresno, right-wing fanatics consistently choose character assassination over rational debate. They are the real threat to civil society, and they frighten me much more than Al Qaeda.
San Luis Obispo