Re: Howard Blume’s “Abandoning the Kids” [December 7–13]. The plan to close five of the seven Los Angeles–area Jewish Community Centers is a shocking example of moral bankruptcy. Too many within the Jewish establishment are afflicted by an Edifice Complex that blinds them to the true, immediate and pressing needs of our community. As the president of an organization that is a paying tenant of the Westside Jewish Community Center, I have seen firsthand the wide-ranging diversity of people served by the JCC — senior citizens, preschool children, working parents, summer campers, Israeli dancers, teenage basketball players, adolescent swimmers and other recreational enthusiasts. I have seen how the JCC brings together Jews from across our religion’s many denominational and ethnic lines, and how these centers reach out generously to the non-Jewish residents of the surrounding communities. If we have to move, our organization will surely find another home. But the same cannot be said for the many poor, working- and middle-class residents for whom the JCC is an indispensable and irreplaceable oasis and lifeline.
The root of the Hebrew word for charity (tzedakah) is tzedek — justice. Even if charitable fund-raising is suffering, it is unforgivable that the JCCs and the functions they uniquely perform are not at the very top of the communal funding agenda.
—Douglas E. Mirell President, Progressive Jewish Alliance Los Angeles
THE BODY POLITIC
Re: “Every Woman Can” [A Considerable Town, December 7–13]. The girls of Velvet Hammer define the female form in all its naturally diverse glory. And while I truly appreciate the article written by Judith Lewis, I believe she does them, and women in general, a disservice by ending on the “sex objects without being skinny” note. Skinny doesn’t play into the equation, and is irrelevant until someone else brings it up.ä If these women seek “liberation,” as Lewis suggests, I imagine it’s more from nagging commentary than on something as tedious as dress size.
JUDITH LEWIS REPLIES: In a city where expectations of physical perfection border on tyranny, Velvet Hammer’s revelation that women’s bodies can be objects of eroticism without being model- (or stripper-) perfect is certainly not beside the point.
BEAT THE SYSTEM?
Re: “Burning Love” [Reverb, December 7–13]. I was amazed at the monument of ass-kissing that was Paul Rogers’ article about System of a Down. I actually like the band, but that was the closest thing to a press release I have read in the Weekly in 15 years. Send the article to Teen Beat and watch the editors laugh as they cut out the sap. There’s a church on every corner, bro. Why worship four guys from Glendale?
In “Rising After the Fall” [New World Disorder, December 7–13], Steven Leigh Morris mentions a doctor who worked on a cholera vaccine in “the south Soviet territory.” Guys, over the past few years there have been several nasty outbreaks of diseases in the former Soviet territories. Perhaps these incidents account for American reluctance to deal too closely with their Soviet counterparts on such issues. Unless, of course, you don’t believe that the numerous reported lapses of security in various Soviet biological (and nuclear) programs have actually happened. Our own record in these areas is far from sterling, but the Russians . . .
Okay. You’re right. Americans are arrogant. It’s our fault. Again.
In “The Feminine Mistake” [Cakewalk, December 7–13], Erin Aubry Kaplan assured me that I am in touch with myself and the world. The last three paragraphs, when she talks about finding something to wear and then worrying about reactions, hit home with me, because last week I decided to wear the same pair of pants to work for five days. At day three, I was thinking maybe I should put on another pair, but they felt so good I said, “Forget it, I’m wearing ’em because I like ’em!” I did change the rest of my outfit. I shower twice a day and sit in an office at work. In between home and work is my car. I justified my actions via my “cleanliness,” and it felt good, and no one cared.
Anyway, I hope she reads this and becomes inspired enough to put on the wardrobe of her choice without second-guessing or caring what anyone else thinks. Girl, go wild!