Much to smile about

Sue Barnett’s wonderful accounting of Toby Adelman’s magnificent gift to Marc Klein should be reprinted and distributed globally (“Gift of life,” July 27).

The piece needs to go on the wire service to every Jewish publication. Potential donors need to read about Toby’s uplifting, life-giving, selfless act. After successful cornea transplant surgery decades ago, I became a donor. In my opinion, organ/tissue donations are something everyone should consider.

Marc has much to smile about.

Richard Aptekar   |   Burlingame

Editor’s note: The JTA (www.jta.org) did indeed distribute the article to Jewish publications nationwide.


Grateful that bridge suicides aren’t forgotten

Thank you Jenni, Eve and Rabbi Angel for making possible the Yizkor service at Sha’ar Zahav (“For the fallen: Syn-agogue service remembers Golden Gate Bridge suicides,” Aug. 3).

I am very grateful that this service was held Aug. 7 to recognize the loss of life at this national landmark.  A major event such as this will help raise awareness to prevent suicides at the bridge.

The religious community came together in 1977 for the bridge’s 40th anniversary, and one speaker stated, “It is entirely fitting that on Memorial Day we are here on account of the hundreds of people who are … casualties of society. For in the final analysis, we have to bear collective responsibility for those individuals … who came to that place of total helplessness, … where they took their own lives here on the beautiful bridge, this Golden Gate Bridge, a symbol of human ingenuity, technological genius but social failure.”

It is time to come together again and make a reality of the original design of this bridge. Chief engineer Joseph Strauss stated in 1936 (as quoted in the San Francisco Call) that suicide would be improbable due to the design of the rails and other interventions. Unfortunately all of that changed, setting the stage for decades of tragedy.

Dayna Whitmer   |   Hercules

Editor’s note: Dayna Whitmer is the mother of Matthew Whitmer, who committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in 2007.


Obama is no friend of Israel

In “Is Obama or Romney a better friend of Israel?” (“Two views,” July 27), unfortunately neither Edgar Bronfman nor former Sen. Ron Coleman discussed the three-part policy toward Israel and the peace process that President Obama unveiled in May 2011. 

First, Israel must agree to the pre-’67 boundaries with land swaps. Second, Israel must agree to full withdrawal of its forces from the West Bank, placing full reliance on the Palestinian security services. President Obama represented this as assuring Israel’s security. Finally, Israel must agree to these two policies before negotiating the end-of-conflict issues of the final status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian right

of return. This last provision is the abandonment of land-for-peace. Israel cedes land and then discusses peace.

Though this policy has not been emphasized during the election period, Obama actually reiterated it at the United Nations last September: “Faced with this stalemate, I put forward a new basis for negotiations in May of this year.”

Anyone who doubts my statements should Google the president’s speech of May 19, 2011 and read it. In casting our ballots in November, we should understand the policies we are choosing or rejecting. Elections do have consequences.

Steve Astrachan   |   Pleasant Hill


Where credit is due

Perhaps letter writer Scott Abramson should check his facts before casting aspersions on the president (“Gospel of Barack?” Aug. 3).

Overall aid to Israel was agreed to in previous administrations with the provision that it had to be renewed every year for the following 10 years by current presidents. The additional aid this time of $70 million dollars for further development of the Iron Dome defense system is purely by this administration.

In fact, the Bush administration did not approve any funds toward the development of the Iron Dome even though requests were made by Israel.

Jon S. Levinson   |   San Carlos