CCJDS kippah rules should be the same for all

I am a seventh-grade student at Contra Costa Jewish Day School in Lafayette. Ever since I have been attending, the school has had a very controversial rule. It states that boys must wear kippot for religious activities (understandable), but that girls have the option to wear a kippah or not. Lately, CCJDS revised the rule by saying that girls who are leading tefillah [prayer] have to wear a kippah, but this is a very poorly enforced rule.

I believe this to be a very sexist and hypocritical rule because the school has been trying to combat sexism. But by requiring a kippah for boys when they do certain things, school officials have indicated that what the boys are doing is so important it merits the covering of their heads. When girls do not have to cover their heads, the message is that their ritual performance doesn’t count or isn’t as important. In addition, it is also “demoting” girls, making them unequal to boys.  The school is supposed to be egalitarian.

In addition, the rule is only in place because a tiny group of the school’s families have advocated for it. That defeats the school’s purpose as a community school.

Asher Berlin   |   Lafayette


Take action against ‘hooligans’ at SFSU

In the early 1930s, groups marched in the streets in Berlin, shouting down anything or anyone they disagreed with. This was the embryo of Nazi party. The police did nothing.

A group of hooligans, using a sound system and megaphones, some wearing kaffiyehs and carrying Palestinians flags, disrupted a planned talk given by a foreign dignitary. The dignitary was the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat. This disgraceful event took place on April 6 on the campus of San Francisco State University. The university police stood by and did nothing. (“SFSU promises probe after protesters disrupt Jerusalem mayor’s talk,” April 15).

Why is this outrageous behavior condoned at a state university? This was a planned disruption, carried out by a well-organized group with the intent to harass and intimidate one specific group, Jewish students.

Why is an organization that fuels hate and anti–Semitism, while violating the rights and civil liberties of others, allowed to exist on a campus funded by California tax dollars?

We strongly urge the state government take immediate action on this issue. A similar situation occurred in Irvine and criminal charges were filed.

R.G. Schlecker   |   South San Francisco

Ruth B. Gundelfinger   |   Marin


UNESCO’s verbiage on Temple Mount is insulting

Shame on the United Nations and UNESCO. Once the U.N. was imagined as a “family” of nations with the secretary general as a sort-of guiding “father” figure.

In real families, siblings frequently quarrel and even fight, but most “parent” figures would draw the line when one sibling threatens (or attempts) to kill a fellow sibling. The U.N. secretary, however, stands by as U.N. members, with murderous intent, gang up on a fellow U.N. “sibling” — Israel.

Beyond censoring history (like Israel’s exhibit on Zionism), the U.N. is actually rewriting it. Arafat may have appeared an ignorant liar when telling an incredulous Bill Clinton that “Jews had no history in Jerusalem.” But now UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has declared by omission that Jews/Israel have no ties to the Temple Mount.

The UNESCO resolution is not ignorant. It is a calculated, anti-Israel/anti-Jewish, politically motivated denial of nearly 3,000 years of documented history.

June Brott   |    Walnut Creek


Veto the resolution on Israeli settlements

The Palestinians are circulating a draft resolution at the United Nations seeking condemnation of Israeli settlements.

To date, the Obama administration has refused to take a position on this resolution, leaving open the possibility the United States will abstain (rather than exercise its veto power) if and when this resolution comes up for a vote. Although the Obama administration continues to take the position that settlements are illegal, in the past, all such resolutions have been vetoed by the United States.

In a speech before the U.N. in 2011, President Barack Obama said that peace will come only through direct negotiations and not through resolutions passed at the U.N. Susan Rice, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made similar comments at the U.N. in 2011, stating that “every potential action must be measured against one overriding standard: Will it move the parties closer to negotiations and an agreement?”

Clearly, this proposed resolution fails the Susan Rice test. President Obama: Head off this ill-founded resolution at the pass; make it clear your administration will veto any such resolution. And Hillary Clinton can prove her bona fides on Israel by taking a stand against any such resolution.

Eric Horodas   |   Oakland


Learning Hebrew is an obligation and a gift

I became fascinated with Hebrew when I learned in Catholic college that Hebrew had come back to life after thousands of years being a “dead” language. I am honored to now be a Member of the Tribe.

Much like the miracle that is modern Israel, why would parents not want their children to learn our now-living Hebrew? (“Hebrew not required: More Jewish day schools let students opt out,” March 25). It’s wonderful that we have a vibrant, modern, evolving Hebrew language that accommodates new words and ideas as well as being the sacred vessel of God’s voice to our people.

Our children attended Jewish day schools so that they could learn Torah in the original language. Nothing translates perfectly; we wanted our children to hear the nuance of the original words. We would never have cheated them of that gift, right and obligation.

Anne M. Storm   |   San Mateo


Leaving out the facts led to uproar at talk

I would like to add to the article “Student protester’s ‘scary’ lesson at anti-Israel talk” (April 8). The woman who got upset was provoked by Alison Weir leaving out the Nazi genocide of European Jews as a factor in her summary of events leading to the creation of Israel. The upset woman identified herself as a child of Holocaust survivors and wanted Weir to acknowledge the Holocaust. Instead, the woman was thrown out of the talk and then harassed and arrested.

Jews were not allowed to speak at the talk to provide rebuttal to Weir’s anti-Semitic attacks. Any attempts were met with forced ejection and threats of arrest. The article correctly identified the evening as frightening.

Deborah Prager Burstyn   |   Walnut Creek