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Mazel Tov and Disgrace

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LOVED THE FEATURE

ELI: Believe it or not, I am the only Jew in my law firm ["Seattle's Jewish Problem," Eli Sanders, Dec 21]. I live in Seward Park now. My grandparents came from Europe to New York, my parents from the East Coast to California, my wife and I from California to Seattle. We have five kids (Eliyahu, Yechaila, Zalman, Moshe, Myer). This year I attended my first office Christmas party ever—a little weird. Anyway, I saw The Stranger today and had to stop and take a look. Very nice article. Happy Chanukah!

Daniel Swedlow

WELL DONE, ELI

ELI: I was surprised at the recent scuffle over the Christmas trees at Sea-Tac. As a lawyer, of course, I know that the law in the area has been settled for quite a while, but as a nice, gay, Jewish boy who grew up in New York, I was just floored—more so by the sentiments that seemed to bubble over in Seattle than by the bumbling by the officials at Sea-Tac.

My view of Seattle has been deeply colored by the extent of the implicit and explicit Jewish life that I knew was there. But until reading your article I never understood on a visceral level how small the Jewish community is and how invisible Jews are in Seattle—at least on a day-to-day level.

So I want to thank you for writing a good, smart, intelligent, and sensitive piece about being Jewish and being a Seattleite.

Jonathan Fine

EVEN GENTILES THINK SO

MR. SANDERS: What a cool story: a really rich, interesting, and meaningful blend of personal, historical, and current material. Not only was the article, despite the headline, far more intelligent than most of The Stranger's writings (you didn't use the f-word once, surprised the editors let it pass) it advanced my knowledge and let me—a mostly white, fourth-generation Californian well-removed from any immigrant experience—look at issues surrounding folks who are somewhat of a different background than mine. My life is suddenly richer because of what you wrote, and I don't say that very often. Thanks for putting yourself out the way you did.

Garrison Bromwell

MEL GIBSON WROTE THE HEADLINE

TO THE EDITOR: Eli Sanders's story on Seattle Jewry was nicely written and an interesting summary of Seattle's Jewish history. It is therefore very unfortunate that it had such a misleading and insensitive headline. Provocative headlines attract readership, but in this case the title was offensive to Holocaust survivors and to all who remember when the "Jewish Problem" had a very different meaning.

It is also unfortunate that he did not mention the "half full" side of the Seattle Jewish community's story.

As small as the community is, it certainly does not lack in vibrancy and continuity. The Jewish Federation has a substantial annual campaign that funds social-service agencies here, in Israel, and wherever there are Jews in need. Over 700 children are enrolled in Jewish day schools, there is a significant Jewish Studies Program at the University of Washington, and there are a great many Jewish religious, educational, and service agencies. There may be "problems," as there are in any community, but the Jewish community of Seattle is thriving.

Lucy and Herb Pruzan

Past Presidents of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle

MAD ABOUT JEW

DEAR ELI: I think you're mistaking Seattleites' ignorance about Judaism with their ignorance about organized religion. Thankfully, we live in the Pacific Northwest—the most secular region of the USA. Just like you, the vast majority of us prefer rational thought over superstition. When people ask you what you're doing for "Christmas," they're not wondering how you plan on worshipping the birth of our lord Jesus Christ. They just want to know what you're doing with your time off from work.

As far as the hipster at that party who used your entrance in the room to announce that "the Jew" had arrived: Fuck hipsters and their stupid irono-sarcastic humor. Rest assured that they're dead inside, and stop being their friend.

Samuel Eli Horwitz-Smith

AMPUTEES DO DANCE

EDITOR: In "Love for the Limbless" [Chris Estey, Dec 14]: "I think probably we're going to be shooting for the multiple amputees," says Bullock.

But you guys are so danceable!

Brady rebuts, "We just want to fill their lives with longing."

My sister is a quadruple amputee thanks to the pharmaceutical companies, and the masters at the gates of birth and dying, and those who control women's bodies and treat the natural cycles as pathological and in need of a fix.

She "dances," thank you, when she isn't too busy as attorney and executive director for the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley and/or serving on the board of the ACLU, making sure you can still make ignorant and cruel statements like you just did, and as an advocate for those with disabilities, and that includes AIDS victims, typically in this part of the world, gay men and other minorities.

And I can say, fuck you and the horse you rode in on. There are much better ways to make your point. People with disabilities do have senses of humor. They have to to get through this asshole of a world. That is not the point. You missed the point.

Kay Taylor

 

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