Readers comments 11-28-14

With peace

Dear Editor:

I want to thank Cantor Paul Buch of Temple Beth Israel  for sharing his insightful and ethical understanding of the special relationship shared by Jews and Muslims in the November 14 issue of the COURIER.

As a fellow Jew, I have been distressed by the sometimes extreme anti-Muslim sentiment voiced by some of my supposed coreligionists.  For reasons I do not understand, too many of my fellow Jews refuse to accept the teachings of Amos, when he reminds us (9:7): “Are you not as the sons of Ethiopia, oh children of Israel,” which emphasizes the idea that we and they are the same; that they, too, are “as the children of Israel?”

I also cannot understand why so many of my fellow Jews, when it comes to dealing with relations between Muslims and Jews, do not try to adhere to the lesson of our foremost prophet Isaiah when he reminds us to “Come, let us reason together.”

I applaud the activities of Temple Beth Israel in participating in such events as the annual Interfaith Walk for Peace, which includes visits not only to TBI and local Christian churches, but also to our local Islamic Study Center.

I am hopeful that the newly-elected President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, who appears to have a more realistic understanding of the acceptable role of Muslims in relation to Israel, will help bring about a greater effort at working together with the Muslims, whose basic rights he seems to acknowledge.

We have experienced for too long the hateful and spiteful policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which have served only to encourage the ongoing dissension.

I thank Cantor Buch and President Rivlin for their acceptance of the idea, as expressed in the Cantor’s essay, for their desire for “the reconnection of our two (and including Christians, three) separated peoples if not in complete harmony, then at least in dialogue and mutual respect.”

It is important that we remember that Jews must learn the ways of peace, even when it is so difficult. Cantor Buch’s essay will serve to help us continue in this direction.

 As is said by Jews of good intent when ending letters or conversations, “B’Shalom,” or “With Peace.”

 Don Fisher



How does your garden grow?

Dear Editor:

The city just received its annual report card, which examines how well the City Sustainability Plan is moving forward, and we are making good progress! Those of us who like gardens can help the process along mightily by developing beautiful landscapes that have reduced environmental impact.

Visiting successful local gardens is a good way to get ideas (and it’s a lot of fun, too!) The Sustainable Claremont Garden Club is looking for interesting ones of all types to include in its garden tour on April 19, 2015. We hereby invite you to suggest gardens (yours or others) for us to consider as part of the event. Let us know if you’re interested by emailing gardenclub@sustainable

Sue Schenk



Keystone XL

Dear Editor:

In his letter (COURIER, November 21), Hayden Lening commented on the rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline by the Senate, calling the Senate Democrats “the party of no.” 

A clever but mistaken move: the Republicans are the party of no because they have, as a matter of party policy, rejected almost everything President Obama has proposed over the last two years for no reason other than to prevent him from having any achievements. When the Democrats intelligently vote no on a single bill, Mr. Lening and the right try to misdirect our attention and use the label appropriate to their party.

And, contrary to Mr. Lening, the rejection of the pipeline is necessary for the well-being of the country. Most importantly, both the mining and the refining of tar sands oil will cause a huge increase in atmospheric carbon, significantly increasing global warming—just when we are trying to get it under some control. While rejection of the pipeline will not prevent the extraction of the oil (that is Canada’s problem) this country can make it economically less feasible by rejecting the pipeline and the refinery.

Moreover, the pipeline would be carrying the dirtiest, most corrosive oil on earth across environmentally-sensitive areas. Tar sands oil, because of its corrosive nature, causes vastly more pipeline leaks and thus oil spills than even normal long-distance piping.

The system would bring virtually no oil to the US—the line cuts across the US to a refinery on the Gulf of Mexico from where the refined oil will be shipped to China. Guess who is funding the tar sands project? China! In fact, the entire project is not an American project but is for the benefit of multinational oil interests.

And those jobs that Mr. Lening says we will be losing? They probably amount to just over 2500 construction jobs for two years—construction jobs that could be created to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. What about permanent jobs? The best estimate is that the pipeline would require a permanent work force of 35 (yes 35! Of course, we could employ lots of people to clean up the oil spills.)

The project is a looming disaster for the US and the Canadian province of Alberta is already suffering environmental destruction. And it isn’t dead yet: the President has not yet vetoed it. One can only hope that will be the end of the matter.

 Merrill Ring



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