I found myself somewhat perplexed by Ruby Kaplan’s Sept. 12 letter. I totally respect her feelings about the “Noshes” page and where she’d like to see it placed. But it does seem rather chutzpahdik to suggest a newspaper change its format to please her sense of priorities, thinking perhaps that every other reader feels as she does.
Quite a few years ago, when one of my hats at the JCC was director of the Infant/Toddler Program, a furious mom entered my office demanding that a particular facilitator be fired because she didn’t like her or her style and insisted that “everybody else feels the same way.” She was totally incredulous when told that not only didn’t everybody else feel the same way, but that there were moms who signed up for this facilitator’s groups semester after semester and would not make any parenting or family decisions before consulting her.
I love the “Noshes” column for what it is and where it is. To me it is a “forshpeis,” a tasty beginning that whets my appetite for the rest of the paper. And in no way do I find it demeaning to anything that might be more “important.” Ms. Kaplan’s preferred reading of the “important” news first and saving “Noshes” for dessert seems the smartest way for her to go.
As for Rabbi Boteach – he is critical of how other people run their lives and has the perfect suggestion for how they can be better parents (and make the world and society a better place): be home for their children. However, as far as I know, the Oprah show is taped in Chicago, and not all the “Shalom in the Home” episodes are taped in Bergen County, nor are the various TV and radio shows and panel discussions in which Rabbi Boteach participates and which, I suppose, he does for both fame and financial compensation; the man is entitled, after all, as are other parents, to earn a living. I’m going to assume the rabbi is at home on Shabbos as he so admires Sen. Lieberman for being. However, it is possible that his large family, to whom he refers so frequently in his column, might also have need of him the other six days of the week. How is it that the good rabbi is exempt from the very rules and criticism he provides for everyone else? Maybe he has heard the saying, “People in glass houses….”
Finally, I was emotionally touched, when I read of Anna Birman, speaking on the Georgia/Russian situation from Dnepropetrovsk, as this was the city (then known as Yeketerinaslav) where my father was born in 1910, eight years before arriving in this golden land through the golden gates of San Francisco.