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Jewish-born children deserve to be raised as Jews

To the editor: It looks like Annabelle Gurwitch as a "second generation American," but Jewish nonetheless, has forgotten the lessons of 5,000 years of Jewish history and more recently of World War II: No matter how far you distance yourself from your Jewish roots, the haters in the world will always see you as a Jew. ("Part 'none,' part Jewish, all teenager -- and leery about anti-Semitism in Europe," op-ed, Feb. 24)

Yet, by raising her son without any meaningful Jewish connection, she has left him with only one defense: to hide the fact he is Jewish from a hostile world.

Had she instead chosen to raise her son with his rich Jewish heritage and instilled in him a pride for who he is and where he comes from, she could have empowered him with the knowledge, culture and strength of a community that could someday protect him when he may need it most.

Rena Kreitenberg, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I reflect back on the days of the Great Depression in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn where I grew up. I noted many families who changed their names: Lashinsky became Lashley, Goldstein became Gold, Shapiro became Sharp, and Petrofsky became Porter.

This was only a small part of the response to the anti-Semitism that was in the U.S. and spreading across Europe under fascism.

Jews born after World War II often became less Jewish; they were less observant of Jewish holidays, the Sabbath and other rituals so as not to be readily identified as Jews. In the safety of the Jewish ghetto, one needn't be too concerned about "looking or acting Jewish." But in much of the country, Jews stood out and were often marginalized. Intermarriage has become as common or even more so than Jews marrying other Jews.

Bigotry will always exist, whether their target is Jews, blacks or, more recently, Muslims.

Sol Taylor, Studio City

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