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Letters to the Editor: Why did the L.A. Times print a flippant, insensitive piece about Yom Kippur?

Men face the Western Wall as they pray in Jerusalem.
Men take part in morning prayers before the start of Yom Kippur at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City in 2008.
(Kevin Frayer / Associated Press)

To the editor: In this dismal year, on the eve of the most holy and solemn Jewish holiday, how comforting it could have been to read some words of hope and inspiration.

Instead, the Los Angeles Times chose to print an irreverent, flippant, childish essay written by an admittedly “fallen” Jew who blames G-d for everything from COVID-19 to earthquakes to the “killing” of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

No doubt, many have asked a similar question of G-d as the one posed here by Shalom Auslander, as we watch, in agony, the country falling apart in myriad ways: “What have we done to deserve this?”

But most of us have looked inward to try to correct the problems and ensure solutions, much like L.A. Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and your editorial board did in their unprecedented, courageous and beautifully expressed mea culpa pieces on race. That would have been a more appropriate Yom Kippur message and certainly a more thoughtful and soothing one.

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Marcia Kahan Rosenthal, Santa Monica

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To the editor: I enjoyed Auslander’s piece on Yom Kippur and how it’s time for God to look in the mirror and take some responsibility for designing a product that was going to have major problems.

Religions and their endless numbers of rituals are just more things that continue to reinforce that we are different from each other. They cause so many conflicts between people.

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It’s kind of like nationalism — good for starting wars, but we need it so we can have the Olympics every four years.

Kenny Rich, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: Auslander’s opinion piece is timely and humorous, but it strains credulity. The devastations we’re facing — COVID-19, extreme wildfires, police shootings, Trump administration attacks on democracy and more — are self-inflicted.

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We can’t blame God. We the people chose this president and the members of the Senate. We built our economy on the fossil fuels and excessive consumption that led to global warming. We created systems that militarized policing while starving schools, mental health programs, libraries, parks and other essential community services.

The Day of Atonement is an opportunity to make tomorrow better — and if we don’t, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Choral Brown, Culver City


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