Page One

letters to the Editor

Wednesday June 20, 2001

Caring for the caregivers 



When a person is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, attention immediately shifts to him or her. The physician focuses on treatment and cure. Family and friends visit or call to inquire about the welfare of the patient. The caregiver, on the other hand, is most often forgotten.  

In the case of a terminal or fatal illness that may last years, it’s a long period of care for the 

patient. It’s a long period for the caregiver to be giving his or her all. Professional literature on care for the caregiver tells us that a patients’ care is dependent on how well the caregiver is taken care of.  

Family Caregivers Alliance and Eldercare Services are excellent organizations to get resource information.  

If you’re not able to find one that meets your need, start one, if possible. My church came alongside my husband and I and worked with us to start a Caregivers Survival Series and a support group. Care of the caregiver is vital to good care of the ill person and 

a must for the survival of the caregiver. 


Kate Gong 



Give it all away 



The Supreme Court has now allowed Bible study and other religious activity to take place in the public schools.  

Why not go the logical whole hog? 

The public schools hold classes Monday through Friday; weekends most are deserted.  

The holy Sabbaths of Christians and Jews occur on Saturday and Sunday, when communal religious services are held in their churches and synagogues. Monday through Friday their sanctuaries stand virtually empty. (Of regularly spaced communal religious services in mosques, I am ashamed to say, I am too ignorant to speak.) 

Why not abandon churches and synagogues (mosques too?) and fully utilize our public school buildings by holding the nation’s communal religious services in them? Perhaps as worshippers the public could see to it that all our public school buildings be kept in much better condition than we arrange for as taxpayers! 

The consequently abandoned formerly religious edifices could give around-the -clock shelter to the impoverished, usually in more convenient locations than where our present jerry-rigged patchwork of “homeless shelters” are hidden away in half-deserted blighted neighborhoods or abandoned military posts, far from job opportunity and public transportation, to mollify sanctimonious NIMBY’S.  

A fantastic idea? Yes, but doesn’t it make sense? 


Judith Segard Hunt 




Beth El’s good works deserves public support 



The City Council's public hearing on Congregation Beth El's new synagogue amazed me. Though I have belonged to the congregation for more than 20 years, I didn't know, until that night, the full story of what Beth El does for its members and for the community. 

Nearly 400 people came to the hearing and stayed late into the night to thank and support Beth El. You couldn't help noticing that these speakers looked like Berkeley itself - young, old, and in-between; of many different religions and races; from every neighborhood in the city. 

Some critics of the project, nearly all of whom live near the new site, spoke too. They were a very homogeneous group, and they didn't mention people much. They talked mainly about creeks and trees. 

As someone who has not been close to the situation, but who listened carefully that night, it struck me that the congregation, despite its focus on services to people, is also doing more to restore Codornices Creek and to protect trees on the site than anyone has done before.  

The questions I was left with were: Is Codornices Creek the real agenda of the opponents of this project?  

If so, why haven't they done more to take care of the creek in their neighborhood over the years?  

Why did they wait until Beth El bought the property to wage a campaign to open a part of the creek that is 27 feet underground?  

Why didn't they find a way to buy the property themselves or persuade the city buy it if they wanted it to be open space? 

I don't know the answers to these questions, but what I do know now is that Congregation Beth El has an outstanding plan to take care of people - and creeks and trees. 


Jeffrey Brand 






Beth El needs more space for its good works 


The Daily Planet received this letter addressed to the Mayor and City Council: 

I am writing in strong support of the effort to build a new synagogue for the Beth El congregation at 1301 Oxford.  

The congregation is engaged in many good works in the community and deserves to have a larger space as the number of members and their activities have increased.  

It is clear the congregation has made great efforts to meet the requirements of the Zoning Commission and the wishes of the near neighbors.  

As an urban sociologist, I am well aware of the need to preserve truly beautiful buildings, major historical sites, and important open space available for public use.  

There is nothing of that kind at the site chosen by Beth El for their new building.  

Also as an urban sociologist, I know that all cities must evolve and grow, neighborhoods shift, and institutions expand and contract if the city is to continue to be a live entity.  

It seems to me that the opposition to this new building and grounds is a form of trying to reverse this inevitable process in a very destructive way.  

As a member of the Pastoral Council at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church I am also aware of the difficulty religious communities in Berkeley have in making any changes to their plant or grounds no matter how much these changes may contribute to the common good of the community.  

It does not seem a practice designed to enhance the social and physical health of the city.  

I hope you will consider the extensive efforts made by Beth El to satisfy the Zoning Commission and disregard the efforts of the Landmarks Commission to prevent this synagogue from being built.  



Mary Anna C. Colwell 




The creation of a martyr 



One might be opposed to the death penalty as a matter of conscience, but still consider it for bosses and program directors of the electronic media.  

They bombarded the public with messages that have greatly contributed to confusion, frustration, anger and paranoia that have become common among the population.  

It took the Pope many years to create over 400 new Saints but the media created the biggest martyr of the century in just a few days! 


Max Alfert