Letters March 15, 2018


Landsberg helped make congressional history

Regarding your obituary of Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, I have one more achievement to add to her considerable list of accomplishments (“Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, 66, sought a place for those with disabilities,” March 8).

On Oct. 24, 1985, Landsberg became the second female rabbi to open the U.S. Congress in prayer. She prayed in the House of Representatives for “all men and women who hold positions of responsibility in our national life.”

Her sponsor, Rep. James Olin (D-Va.), noted she “was among the first 30 women ordained as rabbis in the United States. She came to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia … to serve a seven-county area. She is the valley’s only rabbi and first woman in that position.”


Landsberg followed the first female rabbi guest chaplain (Sally Priesand) by 12 years. The next female rabbi in the House came 10 years later. Of the more than 400 rabbis who have opened the House and Senate in prayer since 1860, 13 have been women.
Howard Mortman
McLean, Va.


Kushner’s clearance is a big problem

Nepotism was supposed to have ended with Robert Kennedy as attorney general (“Kusher is only a symptom,” March 8). It is unethical for Jared Kushner to even hold an official position under his father-in-law.

But there he is, with the Trump administration doing worse than even the gross negligence committed by Hillary Clinton and her immediate staff at the State Department when handling classified information. We don’t know the specifics of Kushner’s security clearance problems, but do know he would have been given top priority for routine investigation. He normally would have been cleared before President Donald Trump was sworn in — such as what happened for senior Obama appointees. We know that Kushner omitted significant contacts with foreign officials, in at least some cases purposely. We know his multibillion dollar debt leaves him open to extortion or bribery.

Holding a temporary security clearance for even a day is practically unheard of. For more than a year? Almost surely unprecedented.
Les Bergen
Arlington, Va.


Brain app not so great
A recent article touts Lumosity helping ward off Alzheimer’s, but that claim was debunked years ago (“7 great apps for seniors,” March 1). The company is even barred from making that claim.

“If playing a game could lower your risk of cognitive decline, would you do it?” That’s the claim that Lumosity, the online “brain training” company based in San Francisco, has used to persuade more than 70 million customers — a figure advertised on the company’s website — to engage with its supposedly neuro-enhancing puzzles. But the evidence for that assertion has been lacking, and now the company has agreed to pay up for peddling what the Federal Trade Commission has described as unfounded claims and deceptive advertising.

Please be more careful about technology recommendations!
Gabriel Goldberg
Falls Church, Va.

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