Open letter to Lyra Halprin in regards to her Oct. 13 column “The nativity and the trailer.”

In your column you talk about being discriminated against for your faith. You talk about Jews dying in the holocaust. You bring up various artists, many Jews, forced to answer to the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Then you say how happy you were to see that last December, for the first time in Palisades Park, atheist groups set up the vast majority of the stalls instead of the nativity scenes. You wrote that the nativity scenes “said to me that the status quo was still white and Christian; few children of color attended my elementary school and I knew only two other Jews.”

Well you know what? Jesus was … um… Jewish. Mary, Jewish. Joseph, a Jew. Virtually every major person depicted in the nativity scenes you loathe — Jewish. The wise men were most likely people of color. Final score of people featured in the nativity scenes — Jews and people of color: three. Whites: zero. Christians depicted: zip, zero, nada.

History shows us the more things change the more they stay the same. Just as your article so beautifully explains, guess who’s being discriminated against, yet again? Yep, the Jews! Poor Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, all Jews mocked and attacked by the atheists and ultimately banned from the park by the (all white) members of the City Council of Santa Monica.

Sadly, you have heaped coals on the discrimination by writing a column for the SMDP applauding the atheists’ behavior. You glowingly call the atheists “innovators.” Jews in the Holocaust died for their faith. Faith was important. Faith was everything to them. Do you think those concentration camp Jews would applaud atheists who mock the god of Israel?

You write that “I knew terrible things happened to Jews … which is probably why as a child I understood the need to keep a low profile.” If you read Matthew 2:16-18 you will see that when King Herod found out that Jesus was born he feared Jesus might usurp his throne so he ordered all Jewish boys under the age of 2 to be killed, therefore fulfilling what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet. Consequently, Mary and Joseph fled with their Jewish baby to Egypt where they stayed until Herod died.

So if you really think about it, as a Jew with connections to the Holocaust you have a lot in common with that young family depicted in the nativity scenes. On a personal note, speaking as a Christian, you have to know that we love Jewish people because our savior is, after all, a Jew from a long line of Jews that we trace back to the very same god you believe in.

I beg you to reconsider your opposition. If anyone can understand the discrimination against these nativity scenes depicting a young Jewish family it’s you.


Eric Cooper

Santa Monica




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