One last comment which makes our plight more ridiculous. When Calle 22 first came before the Open Space Committee, we had two proposals: 23rd and Treat, a community park; and the site adjacent to the Mission Recreation Center, on the 2400 block of Harrison Street between 20th and 21st streets, for expansion of the center to have a badly needed outdoor area.
The latter site, actually three 25x75-foot lots, was probably vacant since the 1906 earthquake (lead paint?) and was the long-term site of an old fenced-off junkyard of oily engine parts, old decaying vehicles, nasty pit bulls, and other junk. In other words, it probably had as much toxic shit in the ground as our 23rd and Treat site. However, the latter site is now a fully utilized addition to the center, for close to two years, but not ours. Is there a double standard?
Mixed Auto Motives
I appreciated the well-written, informative story about the Jewish Educational Center of the U.S.A. in the Jan. 22 issue. However, I take great offense at your incendiary headline -- "Would You Buy a Used Car From This Rabbi?" -- which impugns my character and has little to do with the story inside.
As you know, I have dedicated my life to helping Russian Jewish immigrants. The automobile donation program is our main source of funds for the more than one dozen programs we developed and maintain to assist this community. Your cover photo and headline, which assails my character, only add to our organization's hardships in these difficult times -- where even the slightest appearance of impropriety damages our organization's reputation and subsequently undermines our ability to continue programming for this traditionally underserved community.
Additionally, I would like to make two corrections to your story.
Your article stated that I joined the Lubavitch when I turned 18 years old. My family and I have actually been Lubavitch Hasidim for six generations, and I studied in a Lubavitch Yeshiva since I was 16 years old. Also, Rebbe Schneerson did not make a mistake, as your article stated, by not appointing an heir. Hasidic philosophy states there can only be seven rebbes because after the seventh the Messiah would come.
Schneerson was the seventh rebbe. However, he did appoint a group of rabbis: Rabbi Marlow, Rabbi Heller, and Rabbi Osdoda, who were also approved by Crown Heights.
Having set the record straight, I look forward to working with SF Weekly in the future.
Rabbi Bentziyon Pil
Jewish Educational Center U.S.A.
Due to an editing error, in last week's Mulch about the settlement of Christine Lavin's sexual harassment suit against C. David Burgin ("Confidentially Yours"), Oakland City Councilman John Russo was misquoted as saying Burgin felt "vindicated" by the outcome. In fact, he said Lavin felt that way.