The Conversation

By | Nov 28, 2023
2023 November/December

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I enjoyed reading Tom Gjelten’s “Miami Is Changing—So Are Miami’s Jews” (Fall 2023). It reminded me of the late 1950s when as a child I vacationed with my family in a rundown Art Deco hotel in South Miami Beach. I still remember the small black-and-white TV with rabbit ears that got one channel in our hotel room. Coming from a town in Florida with few Jews, I was thrilled to be immersed in a Jewish world, hearing Yiddish spoken and seeing Judaica stores and signs in Hebrew on seemingly every corner.

In my opinion, the many Hispanic immigrants, Jewish and otherwise, who fled to Miami from failed socialist countries are one of the main reasons the Greater Miami area has turned from blue to red. These immigrants have firsthand experience of the promises and the failures of a classless society. Socialism failed the people in the Marxist Soviet Union, Mao’s China and Maduro’s Venezuela. Another reason for the switch to red is that many young Orthodox Jewish families have migrated to the area. I am encouraged by the changing demographic. With the influx of legal immigrants from these countries, more people know the truth about the false promises being made in America today. Promises only the heavy hand of political tyranny could enforce.
Sheldon Wolf
Tampa, FL


I was born at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, and lived in Miami for a number of years. Although, as Tom Gjelten’s story notes, restrictive covenants in Miami Beach were officially prohibited in 1949, pockets of private discrimination persisted for many years. Two particular fortresses in Miami Beach come to mind, both private: The Bath Club and The Surf Club. In addition, there were municipalities north of the Miami Beach city limits that were known for their exclusivity, namely the village of Bal Harbour, long notorious for its open hostility to Jews.
Michael Alan Finn
Washington, DC


This article assumes that all the Jews in Miami-Dade live in Miami Beach and further north. I grew up Jewish in Coral Gables, a suburb of Miami; my parents moved there in 1948—not to South Beach. There were plenty of Jews there and in southwest Miami-Dade County (such as the Palmetto area), and there still are. I think the author has a very narrow view of the growth of the Jewish population in Miami-Dade. Temple Beth Am in that area was the largest Reform synagogue south of Atlanta. I know that Miami Beach has become Orthodox, but there are still Reform and Conservative Jews in Miami, which, again, is a different city but still part of Miami-Dade County. Also, the photo captions in “Miami Is Changing” are incorrect in stating that the pictures were taken in “South Miami.” They were taken in South Beach, which is part of Miami Beach.
Janet F. Katz
Washington, DC

Editor’s note: Thank you for pointing out the captions error. The location has been corrected in the online version.



In reviewing Jeffrey S. Gurock’s Marty Glickman: The Life of an American Jewish Sports Legend (“The Voice behind the Swish!” Fall 2023), Marc Fisher relates that Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller were removed from the 400-meter relay race at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. (Fisher refers to it as the “100-meter” relay race. There’s no such race in the Olympics, and probably no such race anywhere else. Who runs only 25 yards?)

I’m retrospectively rooting for my fellow Jews. But I wonder whether some explanation would be helpful as to why Glickman and Stoller were pulled from the race in favor of Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe, who were “the fastest sprinters on the American squad.” If the latter two were America’s fastest sprinters, why wouldn’t they have been scheduled in the first place?
Stephen Listfield
Atlanta, GA

Editor’s note: The race should have been referred to as the 4 x 100 meter relay. Gurock quotes Glickman’s explanation for substitution: “We were replaced to save Hitler…from embarrassment by having Jews compete and stand on the winning podium.” Others have speculated that Glickman and Stoller got sidelined simply because the coaches weren’t confident they’d win.


Wow! What a terrific story about a real American and Jewish hero, Marty Glickman. Many in my class of 1959 at New Rochelle High School remember Marty as he broadcast the TV games on Thanksgiving Day in New Rochelle. Quite something at the time. Glickman’s story is almost legendary in Westchester County and the greater New York area to old-timers like me. On a personal level, Marty’s daughter, Nancy, was my first crush, although she never even noticed me. I hope she is alive and well.
Bob Barnes
Melbourne, FL



Thank you to Fania Oz-Salzberger for her voice of calm and balance, and for not stirring up emotions, in the October 25 zoominar with Amy E. Schwartz (“The Israel-Hamas War Through the Eyes of a Writer”). It is not easy to speak clearly and decisively about such terrible events. I was interested to learn how wisely and sometimes warmly many Arab Israelis have responded to the Hamas attacks. People—people are the most important. I was afraid that the desire for revenge would triumph. I believe Hamas will be destroyed, but who will we all be if a sea of blood is shed?
Jerzy Halbersztadt
Warsaw, Poland 


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