By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Thank You for Ruining My Wedding
I find it somewhat humorous when I hear or read about Loring Frank, as I did in Ray Martinez's article "Rabbi with a Cause" (April 17). My husband and I once availed ourselves of Loring Frank's services, and all we have left is bitter, sardonic laughter.
In 1989 we asked Mr. Frank to marry us because we believed he was a legitimate rabbi and because we had heard that he would marry us although we were not members of a temple.
Our wedding was ruined because he showed up for it two hours late. He never even apologized to me. He did perform a brief, nice ceremony before descending on what was left of our food (we may have had the world's only wedding at which the guests ate before the ceremony) while hitting on two of my girlfriends.
As a result of Mr. Frank's despicable behavior that night, and after learning that he had scheduled a wedding and a bat mitzvah in two different parts of the tri-county area for the same period as our wedding, and after learning that the Hebrew date on our ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) was incorrect, and after learning that apparently his only rabbinical credentials were those instantly bestowed upon him by his father (thank God his dad wasn't a heart surgeon, although Mr. Frank did do a good job of cutting my heart out), we briefly joined a lawsuit and appeared on A Current Affair so that perhaps others could be warned.
In today's world Loring Frank's actions do not rank him too highly on a list of the most evil charlatans, I guess, but they should be made known because they hurt innocent and trusting people, and they do so under the guise of a religious leader and teacher. In spite of Mr. Frank's efforts at our wedding, my husband and I have a wonderful marriage. We live with the knowledge that we are not officially married as Jews, which is very important to us, and that our carefully planned wedding was made a shambles of because of his apparent greed and lack of caring, and that this hedonistic psuedoreligious figure is free to continue.
I question Mr. Frank's "honorary" rabbinical degree. Was this degree bestowed because of his lifetime of rabbinical study, his "science" of twenty-minute marriages and instant conversions, or are the qualifications more like those advertised in a TV commercial, where you can get a degree by mail?
I do commend Mr. Frank for his efforts in bringing some $200,000 to his temple, but I wonder if the "expenses" the temple pays for include much other than the penthouse, the Mercedes, the Harley, the pinkie ring, the gold, the Guccis, and the pubescent girlfriends. I also find it bizarre to read reports of him all decked out in his ostentatious greed while talking about hypocrisy.
Mr. Frank, as a Jew you embarrass and shame me.
Barbara Weinman McElwee
Calling All Naked Scientists
In reading "Rabbi with a Cause" I discovered that Loring Frank, like myself, hangs out at Haulover Beach, and before that we both used the Palms Hotel rooftop solarium. But to my knowledge I never met any naturalists there. Admittedly I did not survey all the naturists present as to their occupations, as perhaps was done by writer Ray Martinez.
As a naturist who is also quite interested in the natural sciences, I would be interested in meeting such like-minded naturalists. But I suspect that Martinez, like other writers, merely confused the two similar terms.
While the AP stylebook has been reluctant to include naturist in its list of acceptable terminology, the American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary (third edition, 1993) will give you the several definitions of naturalist and naturalism as well as the one definition of naturism: n. Nudism. -- naturist.
Cuba's Problems, Out Problems
I read Elise Ackerman's article on documentary filmmakers Joe Cardona and Alex Anton and their film ?Adios, Patria? ("Images of Exile," April 10), and though I am not a Cuban American or a Cuban immigrant, I would like to express my sympathy for the plight of the Cuban people and those working to restore democracy in Cuba.
From the article alone I can believe them when they say they feel a great deal for their heritage and have taken it upon themselves to educate the public about the serious problems in Cuba. The purpose of my letter is not to point fingers or place blame, but even with the large number of Cuban and Cuban-American residents here in South Florida, only a small number demonstrate their concern about the problems that plague Cuba. But pointing out Cubans as the only ones who should bear responsibility defeats the purpose of my letter.
As Floridians we are more aware of what goes on in Cuba than residents of any other state, but none of us is informed enough. We know it's "not good" down there, but that is something we store in our subconscious, something that makes it to the forefront of our minds only when we watch the news or see something like Mr. Cardona and Mr. Anton's documentary.
It is not a matter of being pro Cuba or pro politics; it is about being pro justice and pro human rights. There shouldn't be questions about what people they are or what country it is. People are suffering, and suffering is universal; part of being a human being is feeling empathy.
Mr. Anton and Mr. Cardona are showing an awareness of a problem they are uniquely attached to because of their genealogy. That doesn't make it less a problem for the rest of us. If we could all open our hearts and our minds, we could be one step ahead of all who make the world imperfect. Joe Cardona and Alex Anton have taken a step in that direction, and for that I applaud them.
Hialeah Doesn't Want Your Trashy Riffraff
Carmen Rodriguez's letter about Kirk Semple's article "South Beach Goes Palm Beach" (April 3), in which she criticized Carnival Miami South Beach, prompted me to say this: Leave Hialeah out of it! How dare she say, "Let this trashy event take place in Hialeah." There are good, honest, hard-working people living in Hialeah, and yet she makes such a racist remark. She also referred to the people at the Carnival as "uneducated green-card seekers." Being Latin herself, she obviously doesn't remember that at one point in her life she or someone in her family was a "green-card seeker."
I suggest Ms. Rodriguez put all her anger into something more productive instead of hating humanity so much.
Deport Those Dwarfs!
I would like to ask Carmen Rodriguez to define "class" and "green-card seeking." This stereotyping by her only demonstrates ignorance and resentment, and shows that she herself has no class. She may find it hard to believe, but the only class of people Miami Beach merchants like are the ones with money. But it doesn't take a Carnival to make Miami Beach a zoo; there are plenty of unsavory characters who make their permanent homes there.
I have a suggestion for Ms. Rodriguez: Unless she is in the class of the rich and famous (if she were, she wouldn't be hanging out in Miami Beach during Carnival), she should try Disney World next time these festivities roll around. Perhaps the only fat belly there would be that of Mickey Mouse, and her eyes wouldn't be offended. She could also check out the legal status of the Seven Dwarfs.
Buena Vista Good, Miami Inspectors Bad
Sue Cheaney's response to my letter about Buena Vista East (March 6) was eloquent and passionate, but I believe she misread it. I have nothing but praise and good wishes for those people trying to build up Buena Vista today. My gripe now and when we lived there was with the City of Miami -- its incompetent administrators, its unhelpful staffers, its nonexistent code enforcement, and its unresponsive police department.
Ms. Cheaney posed three questions, and I would like to respond. When we moved out of our house in 1983, we rented it to a family consisting of a Haitian father, an African-American wife/mother, and their children. They were good tenants and stayed a couple of years. After they left we rented it to another family consisting of a Caucasian-American mother, her daughter, and her daughter's children. We had to evict them about a year later because they stopped paying the rent. We then decided to make an active effort to sell the house, and therefore left it vacant until it was sold later that year -- 1987.
I did not go outside and tell the men burglarizing our neighbor's house to stop, because I was afraid they would shoot me. I did not take pictures, because I did not have a camera handy, and I was busy dialing and redialing 911. We did not have a cordless phone at the time and I had to keep moving away from the windows in order to place the calls. I must have called at least four or five times.
Until the City of Miami stops wallowing in incompetent administrators and staff, political hirings and giveaways, lax or "politically correct" code enforcement, and prejudice against lower-income mixed-race neighborhoods, progress in Buena Vista East and other such neighborhoods will remain difficult, despite the praiseworthy efforts of Ms. Cheaney and her neighbors.
Richard H. Rosichan
And When She Was Growing Up, Tartz Was Spelled with an S
I am writing in reaction to an advertisement New Tims has carried for a store called Glitzy London Tartz. It is an all-too-cutesy name for a store in South Beach, which abounds in stores with cutesy names. Why anyone would want to deck themselves out like a tart, I don't know, but then this is the Nineties.
I am a perfectly liberal person who accepts that there are a lot of values and behaviors today that did not exist when I was growing up. I also accept that we are living in a volatile, violent era. It is furthermore not disputable that Miami does not lack for daily shootings. But I find it appalling that New Times would accept an advertisement that shows a supposedly sexy girl with a large handgun placed prominently in her groin area. What is this store selling? Guns? If not, then why is it in this advertisement? It is the most noticeable part of the picture besides the name of the store. The dress on the model can hardly be seen.
It is probable that children will not be looking at the ad, but young adults will, both male and female -- the males for the girl and her legs, the females to see what clothing is hot at the moment.
In my opinion it is deplorable to even hint that there is anything desirable or fashionable about having a gun. We know that there are far too many children and young adults toting guns to school and other places. I think New Times should use some good taste and discretion and refuse to print such an ad, which almost openly screams "Get a gun and be sexy!" to younger folks. Don't you have any standards? It sure is hard to teach decent values to young people when stuff like this can clog up any eyes that happen to glance at it.
Frances J. Waxman