Following the publication of Andrew Friedman's feature article about my arrest for selling medical marijuana ["Sacrificial Lamb," March 6], my congregation, my family, and I were deluged by well-wishers. People who learned for the first time of my plight, as well as individuals who were personally helped by my work in the past, called, visited, and sent letters of support.

I greatly appreciate the words of encouragement and want to publicly thank everyone who has been sympathetic to my case. Those who wish to contribute more substantially may send a donation to the "Ezra L." Legal Defense Fund at 1571 45th Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11219.

May the Almighty, who "heals the sick" and "frees the chained," bless us all with love, kindness, and mercy.

Yitzchak Fried


Even if I agree that marijuana actually has medical applications, I still have questions regarding the behavior of Rabbi Yitzchak Fried. For openers, where does the rabbi get his weed? Also, what qualifications does he have to screen his clients and assure the community that he is not supplying drugs to young users? More important, why sell marijuana at all if his objective is to "relieve" the pain and suffering of heroin addicts? Finally, given that certain governments have legalized a lesser-strength marijuana for addicts and medical patients—a kind of marijuana light, if you will—why was the rabbi selling regular-strength shit?

Christopher A. Assad
Ottawa, Canada


Having read Andrew Friedman's story on the arrest of Rabbi Yitzchak Fried, I am shocked that this poor man of G*d was victimized by the drug war. I am glad that I left New York City many years ago. I now live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the voters have legalized medical pot and pot laws are seldom enforced. It is time to stand up against government oppression—there is no "drug war," just a war on the American people. Free Rabbi Fried! Legalize medical pot now!

Gerry McGuiness
Heyward, California


I applaud Ward Harkavy for the article about the fellow in Arkansas castrated by Clinton cronies ["The Castration of Wayne DuMond," March 13]. I have been sick at heart for the last eight years, not so much over President Clinton as over the failure of the mainstream media to report events such as this. As Harkavy points out, DuMond was not only systematically refused justice, he also had his genitals mutilated and his home burned down.

I have one question, however: Will we only learn about Senator Hillary Clinton's true ideology and behavior after she leaves public office, or will courageous publications like the Voice start to tell us the truth now, before it's too late?

Mark Semon
Lewiston, Maine


It was troubling to learn that Peter Noel ["If I Must Die," February 27] was collaborating on a book with Khallid Abdul Muhammad, a man who not only called Jews "bloodsuckers" (as Noel notes), but who also defended Hitler and the Holocaust in a 1993 speech given at Kean College in New Jersey. Noel is only one among a number of progressive blacks who have been all too eager to praise Muhammad both before and after his death and discount the fact that he willingly defended and rationalized genocide. Do progressive blacks think they ought to overlook this aspect of Muhammad's persona because he was a "brother"?

In contrast to the moral myopia of many progressive blacks (and whites), Minister Louis Farrakhan's decisive public rebuke of Muhammad was an exemplary act of leadership. Is there any doubt that if the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were alive both would have decried Muhammad as a reactionary whose attitude toward other minorities was an insult to our common humanity, and a potentially corrupting influence on the spiritual identity and dignity of African American people?

Seth Farber


Re Peter Noel's "If I Must Die": It is my belief that Khallid Muhammad was assassinated from within his organization by government agents. Given the type of man that Muhammad was, the threat that he posed to the government, and the circumstances surrounding his death, I find it very ironic that his organization conducted no public investigation of possible political foul play. To further support my theory, note that when activist-attorney Alton Maddox and researcher Steve Cokley appeared on Al Sharpton's Sharp Talk radio program and suggested the possibility that Muhammad died from unnatural causes, Muhammad's organization uninvited them from the funeral.

B. S. Najieb
Milledgeville, Georgia


Richard Goldstein's insightful piece "Diagnosis: Artist" [February 27] seemed to miss one salient point about the portrayal of artists in movies: People like Reinaldo Arenas and Jackson Pollock make excellent film fodder precisely because they are larger-than-life characters. If they had only gone through the usual years of dues-paying leading up to eventual success, who would bother to script a movie about their lives?

Their excesses make their stories worth telling and, as Goldstein points out, seem to be justified by their art. The art and entertainment industry is sadly littered with failures and loons, but the ones who manage to make a mark with their work and make the tabloids are going to be the ones who are canonized on celluloid. As such, a script about Mark Rothko isn't going to be as sought after as a script about Salvador Dalí. The unfortunate consequence may be that the general moviegoing public is going to have greater regard for these extravagant artists over ones who are "boring."

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