Letters to Editor: Week of September 11, 2013

JCRC: Two bills of deep concern in Mo. legislature

This week, the Missouri Legislature will be back in Jefferson City for the 2013 veto session.  There are several bills likely to be considered that should concern the Jewish community.   

One such bill is HB 253, which would reduce the state’s corporate and personal income tax rates such that when fully implemented, Missouri general revenue could be significantly reduced. The Jewish Community Relations Council is concerned that HB 253 represents a risky strategy for the state, likely leading to dramatic reductions in public services that may include senior services — like nursing home care, in-home care and meals on wheels — and public education. Reduced funding of these essential public services is not a sensible economic development strategy. The second bill of concern is SB 267, which seeks to place restrictions on the imposition of “foreign” law in Missouri.  Under SB 267, the validity of marriage and adoption agreements legitimately made in another country could be unenforceable here. This bill is of particular concern to the Jewish community.  If enacted it could have a negative impact on Jewish divorces governed by halacha (Jewish law) as well as a chilling effect on Israelis and those with dual citizenship residing in the State of Missouri.

JCRC urges you to contact your representatives and urge them to sustain the vetoes of both bills.  


Les Sterman, JCRC Domestic Issues Advocacy Chair

Gail Wechsler, JCRC Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice


Responses overlook key issue

Andy Rochman’s Sept. 4 letter defending Martin Rochester’s impressive credentials inadvertently supports Rochester’s critics of his Aug. 7 commentary, “The school transfer controversy: The Limits of tikkun olam.” A renowned scholar should not have to appeal to emotion and fear to make an argument.

Rochester’s expertise in political science and international relations does not necessarily equate with expertise on delicate racial issues or public policy on educational matters. His commentary did not show much historical sensibility about the impact of racial discrimination on the legacy of unequal educational opportunities.

While he is a fine political scientist and dedicated teacher, he did not consider how appeals to “local government” and “property rights” are viewed through the historical experiences of the African-American community in the United States.

Yes, Rochester has a right to express his views and I also applaud the Light for publishing his comments. Too bad he didn’t express his opposition to the transfer decision with a reasoned argument that there could be better options for increasing educational quality for children who attend low-performing schools.

This is the real issue, not his resume or First Amendment rights.

Dennis Lubeck, Ph.D.

History Education Consultant for the CSD


Unfortunate scheduling

I was disappointed to find that the St. Louis Zoo has scheduled their Zoo Parents Night for erev Yom Kippur. My grandchildren have saved part of their allowance each week in order to become Zoo Parents and are really excited to participate. Now it isn’t possible to take advantage of all the benefits they were promised. At the very least this is insensitive to the Jewish community.

Rita Harris

Creve Coeur