Letters to the editor: Aug. 15, 2018


Giving credit where due

We all applaud Rabbi Susan Talve’s hard work in protest of our government’s cruel family separation policy. We also applaud the hard work of Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, who was standing next to Talve in two of the photographs that appeared on page 23 of the Aug. 8 issue. When your captioner named one of our distinguished clergy and ignores another, it sends an unfortunate message. I realize that photographers sometimes “suggest” captions, but they require careful editing nonetheless.

Michael Sherberg, Olivette

Garden works to supply Jewish Food Pantry


I read with interest the Aug. 8 letter to the Light regarding the lack of sufficient fruits and vegetables in the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, and the editor’s response after contacting the executive director of the pantry, Judy Berkowitz.

The Garden of Eden, located on the campus of the Jewish Community Center in Creve Coeur, has endeavored the last seven years to supply the Jewish Food Pantry with fresh fruits and vegetables. During the 2017 growing season we donated more than 4,300 pounds of produce worth more than $10,000. This was accomplished on a budget of approximately $3,000 and on land less than 1/4 of an acre.  About 35 different types of produce were grown and donated.

Despite our accomplishments, what we donate is just a drop in the bucket as the need for organically grown, healthy food far outweigh what we can provide. I am told that food pantries do not consistently receive fresh foods. That which is donated from other sources sometimes are old, bruised, moldy, or in other ways inedible.  Thus what we give is greatly appreciated and quickly snapped up by the clients of the pantry.  

There are two points I wish to stress.  One is that The Garden of Eden is a volunteer effort and exists solely on donations.  We do not wish to compete with other efforts to supply the pantry with monetary donations, but it must be pointed out that the “bang for the buck” or the “return of investment” is great in gardening.  It is far cheaper to purchase seeds and seedlings and nurture them to maturity than it is to purchase already grown produce in grocery stores.  The Garden of Eden also welcomes volunteers who wish to perform “active mitzvot.”  

The second point is that Gateway Greening, with whom we are affiliated, has over 200 community gardens.  Very, very few of them — just a handful, really — provide food for pantries.  In addition, there are gardeners who grow food for themselves but have, at times, an oversupply of food.  To assist the more than 100 food pantries in the metropolitan area obtain fresh food, a new organization has formed called Growing for Pantries: Fresh Food for All.  Among those affiliated with this organization are: Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Operation Food Search, Gateway Greening, the J and Central Reform Congregation. Our first community-wide meeting will be held Sunday, Oct. 7 at Central Reform Congregation from 1 to 5:30 p.m. One can learn how to set up a garden to best suit food pantry needs, how to find food pantries and donate food and learn which types of produce are best for donation.  The community is encouraged to attend.  

To donate to the garden or to volunteer, please contact the J or Myra Rosenthal, Master Gardener and Garden of Eden Chair, at [email protected]

Myra Rosenthal, St. Louis County

 St. Louis Friends of Israel condemns attacks on Southern Israel

St. Louis Friends of Israel, a non-profit, non-partisan, St. Louis-based organization, strongly condemns the warlike bombardment of Southern Israel by the terrorist group, Hamas, which controls Gaza. In the past two days, Hamas operatives have fired over 180 rockets and mortar shells into Southern Israel, injuring seven civilians and causing thousands of dollars of property damage.

The latest rocket barrage follows the murder of an Israeli soldier and a three month-long campaign of fires, which have been started by incendiary devices on kites and balloons sent by Hamas terrorists into Southern Israel. The fires have caused millions of dollars in damage, and have destroyed hundreds of acres of farmland and protected nature reserves, causing the death of countless endangered species and an overall environmental disaster from which the region may never recover.

Israeli civilians who live in the city of Sderot and the surrounding areas have only 15 seconds to seek shelter when rockets and mortar shells are fired into Israel. Many parents and children spent last night in bomb shelters to escape the rockets. Fatalities and worse casualties were avoided due to Israel’s defensive Iron Dome system — built with U.S. assistance — which successfully intercepted 30 of the rockets that Hamas had specifically directed into populated areas.

St. Louis Friends of Israel calls on the entire St. Louis community and all peace-loving people to strongly condemn this horrific attack on the people of Israel. We hope to see the day when there will be a Palestinian leadership in Gaza that will renounce violence and will agree to live side by side with Israel in peace.

Tracy Goldstein, President of St. Louis Friends of Israel; Galit Lev-Harir, Vice President; Richard Senturia, Treasurer