Letters to the Editor, Aug. 25, 2010

Respecting our fellow Jews

Recent (“Unwavering Support” and “Pulpit Politics”) letters share the same horns of the dilemma – how to love your fellow Jew, regardless, as the Torah commands in spite of the fact that your fellow Jew may have transgressed the laws of the Diaspora in which he or she now live or expressed an opinion that is not universally shared. There is a spiritual bond between all of us as Jews, regardless of the degree of its awareness by us individually, originating with our acceptance of the Torah at Sinai. This spiritual bond between our neshamas (souls) is the love by which our relationship with other Jews is governed.

When Torah observant Jews support like others in civil or criminal difficulties they are not excusing or denying the behavior; they see an opportunity to allow the legal proceedings judging the behavior to play out while reaching out in spiritual love to support the accused. We were exiled, and remain so, for the sin of not loving our fellow Jews. We daven only at the Kotel, not the Beis Hamigdash, as a testimony to the punishment for not loving your fellow Jew; that extends even to publicly humiliating in print a rabbi who expressed his political opinions in print. A private dialogue with him about the differing opinions would avoid the negative commandment of not loving your fellow Jew.

Yankel Ber Stoliar

Advertisement: The Grande at Chesterfield

St Louis, Mo. and Jerusalem, Israel

A reply to Abraham Foxman op-ed

In his op-ed (“The mosque at Ground Zero,” Aug,. 18) Abraham Foxman drapes a bigoted position in the guise of sensitivity to the victims of 9/11.

Two of my best friends are Muslims, originally from Pakistan. Foxman argues that we should deny them a place to worship, based on sensitivity to a few – which runs counter to what the law says.

In the Missouri Supreme Court Case Creve Coeur v. Temple Israel, the court states, “The provision of the First Amendment that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” has been made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment.” Its ruling stated that no authority can deny the building of a religious institution except for the health or safety concerns of the public.

If Foxman’s logic had been followed in the Creve Coeur case, Temple Israel should not have been built out of sensitivity to the municipality of Creve Coeur, which sought to prevent the building of the temple in its present location.

The next time Mr. Foxman comes to St. Louis, I will have a copy of Creve Coeur v. Temple Israel with his name on it so he can read it for himself. In the meantime, I hope Foxman won’t continue to insult our intelligence.

Rick Isserman

Creve Coeur

Moving musical production

In May, KETC showed the musical “Imagine This!”  This beautiful musical with a powerful story was overwhelming.  I immediately found how to order a copy.  I have viewed the DVD a few times since receiving it and see something new each time.  I urge Light readers to clear their schedules to see the DVD for a memorable visual and musical experience while reviewing history in a new dimension.

Carol Portman

University City