Letters to the editor: Dec. 27, 2017

The reality of climate change

Professor Marty Rochester’s Dec. 20 commentary contains so many misstatements that I almost don’t know where to begin. To his credit, Rochester acknowledges that man-made climate change is real and is a potentially very serious problem.

Unfortunately, many Republicans and our President call the science of climate change unsettled or even worse a hoax. Rochester states that, “There is a need for all sides in the climate change debate to stop blowing hot air…” That reminds me of President Donald Trump’s claim that there were good people on both sides in the Charlottesville violence. Just as there are no white supremacists that can be called good people, there are no honest climate change deniers.

Since climate change and the destruction of our environment is such a grave issue for humanity we should not take a defeatist attitude claiming that we can only move slowly to reduce our use of fossil fuels. Even if the costs of moving to clean energy such as wind and solar were an issue, we must make that change. 

But the fact is that the cost of wind energy is already competitive with coal and solar is not far behind. In addition, energy efficiency can help move us away from fossil fuels by reducing our demand for energy. If we really care about future generations we should consider making some changes in the way we use energy: Do we really have to drive gas guzzlers or run our air-conditioning and heating at full blast? There are many things we can do in our own lives to reduce our use of fossil fuels. 

The United States was supposed to be a leader that takes the initiative to make our world better. We should not be using the excuse that some other country is not doing its part to shirk our responsibility to preserve the environment for future generations. 

Bernard Waxman, Olivette

Hillel, Shammai and Mashiach

Articles the Light continues to print depicting harsh judgments between non-Orthodox Israeli Jews and Rabbinical authorities as well as the harsh treatment of non-Orthodox clergy at the Western Wall remind me of earlier disputes between Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shammai, also Jew against Jew, but with a holier motive. 

The Mishna relates their dispute on halachic and ethical topics as for the sake of heaven. The vituperation of current disputes argues against for “the sake of heaven.” Our human imperfections places our holiest intentions at risk for injection of the self into our thinking that allows these current disputes of Jew against Jew. A few tzaddikim notwithstanding, we are not capable of this Holiness, but as Hillel implores us to do by study and action we can strive to become so. 

It is better for us to perform mitzvoth and prayer not for the sake of heaven but for the sake of the merit of the appearance of the Mashiach. The bitterness of our exile, and that of this current who decides who is a Jew dispute, is only matched by the bitterness of the irony that Ruth, a convert, is the Great Grandmother of King David and a progenitor of the Mashiach. 

Love of a fellow Jew is a Torah commandment and by failing to do so our disunity destroyed the second Temple beginning our current exile. We are capable of better treatment of our fellow Jew than current events would seem to indicate, and that will also be for the sake of heaven.

Bruce Stoliar, St. Louis

Apples and oranges in anti-Trump column

I and all Americans in this great country of ours, along with people of all religious faiths should be thankful to Hashem, Himself, for having the freedoms of speech and press.

However, I am beyond shocked that the Light would print such outright obnoxious criticisms of President Donald Trump, in moving Israel’s capital to Jerusalem.

The criticisms were stated by Washington University Professor Henry I. Schvey, who teaches drama and comparative literature.

His statements about the President’s advocacies remind me of the old adage: Mixing apples and oranges. The professor’s remarks are totally senseless and derogatory and have nothing whatsoever to do with the relocation issue. Had he mentioned criticisms directly related to the move, pro or con, I would not complain. However, the President’s opinions and/or beliefs concerning other things do not apply to the capital’s location.

Howard Sandler, University City